GFM Network News


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

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

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

Annual legumes are a good green manure crop to help set up whatever comes next in your crop rotation.

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


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

Farm it like you’re ‘just’ renting it?

Do farmers look after rented farmland differently than land they own? Should they?

We’ve all heard the term “drive it like a rental” but could that also apply to farmland? Is a farmer more likely to use conservation practices like no-till or variable rate technology, or apply more fertilizer and/or manure to improve the fertility on land he or she owns than on rented land? In April 2013, […] Read more


Liquid hog manure is liquid gold

It’s expensive to transport, but farmers near hog operations like the benefits

Liquid manure — particularly liquid hog manure, which is more readily available than solid or semi-solid manures — has always been viewed as a valuable nutrient source for field crop production. But it’s expensive to transport, so access is localized near hog operations. “I talk to a lot of growers growing oilseeds and cereals, and […] Read more

Licensed to turn waste into fertilizer

Lystek International received authorization for another wastewater conversion facility

Lystek International has received another federal registration for its award-winning biosolids and organics processing technology. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has certified the company’s St. Mary’s, Ontario, facility for the production of LysteGro, a biofertilizer that can increase organic matter in the soil. LysteGro is made by treating sludge from municipal wastewater at approved facilities. “The Lystek […] Read more