GFM Network News


Thanks to Jim Lundgren, who farms at Glenora, Man., about 85 km west of Morden, for this photo of his early start to spring tillage on March 20, 2021, owing to the recent absence of snow and/or rain in the area. Not that it’s a race, but is spring fieldwork already underway where you are? If yes, feel free to snap a photo and email us at daveb@fbcpublishing.com. (Photo courtesy Jim Lundgren)

Manitoba soil temperatures allow for spring fertilizer

Winter ban lifted, with cautions

Farmers across Manitoba are now cleared to apply spring fertilizers including livestock manure on their fields, thanks to sufficiently warm soil temperatures, the province said Tuesday. Though the winter nutrient ban has been lifted, the province cautioned producers to “assess current weather conditions and periodically check weather forecasts” if they’re applying anytime between now and […] Read more

Organic farmer Boyd Charles, pictured here with wife, Gloria, of Stoughton, Sask., says his pelletized and cooked chicken manure packs more fertilizer punch for his grain crops than commercial fertilizer ever could.

Saskatchewan organic producer wins with chicken manure

Pelletized, cooked manure an organic fertilizer solution

Ask Boyd Charles what he considers his happiest day as a farmer and he’ll probably tell you it was the day he sold his sprayer. “I was tired of giving away most of my profit to the chemical companies,” he says of his decision to become an organic farmer in 1996. He hasn’t looked back. […] Read more


It’s not very glamorous but you can learn a lot by studying the shape and consistency of a cow pie.

Be careful not to step in it

Watching cows’ poop helps you learn about what they’re eating

Anytime that I walk through a dairy barn, I walk in front of the feed bunk and usually watch the cows defecate. Their fresh cow pies reflect on how well their milking diet is being consumed and digested. If something is out of line, manure consistency and content warn me almost immediately. So then I […] Read more

Mike Martin, right and son Ali are part of the family operated mixed farming operation on Scotland’s  Black Isle peninsula, where they produce cereal crops, potatoes and beef.

Battling the Scottish weather and EU three-crop rule

Beef operation includes two-year-old ‘store’ cattle for finishing

Farming in the northwest of Scotland can be tough enough given the somewhat challenging weather, but having to fight over which crops to plant is an added hassle. Mike Martin runs Garguston Farm at Muir of Ord on the Black Isle peninsula, with his sons Ali and Johnnie operating a mixed crop and beef enterprise. […] Read more


A rendition, by Genitique, of the planned biomethanization plant to be built at Warwick, about 65 km southeast of Trois-Rivieres. (Groupe CNW/Energir)

Quebec ag co-op to power up on dairy cattle manure

About a dozen Quebec dairy farms will be getting their collective manure together next year for the province’s first-ever ag co-operative devoted to renewable natural gas. Coop Agri-Energie Warwick, launched Monday, plans to start construction this spring on a $12 million biomethanization plant which will take in slurry and manure from dairy cattle mixed with […] Read more

Myths, yarns and ridiculous claims

Myths, yarns and ridiculous claims

Many long-standing popular myths about agriculture have been disclaimed by science

After 60 years of work and observations in Canadian, British and U.S. agriculture, most of it on the Canadian prairies, I still cannot believe how many farmers and scientists believe in plain falsehoods. Here are a few of those unsubstantiated myths. Manure causes lodging FALSE: If you apply 10 to 20 or more tons of […] Read more


Bean and lentil legumes background as a group of assorted fava soy red black beans as a healthy nutrition high fiber food concept as a healthy cooking natural food ingredient.

In response to, ‘Cover crops and green manure’

Clearing up a tillage misunderstanding from a previous column

It is always a thrill to get letters and book orders from readers. Most letters are complimentary and a joy to receive. But, a recent letter disagreed with ideas in my September column that talked about cover crops and green manure. A phone call cleared up the matter. It was completely my fault for not […] Read more

A Sept. 12 view from the International Space Station down the eye of Hurricane Florence, which has since weakened to a post-tropical cyclone. (NASA photo)

Florence shuts down U.S. slaughterhouses

Chicago/Los Angeles | Reuters — U.S. food companies kept slaughter plants shut on Monday in southeastern states swamped by Hurricane Florence as flash floods collapsed the walls of at least two hog manure pits, made roads undriveable and delayed rail shipments. Catastrophic flooding from Hurricane Florence, which has dumped up to 36 inches of rain […] Read more


One of the Brown Bear Manufacturing front-mounted compost turner/aerators.

Composting is a manure-handling option

Reduces volume, conserves nitrogen and increases soil organic matter

A few years ago I was introduced to composting, the process of using the billions of bacteria around us to convert raw organic mixtures to soil. Advice I have received says the organic matter needs a 20:1 (optimum) carbon-to-nitrogen ratio. Compost can be made with as low as 17:1 and as high as 27:1, but […] Read more

Lystek takes municipal waste and turns it into a rich fertilizer for your land.

Turning city waste into good fertilizer

Soil Management: Lystek International’s CFIA-registered fertilizer takes waste from sewage to nutrition

One man’s trash is another’s treasure. It’s a familiar idiom at the heart of a Canadian company’s process for turning municipal sewage into fertilizer. Faced with the challenge of dealing with sludge, Canadian municipalities have done everything from dumping it in landfills to letting it flow into the ocean. Lystek International, based in Cambridge, Ontario, […] Read more