GFM Network News


Ergot can be found on a number of “grass” species and not just rye. The fungal disease can develop on timothy grass as well as most cereal grains.

Watch closely for ergot-infected feeds

Several grasses and some grain crops can be susceptible


Last spring, auction mart chat turned a problem with ergot in grasses. The conversation pointed towards lame cattle resulting from feeding timothy straw. My curiosity piqued because a high percentage of cattle producers have been feeding everything from timothy straw to pea straw, to canola straw and bakery waste for the last few years, so […] Read more

Managing disease in oat crops

Fungal diseases, bacterial diseases and viral diseases each need different management

Oat growers across the Prairies have a number of foliar diseases to watch out for in their fields: crown and stem rust and septoria leaf complexes. Oats can also harbour a lot of different species of fusarium but, to date, fusarium hasn’t become an issue to the point where it has impacted oat yield or […] Read more


Cover crops provide residue on the surface over the winter, catching snow. In the spring, when that snow melts, salts are flushed down.

Managing soil salinity through cover crops

For the growing problem of dry land salinity, try planting a cover crop

Dry land salinity is a major problem on the Prairies. In Alberta, about 1.6 million acres of dry land are impacted by secondary salinity. On average, Alberta crop yields are reduced by 25 per cent annually because of the problem. Salinity also impacts 3.3 million acres in Saskatchewan and 0.6 million acres in Manitoba as […] Read more

There’s a perception in the farming community that soil erosion and degradation are in the past, but that simply isn't the case.

Don’t forget lessons of the Dirty 30s

Although there’s a perception that dust is past, tillage erosion is on the rise in Manitoba

It seemed like the beginning of the end of the world: friends and neighbours dying of “dust pneumonia” and massive dust storms sweeping the land. These are some of the recollections of people who were alive in the “Dirty 30s,” recorded for an oral history project by Daryl Ritchison, interim director of the North Dakota […] Read more


To date, AAFC’s Dr. Hugh Beckie has not seen Palmer amaranth in the Prairies. However, he says, 
“if it did come up it would be through the floodwater in the Red River Valley.”

Palmer amaranth continues to spread north

Producers should learn to spot the tall, fast-growing 
weed before it becomes a problem

Amaranth is extremely nutrient-rich. It was important to the Aztecs, and is still cultivated in South America and Mexico. It germinates easily, grows rapidly and produces huge numbers of seed. But the crop that sustained the Aztec economy famously wreaked havoc on the American cotton industry, and is now affecting corn and soybean producers in […] Read more

Understanding temperature inversions

Those calm, cloudless days may not be 
the perfect days to get out the sprayer

If you’re planning to spray, beware air temperature inversions on calm, cloudless days. That was the message from Andrew Thostenson during the Canola Council of Canada’s CanoLAB at Vermilion’s Lakeland College this winter. Thostenson is an extension pesticide specialist with North Dakota University. Avoiding pesticide damage during an inversion comes down to understanding how inversions work and recognizing the environmental conditions that cause them, Thost­enson […] Read more


Elgin ND wheat meets sellers’ claims

This Canadian northern hard red wheat gave growers high yields and better returns

Elgin ND promises high yields and better returns. Do those claims hold up in farmers’ fields? Two growers who tried out the new variety last year share their experience. North Dakota State University plant breeders developed Elgin ND as a high-yielding milling variety. They first distributed it south of the border in 2013. In Canada, […] Read more

On-farm research studies conducted in eastern Manitoba have shown a significant yield response to fungicide application in only three out of 21 trials conducted from 2014 to 2015.

Soybean research underway

From variety development to agronomy advice, soybean research is bringing new options

In 2015, soybean acres in Manitoba increased by more than four per cent over 2014, to 1.34 million acres. “We have doubled our soybean acres in Manitoba over the past five years,” says Kristen Podolsky, production specialist with Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG). “That has been a direct result of their ability to tolerate […] Read more


Corn residue can cut winter feeding costs

Cows can find at least 1,250 pounds of feed per acre after corncobs are harvested

For years, I have seen cornfields popping up over the Prairies (sorry for the pun). Much of this crop is harvested for corn silage, but significant acres are picked for grain. When just the cobs are harvested there is a tremendous amount of residue left on the ground. This is an abundance of forage for […] Read more

Storage infections are always a risk for potatoes because they damage relatively easily.

Potato storage rots likely this winter

Potato farmers storing record 2015 production may need to battle potato rots

This fall might be a tough one for a few Manitoba potato growers battling rots like pink eye, bud-end decay, late blight and leak in storage. Generally, these diseases are present in storages but the levels are not abnormally high, so a caution is warranted. According to Vikram Bisht, Manitoba’s provincial plant pathologist, leak and […] Read more