GFM Network News


This photo was taken on August 1, 2009. There was great crop growth, from old fashioned methods.

Cover crops and green manure

In the Palliser Triangle, cover crops aren’t the answer in a dry cycle

The current interest in soil health issues has expanded our thinking and spawned much research and new farm-scale work with many new-to-us plant species. Cover crops are planted in the non-commercial season to add diversity to the mix and juice up the soil organisms that go along with the different plants. In wet years, cover […] Read more

Farmers knowing the facts and understanding the public concerns are two important elements in showing the agriculture industry is doing its best toward proper land 
and livestock stewardship.

Defuse the potential for agriculture ‘Madvocacy’

Public Perception: Even with the facts, sometimes it is important to just listen

It seems that every day we are inundated with many opinions and ideas on what primary agricultural producers really need to do to improve the environment and serve our many masters. Based strictly on demographics, many of these intentions come from folks with little to no farm involvement or even those with an axe to […] Read more


What’s the impact of agricultural business mergers?

Are these companies merging to get stronger, or prepare for changing trends?

Are big agriculture company mergers a good or bad thing for the ag industry in general and for farmers specifically? “It is a big question that doesn’t have any real clear cut answers,” says Murray Fulton, a business professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Historically mergers haven’t been all that favourable in industry in general, […] Read more

The photo shows this old scribe in his young kid days giving advice to a farmer by phone — a very efficient way to do business back in the day when phones were answered. But, I was only able to help because the #12 Soils Map was right beside my phone. My first question was always, “Where are you from?” Then I could take a quick peek at the map and give a much better answer. Many thought I had the soils map in my head — 
but now the truth comes out.

Precision ag Step 1: soil maps

The most important part of precision agriculture is the soil maps of your fields


My first work on precision agriculture was actually in the 1960s and colleagues had been doing work on the idea before that. Back then it was all about identifying specific soil profile types in a field and trying to determine if their variable properties could be managed differently. Some things were clear: 1. Leached (white […] Read more


Keeping canola out of your soybean fields

Volunteer canola: 
Western Canada’s fourth 
most abundant weed

Volunteer canola is thriving in Western Canada. In the 1970s, volunteer canola was the 18th most abundant weed. Today it is the fourth most common in Western Canada. Volunteer canola is especially problematic where herbicide-resistant crops, like soybeans, are added to the rotation. Volunteer canola is a unique weed because it is derived from growing […] Read more



Aphanomyces disease symptoms in the field.

AAFC projects focus on aphanomyces root rot in pulse crops

Good management practices still the best way to control aphanomyces in the field

While improving management practices and reducing risk factors are still the best ways to avoid root rot in pulse crops, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers hope to find other tools. Syama Chatterton, an AAFC research scientist whose areas of expertise include diseases in pulse crops and soil borne diseases, is working on research projects that focus […] Read more

This photo shows the phosphorus response in a 1958 barley crop near Kindersley, Sask. The blue tinges showing in the “check” side of the 
photo are a result of the photo scanning.

What exactly is sustainability?

There are many ways to farm sustainably, and many ways to discuss the issue

A lot of recent farm press talks about sustainability. When I look up “sustainable” in Webster’s it says: ‘… a method of harvesting or using a resource so that resource is not depleted or permanently damaged…” The first time I remember that term used with respect to agriculture was when a respected farmer on Sceptre […] Read more


The best time to deal with a weed such as kochia is when it's small.

In-crop mechanical weed control

Controlling weeds mechanically can help overcome Group 2 resistant weeds in pulses

Group 2 resistant weeds are an annual problem for lentil producers. But there are a few outside-the-box methods that may give farmers better control than herbicide alone. University of Saskatchewan grad student Alex Alba led a study looking at three in-crop mechanical weed control methods, including: Tine harrows; Rotary hoe; and, Inter-row tillage. Alba used […] Read more

D3: The digital dumbing down

Not all information is better in the digital age. Especially data about the weather

We are now in “the information age.” Information, mostly good but sometimes sketchy, is literally at our fingertips. As I wrote this piece if a spelling error occurred, my software program underlined it in red. Then I quickly opened a web browser and put my spelling of the word into Google and up popped the […] Read more