GFM Network News


Lime improves alfalfa crop in Peace River Country. This photo was taken from Farming Acid Soils in Alberta and Northeast British Columbia by P.B. Hoyt, M. Nyborg and D.C. Penney.


Les Henry: Acid soils. A wake-up call

At the farm level, soil test, soil test, soil test

This piece came about because of a technical session I attended at scientific meetings in Saskatoon in July 2019. Rick Engel of Montana State University presented a paper showing soils on the Highwood Bench near Fort Benton, Mont., that had become so acidic crops like lentils and sunflowers would barely grow. The soils were at […] Read more

A large on-site hole allowed farmers to get a good look at the soil profile, down more than a metre deep.

Crops-a-palooza brings in farmers and researchers

On July 24, Crops-a-palooza brought together 10 different hosting organizations, a handful of corporate sponsors, and government researchers and other volunteers. More than 200 farmers and agronomists came out to see the crops and research on display at the Canada-Manitoba Crop Diversification Centre at Carberry, Manitoba. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada agronomist Curtis Cavers spent most […] Read more


The basic facts around limestone

The limestone market is worth a billion dollars annually, but invaluable for yield increases

Limestone, or calcium carbonate, CaCO3, makes up about 10 per cent of the sedimentary rocks on earth. Sometimes limestone contains appreciable amounts of magnesium. It’s then called dolomitic limestone, CaMg (CO3)2. Under pressure, limestone rock becomes metamorphosed into marble. Limestone rock is quarried in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Ontario and […] Read more

How’s your moly doing out there?

Molybdenum was once known as ‘poor man’s lime’ for a good reason

Under the category “if it ain’t one thing it’s another” when it comes to crop nutrient requirements, the question is now being asked, “have you thought about the molybdenum levels in your canola and pulse crops?” Cereals need it too, but canola, peas, beans, lentils, faba beans, soybeans and others all have higher molybdenum requirements. Molybdenum, also often […] Read more


Diagnosing and managing acid soils

Acidic soils can restrict plant growth. Learn how to recognize and manage these soils on your farm

Soils with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 8.0 are suitable for most crops on the Prairies. Soils with a pH range between 6.5 to 7.5 are considered to be near neutral. Soil pH between 6.0 to 5.6, 5.5 to 5.1 and < 5.0 are considered to be moderately acidic, strongly acidic and very strongly […] Read more

The broad basics of your soil’s pH

Soil pH is complex, and has different impacts on the availability of different nutrients

Farmers frequently ask “What does soil pH really mean?” and “What effect does pH have on availability of nutrients in the soil?” Both are excellent questions! The effects of pH are complex and vary with different nutrients. However, some broad generalizations are useful to keep in mind when understanding soil pH and making nutrient management […] Read more