GFM Network News


Variable-rate irrigation holds great promise but applying the technology is complicated, says Willemijn Appels, Lethbridge College’s Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science. Appels (second from right) is pictured with students and researchers at one of five farms where her study on variable-rate irrigation is taking place.

Precision irrigation has great potential, but it’s tricky

Understanding how moisture moves through parts of the field is one of the goals of the four-year study

Water has always been at a premium in the Irrigation Belt of southern Alberta. “Our water system is closed,” said Willemijn Appels, an irrigation scientist with Lethbridge College. “There is no more extra water that can be withdrawn for agriculture. Our water licences are already allocated. “We need to use water more wisely and make […] Read more

Universities and colleges to take over key provincial research programs

Schools will get transition grants to take on former government programs and researchers

The provincial government is transferring several research programs to universities and colleges. They are: University of Alberta Will receive $3.7 million for taking on four programs and their lead researchers. They are Sheri Strydhorst (cereal agronomy), John Basarab (beef genomics and feed efficiency), Marcos Colazo (reproductive management in beef and dairy cattle), and Valerie Carney […] Read more


Saskatchewan agriculture minister cruises to election win

NDP's ag critic trailing, with mail-in votes still to come

Another incumbent agriculture minister easily held his seat as Saskatchewan’s governing Saskatchewan Party scored another decisive majority in Monday’s provincial election. David Marit, MLA for the southwestern riding of Wood River since 2016, held his seat by a spread of 5,177 votes over the New Democrats’ challenger, teacher Roger Morgan, with 459 mail-in ballots remaining […] Read more

Replacing canals with underground pipes will cut water loss from evaporation and leakage — enough to irrigate an additional 200,000 acres in southern Alberta.

More crop per drop — irrigation gets ‘historic’ cash injection

New $815-million project will irrigate another 200,000 acres without any additional water allocation

There are a lot of big numbers behind a “historic” expansion of southern Alberta’s irrigation system, but also the smallest possible one — zero. That’s the amount of extra water that will, or rather won’t, be needed to add more than 200,000 irrigated acres that will be created by a $815-million project, officials say. “With […] Read more


Federal fund, Alberta government back irrigation upgrades

Infrastructure Bank lends cash for system improvements

Eight irrigation districts in Alberta are set to tap into the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s new $1.5 billion pool of funding earmarked for irrigation, to receive loans worth about $407.5 million. The Alberta and federal governments on Friday announced a total investment of $815 million — including repayable CIB funds, provincial support and irrigation district contributions […] Read more

Study shows how U.S. farm landscapes could be reshaped by climate

Plains' wheat belt would see 'hollowing-out'

London | Thomson Reuters Foundation — Climate change could render swaths of agricultural land largely useless for farming in the U.S. South, and force Midwestern farmers to move corn and soybeans elsewhere as crop yields decline, researchers said on Monday. The profits of growing six key crops are set to fall by almost a third […] Read more


Canada adds step on U.S. romaine lettuce imports

E. coli testing to be required on Salinas Valley romaine

Canadian importers of U.S.-grown romaine lettuce will now face an extra step that’s expected to help prevent another outbreak of romaine-related illnesses due to E. coli. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Friday it will begin next week to require importers to provide proof that their U.S.-grown romaine didn’t come from certain California counties. Otherwise, […] Read more

Federal irrigation pledge seen flowing mainly to Prairies

Infrastructure plan also includes promised broadband support

Prairie provinces will receive the bulk of Ottawa’s $1.5 billion commitment to support irrigation projects, according to federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday launched a three-year, $10 billion infrastructure plan aimed at five different sectors, including agriculture. The $1.5 billion is expected to result in 700,000 acres of irrigated land. […] Read more


The Coen family has strategically placed ditches that were excavated to create swales for capturing snowmelt, that either slowly soaks into the land or is captured in a series of small dams.

Innovative farmers ‘harvest’ water to boost production

Coen Farm created shallow ditches called swales to capture millions of gallons of snowmelt each spring

This winter, you might want to harvest something a little different on your farm — water. “Our farm harvests 40 years of water in two weeks just from snowmelt,” said Takota Coen, who farms near Ferintosh with his parents. “We live in one of the only places in the world where you can actually increase […] Read more

AgDealer plugs into forex service provider

Listing site to offer currency exchange service on cross-border purchases

Farmers buying used iron internationally by way of AgDealer are getting access to what’s billed as a lower-cost option to handle the currency exchange. AgDealer, Canada’s largest used farm equipment shopper publication and online listing platform, announced a partnership Tuesday with OFX Group, an Australian-based online currency exchange provider. Farmers, distributors and buyers outside of […] Read more