GFM Network News


The original wood framed EM38 complete with store string. Readers of Henry’s Handbook can check out page 81 to get the story behind the store string.

Les Henry: The EM38 Field Scout

The EM38 always gives the right answer — what that answer means in terms of soil interpretation is up to the user and experience

This piece is intended primarily for PAgs and CCAs and the farmers they serve. Field scouting of crops and soils has become an important part of the services provided. Grainews carries a regular column highlighting examples of crop-problem scouting by agronomists with Richardson Pioneer. I read the column each issue and often learn something new […] Read more

This well data can be interpreted as a 30-year net cumulative drought from 1975 to 2005.

Les Henry: On salty ground

We’ve come full circle in the soil salinity cycle

This topic was not on the to-do list for this winter. Soil salinity is a very hot topic right now and many farmers are concerned they will have no land to farm if it carries on like this. The last time I remember such concern about soil salinity was during the late 1970s and early […] Read more


As late as 1987, one big rain event did all this damage to a summerfallow field near Eastend, Sask.

Les Henry: Soil productivity, quality and health

Nature and nurture

Soil health is a prominent topic in current scientific and farm management literature. It is good to see attention being paid to the soil resource our industry depends on. In this piece, we will try to unravel some of the principles and the practical application of those principles. From the get-go, we must realize farming […] Read more

The photo shows NE26 Township 11 Range 11, west of Meridian 1, three miles east of Austin, Man. The soils are of the Almassippi association. The details of individual soils are all available online at Manitoba Agri-Maps at the Agrimaps website (see link at right).

Les Henry: Nitrate down the well

Quit porking on so much N

This song has been sung before in this column. With the death of babies as a possible consequence, it bears repeating. Nitrate in the environment In a native grass environment like my grandfather and yours broke up to farm, nitrate was a rare molecule. Native grass evolved by staying brown and doing nothing when it […] Read more


Les Henry: Harvest, not crops with a combine but information online

Les Henry: Harvest, not crops with a combine but information online

Hopefully this “old stuff” will prevent folks from rediscovering the moon

This is a bit of a different theme. It is all about harvesting information that could be useful in planning and executing farm operations on the Canadian Prairies. The title, “Harvest,” comes from our very own University of Saskatchewan Library research archive, and the wealth of information that can be obtained with a few mouse […] Read more

Snow on March 28, 2013, at my Dundurn farm. My asparagus patch is between the quonset and the trees. Snow was four to six feet deep.


Les Henry: A snow job

Snow as a water source for crops

When we made the first-ever Soil Moisture Map in 1978, it was early days in the quest to get rid of as much summerfallow as possible. Those with Henry’s Handbook can check out page 109 to see that first map. The legend has stayed much the same. The objective of the map was to let […] Read more


Base map courtesy of Andrew Nadler PEAK HydroMet Solutions.

Les Henry: Soil moisture map for 2021

The situation shows a lot of red ink on the Prairies

To start with, we must realize this is a very general, high-level picture of the situation. It is meant to do just that, as well as provide a framework for farmers and agronomists to relate their situation to. Having it available early in the new year, means it can be part of the decisions made […] Read more

A soil core showing the dry layer from one- to three-foot depths. In this situation, the only plant-available water is in the top foot. Roots will not penetrate the dry layer to access the moist soil beneath. Sufficient rain must fall to wet up the dry layer before the deeper moisture comes into play.

Les Henry: Soil moisture and rain

One plus one does not always equal two

Soil moisture as a soil management issue has finally come into its own with the advent of tech savvy young folk using soil moisture probes to get real information in real time. Thanks to those who provide me with information to help make the annual, three-province, Soil Moisture Map as of freeze-up. To make a […] Read more


Les Henry: The ground beneath our feet

Les Henry: The ground beneath our feet

To understand soil, we must understand what is beneath it

Hang on tight — this could be a rough ride. I will take you down some very deep gopher holes and hopefully stretch your mind a bit in the process. We are not talking about those claustrophobic tubes that run underground in places like Toronto or New York or about criminal activities. We are talking […] Read more

Design No. 105 on page 98 of The Radford Ideal Homes: 100 Houses Illustrated, 1910.

Les Henry: Catalogue houses of the past. Who were the actors?

Many houses thought to be Eaton’s have turned out to be from some other company

Yesterday’s version of online shopping was the catalogue. In Canada, the T. Eaton Company Ltd. catalogues were most common. Many Santa Claus lists were fulfilled via Canada Post from the T. Eaton catalogue. For Western Canada, the Eaton’s catalogue came from Winnipeg. The range of goods available was extensive — all the way from clothing, […] Read more