GFM Network News


This is my plot site as it appeared on August 20, 2015.

Les Henry: Finding a place for bees

Syngenta’s Operation Pollinator: a good fit for an awkward piece of land

Bees are an important part of crop production, particularly canola. In recent years, concern about bee populations has initiated work to learn more and do more to help maintain bee populations. Operation Pollinator is a program of Syngenta Canada Inc. with the objective of encouraging bee populations to assist with pollination of commercial crops. It […] Read more

Les Henry: Prairie soil moisture map for 2020

Soil moisture at freeze-up in 2019: a range of moisture across the Prairies

The 2019 crop year was a challenge for all involved in our industry. The erratic rainfall patterns also challenged the preparation of this soil moisture map. Let me first acknowledge the assistance of staff from Crop Intelligence by South Country Equipment. They have now had several years of experience installing weather stations accompanied by the […] Read more


Les Henry: Weather, climate and actual data

A look at changes in the 30-year average annual temperatures in Swift Current

In recent months there has been much press anxiety about the “Climate Crisis.” The general gist is that planet Earth is warming to the point where we will be scorching to death. Crops will be unable to survive the heat and drought. Climate Change (warming) is the top priority in the minds of many, but […] Read more

'Winter combining' (read further down for more info) This photo is reproduced with permission of the Rosetown Eagle and the Rosetown Library Archives. A shout out for our local weeklies that provide local information not available anywhere else.

Les Henry: Where will Prairie agriculture be in 2030?

Les Henry predicts eight changes coming to agriculture in the next decade

At the start of a new decade it is time to take stock and think ahead to what our industry might be like at the end of this decade. The last time I tried such an exercise was in December 1979, looking ahead to what the 1980s would bring. I predicted that at the end […] Read more


August 16, 2019. Not a bad-looking crop but all stages from nearly ripe to grass green.

Les Henry: Diary of my 2019 wheat crop

This growing season was challenging, but the end result was better than expected

The 2019 crop year will go on record as one of the more challenging in a long time. In the past decade we have had a very good run of good crops — often with harvest weather that allowed long stretches where dry grain could be binned. At the same time, we have enjoyed crop […] Read more

The UGG Carter House at Windthorst, Sask.

Les Henry: United Grain Growers’ mail-order home business

The company that founded Grainews also sold catalogue homes on the Prairies

First things first. In early October, there was still a lot of crop out in many areas with quality degrading rapidly. Here’s hoping for a great late autumn to allow the harvest to wrap up. Above all, keep safe at a stressful time. Almost a generation has gone by since the end of United Grain […] Read more


Kildeer: This killdeer set up a nest among the asparagus. Those few plants were not picked and several eggs were successfully hatched. When we got too close the “broken wing” trick was played and photos of it were also possible.

PHOTOS: Les Henry: Wildlife on my Blackstrap farm

Almost all of my encounters with wildlife have been positive and occasionally photos have been possible. This is what I’ve learned

For 25 years I have owned land just a half hour drive south of Saskatoon, just east of Blackstrap Lake. In that time, I have had many wildlife encounters and observed several cycles of Mother Nature and her creatures. Wildlife conservation Some city slickers like to think farmers are bent on destruction of Mother Nature. […] Read more

Spring runoff typically offers a great kick of moisture to get things started, but if things turn dry, where do you turn?

Les Henry: Water information in Western Canada is flowing nicely

Look to these sources for information on where to find water
 during dry spells

The past few years, growing-season rain on many Canadian Prairie farms has been much less than needed for a good crop. From 2005 to 2014 high snowfall plus much above-average rainfall provided more than enough moisture for crop growth. The excess rain and snow filled the soil and raised the water table by as much […] Read more


The famous Great Wall of China, near Beijing, September 1980. At that time, it was a pleasure to visit the Great Wall with a few locals — all still dressed in Mao suits. Any colour you want as long as it is blue or grey! Current pictures of the Great Wall are like looking inside a crowded subway train with “wall-to-wall” people. Pardon the pun. The Wall is actually many separate walls some of which date back about 2,500 years.

Les Henry: My 1980 visit to China and an outlook for China’s future

Forty years of change in China is nothing compared to the country’s long history

China has been very much in the farm media in Western Canada in the past months. In September 1980 it was my good fortune to be part of a mission to China from Saskatchewan. Our team of four was charged with the task of determining the feasibility of establishing a dryland demonstration farm in China to display Saskatchewan […] Read more

This Google Earth image taken on August 23, 2015, shows the location of the three sloughs referenced in Table 1, as well as the fourth slough (dugout), referenced in Table 2.

Les Henry: Is your slough water safe for cattle?

If you’re looking to sloughs for water, screen them with an EC meter to be safe 


As the drought drags in many parts of the Prairies, there is great concern about crops. Many areas started the season with little subsoil moisture reserve and most areas have had too little rain. In some cases it is almost none — at my Dundurn farm, the total rainfall for the year to date as […] Read more