GFM Network News


Dwayne Beck, research and production manager at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, spoke at the Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon, Man.

Want to reduce pests and increase profits?

On the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, regenerative ag means good soil, good profits

When a group of farmers near Pierre, South Dakota, established the Dakota Lakes Research Farm in 1986, their main focus was on irrigation and water issues. At the recent Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon, Man., Dakota Lakes research and production manager, Dwayne Beck, described how he and his team have focused on better managing the […] Read more

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


The five principles of soil health

USDA researcher says healthy soil needs a systems approach

At the Regenerative Agriculture Forum in Brandon in November, Jay Fuhrer, soil health specialist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the USDA, spoke about soil health. Fuhrer has identified five principles of soil health, and how they work to improve soil health and increase productivity. Fuhrer defined soil health is defined as “the continued […] Read more

Farmers take a look at smaller-scale plots on a tour of the research farm at Carman, Man., in the summer of 2019.

Testing the cover crop hypothesis

Agronomy researchers are catching up with what farmers are doing in their fields

It’s an exciting time for cover crop research. Last summer, many large-scale cover crop trials were underway across the Prairies looking at everything from cover crop combinations, rotations and planting methods to pollinator strips. One of the biggest ongoing projects, funded by Western Grains Research Foundation, Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers and Manitoba Pulse and […] Read more


What was once a thin patch of grass rebounded nicely after pastured
poultry added nutrients to the soil.

Natural ways to improve soil quality

Cover crops may be more practical than molasses and milk

For many years there has been growing public concern that food is declining in nutrition. Dr. Arden Anderson, a favourite researcher, has studied the correlation between soil health and feed nutrition. His research has shown that the nutrient content of foods today compared to half a century ago ranges from 15 to 75 per cent […] Read more

Researcher Lana Shaw says intercrop researchers are finding 
crop combinations that are economically beneficial.

Intercropping research catching up

Researchers are taking a look at the intercropping combinations farmers are trying at home

When most farmers think about intercropping, peas and canola come to mind, which has to date probably been the most common pairing for an intercrop system. But research by Lana Shaw at the South East Research Farm (SERF) in Redvers, Sask., has shown that other combinations — like chickpeas and flax or mustard and lentils […] Read more


Getting the most from your wheat crop

Count the heads, grow a uniform crop, and manage residue for best results

While we’re still changing our seeding rate approach from bushels per acre to thousand kernel weight, Phil Needham of Needham Ag Technologies, has moved on to thinking about heads per square yard. An agronomist originally from Britain and now based in Kentucky, Needham has made a name for himself advising farmers on how to increase […] Read more

Some researchers have found that the land equivalent ratio is greater with crops grown together than with crops grown individually.

The science behind intercropping

When plants can share nutrients, they can yield higher together than separately

Just as the adoption of no-till agriculture on the Prairies several decades ago was farmer-driven, the current shift to ecological (sometimes called regenerative) agricultural practices is no different, says Dr. Martin Entz of the University of Manitoba. “In this fascinating carbon world, we’re now moving beyond just crop rotation and beyond just grazing management all […] Read more


Cover crop growing after harvest.

Why didn’t my cover crop work?

Kevin Elmy lists nine potential causes of things that could go wrong when you try growing cover crops on your farm

Ever try something and it didn’t work the first time? What’s the next step? Try again doing the same thing, modify the approach or give up? Ideally, getting a mentor or someone with experience to find out what went wrong will help create a successful situation. Or maybe it just doesn’t work. Cover cropping is […] Read more

Research plots in 2017 looking at nitrogen and phosphorus interactions.

Worried about pea disease? Try peaola

Intercropping peas and canola can minimize disease and lower production costs

With international pea processor Roquette opening a plant in Portage la Prairie, Man., in 2020, many growers will be thinking about taking advantage of the opportunity. Some, however, will be worried about one of the biggest challenges of growing peas: disease. There may be a solution, though. Researchers and experimental farmers are finding answers in […] Read more