GFM Network News

Sustainable agriculture is both a philosophy and a system of farming.

Redefining agricultural production

Organic, regenerative, sustainable. What do all of these new terms mean?

Agricultural production used to be basically divided into two camps; conventional and organic. The two production styles have clear delineations and are pretty much exclusive of each other. Today the lines between these systems are being blurred as farmers are beginning to embrace sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices. All of these different terms can be […] Read more

Harrows are more effective earlier on, when weeds are at the white thread stage.

Comparing mechanical weed control options

Considering adding a mechanical option to your herbicide rotations? Try these

Mechanical weed control is not anything new. Farmers have been using harrows and various tillage tools to control weeds for centuries, and for organic farmers mechanical weed control remains the only option. What is new is the technology that is available to help make mechanical weeding more efficient and effective, like GPS or camera-guided systems […] Read more

This photo shows the phosphorus response in a 1958 barley crop near Kindersley, Sask. The blue tinges showing in the “check” side of the 
photo are a result of the photo scanning.

What exactly is sustainability?

There are many ways to farm sustainably, and many ways to discuss the issue

A lot of recent farm press talks about sustainability. When I look up “sustainable” in Webster’s it says: ‘… a method of harvesting or using a resource so that resource is not depleted or permanently damaged…” The first time I remember that term used with respect to agriculture was when a respected farmer on Sceptre […] Read more

Vegetable producers Francois Handfield and Veronique Bouchard with their children: Philomène, eight, and Éméric, 10.

Canada’s OYF: Quebec nominees

Francois Handfield and Veronique Bouchard embrace organic farming

They were two non-farmers who started out with $500, a wheelbarrow and a dream. Less than 10 years later, Francois Handfield and Veronique Bouchard have a thriving organic market garden, community shared agriculture business supplying produce to about 4,000 people, they employ up to 20 seasonal workers, and gross about $800,000 annually. A lot of […] Read more

Derek and Tannis Axten with their children Kate, 13, and Brock, 11, know if they look after the soil it will produce.

Canada’s OYF: Nominees from Saskatchewan

Derek and Tannis Axten focus on encouraging soil biology

Daring to be different may enrich your spirit, but it can also leave you cash poor. If you’re Derek and Tannis Axten, however, you wind up having your fungicide-free cake and eating it too. While the 2017 Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Award winners for Saskatchewan began their farming career on a well-trodden path, the route […] Read more

Organic wheat and fusarium head blight

There have been recent farm press talks about the lack of fusarium head blight and associated vomi problems in organic wheat. Organic farmers do not spray with fungicides so how can that be? Some experts say that in a fusarium area and year there is no way to grow wheat without spraying with a fungicide. […] Read more

A green manure crop can be as simple as working this lentil crop into the ground to get organic matter into the soil.

Should you be planting green manure?

Researchers see planting and terminating ‘green manure’ as an alternative to summerfallow

Researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as well as the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture have published two recent studies about the effects of green manure on farmland in the Prairies. In one study specifically, the researchers looked at using green manure as an alternative to summerfallowing. Green manure “is a crop that is specifically planted in order to be terminated, […] Read more

Crop diversity, rotational diversity and, if possible, getting animals on the land, are the ways to start building soil health.

Cover crops for better soil health

Cover crops can help build the “livestock” that lives in the soil and improves productivity

It appears that the idea of farmers improving the soil is starting to take hold. The Western Canadian Soil Health Conference was held in Edmonton, Alberta, the first part of December 2015. Nora Paulovich and Tom Fromme, co-chairs on the organizing committee, did a wonderful job pulling speakers together and organizing it. It started at […] Read more

After he harvested winter triticale in 2015, Garry Richards was able to graze cattle in the re-growing cover crop vegetation. This picture was taken on November 2.

Holistic farming in practice

This Saskatchewan farmer has changed his rotations to work with nature

When Garry Richards left his job as a pharmacist and brought his wife home to his family farm near Bangor, Sask., in the late ’90s, he had one main goal. “We wanted to make the farm work, so that we didn’t have to subsidize it from off-farm jobs in the long term.” He didn’t expect it […] Read more