GFM Network News


Some crops are a little more salt tol­erant — like canola shown above as well as alfalfa, corn, oats and wheat — and you will probably not see sig­nificant yield loss until you hit a conductivity number of about two mS/cm, says Lyle Cowell with Nutrien Ag Solutions.

Crops and saline soils

Plant something, but choose carefully

When it comes to planting most annual cash crops on saline land, Lyle Cowell does not mince words: stop. “When a cattle farm has a cow that is no longer productive, that cattle farmer will not continue to try to breed that cow. It will be culled,” says the agronomist with Nutrien Ag Solutions in […] Read more

Soil testing pastures and hayfields

Soil testing pastures and hayfields

Q & A with Nutrien Ag Solutions

Q. Why should I soil test my pastures and hayfields? A. Soil testing pastures and hayfields should be routine. Often these fields get an initial fertilization and then, after a few years of establishment, growers ask what could be missing to maximize output. Forages are big users of nutrients. In hay crops much of the nutrients taken up are removed from the field when the […] Read more


Les Henry: Mourning the loss of the International Plant Nutrition Institute

Les Henry: Mourning the loss of the International Plant Nutrition Institute

Information will be lost with the end of this valuable organization

To my great disappointment I recently learned of the impending demise of the International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI), an organization funded by primary producers of fertilizer products. IPNI was involved in a wide array of activities to further the efficient and effective use of fertilizers to keep farms profitable and to feed the people of […] Read more

Soil nutrients are in deficit after 2016

Soil nutrients are in deficit after 2016

Consider the toll 2016’s big crop took on NPKS when planning for 2017 fertility

Make sure you have a late fall or early spring soil test as a guide to plant your 2017 crop fertility program. After the 2016 growing season, this is even more important than usual, says Rigas Karamanos, a long-time soil specialists who is now a senior agronomist for Koch Fertilizer Canada. Karamanos says his message isn’t […] Read more


Getting the most from soil test reports

Getting the most from soil test reports

Ratings vary depending on crop type, yield goal and soil zone

When you understand your soil reports, you’re in a better position to develop fertilizer plans with your agronomist. All soil testing labs report the same basic information, but each lab has its own unique format. No matter what your report looks like, first, check the information at the top: your name, address, field name, etc. […] Read more

LaserAg offers these small cups for soil collection. Sample takers can use LaserAg’s software to determine where to sample. Scanning the bar code on the top of the cup with a smartphone after the sample is taken will automatically record information about the sample, including the exact location. Filled cups can be submitted by mail, and results will be returned electronically within two weeks.

New soil test company on the block

New technology is bringing another way to test the soil on your farm

Jacques Nault’s brother Charles Nault first heard about Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) technology at a pharmaceutical conference. “It was presented as a tool to do quality control, to make sure pills contained the right molecules,” Jacques Nault says. As co-founders of LogiAg, an agronomy service and technology firm based in Chateauguay, Quebec, the Nault brothers began imagining how LIBS […] Read more


One acre of land, six inches deep, weighs about 2,000,000 pounds.

Soil sampling and soil testing

Fall is generally the most convenient time for soil testing. Plan now for effective testing

In the last issue of Grainews Les Henry wrote a great article on soil testing. I couldn’t agree more that soil sampling and testing is a great tool to assess the soil nutrient levels in your fields so you can wisely plan your fertilizer program for next spring. Here are some of my thoughts on […] Read more

This photo and the one further down are of the canola on my “breaking” land — recently broken land (this is only the second time its been under a seed drill). The pictures were taken on July 27, 2015. In fall 2014 the soil test N in this field was only 20 lbs./acre to one foot but the zero to six inch level organic matter was 6.5 per cent. The “normal” areas in this field got 94 lbs. N/acre as anhydrous. This area got only the 20 lbs. N/acre as broadcast 21-0-0-24. Obviously, mineralization is providing much of the N. My zone fertilization plan involves telling the custom applicator to leave out the breaking and salty ground. It works!

Soil: Test the right pound of ground

If you don’t measure what you have, you can’t know what to add. Know the basics of taking soil tests

First, some general tips around soil testing. The first thing to note about soil testing is that it is an index — it is not like a dipstick in a crankcase. A soil test (index) rates a soil as very low to excessive and is one piece of information to guide fertilizer use. But, use […] Read more