GFM Network News


Thanks to Jim Lundgren, who farms at Glenora, Man., about 85 km west of Morden, for this photo of his early start to spring tillage on March 20, 2021, owing to the recent absence of snow and/or rain in the area. Not that it’s a race, but is spring fieldwork already underway where you are? If yes, feel free to snap a photo and email us at daveb@fbcpublishing.com. (Photo courtesy Jim Lundgren)

Manitoba soil temperatures allow for spring fertilizer

Winter ban lifted, with cautions

Farmers across Manitoba are now cleared to apply spring fertilizers including livestock manure on their fields, thanks to sufficiently warm soil temperatures, the province said Tuesday. Though the winter nutrient ban has been lifted, the province cautioned producers to “assess current weather conditions and periodically check weather forecasts” if they’re applying anytime between now and […] Read more

Applying the principles of low-stress handling requires an eye for detail. 


Little things can help improve flow of cattle

There are some easy fixes that make a difference, says long-time vet

Reading Time: 4 minutes There’s no ‘silver bullet’ system that will have cattle flowing perfectly, eliminate welfare issues, and guarantee a positive experience for the handler. But there are some easy ways to make them better, says Dr. Roy Lewis, who has seen, and worked in, a lot of systems. Here’s his list of tips. Give ’em space “The […] Read more


Along with high densities and long rest periods, Ryan Boyd seeds a wide array of plants “to wake the soil up and let nature do its thing.”

Let’s get intense — cattle producer amps the density in his system

Ryan Boyd will put 400 yearlings on a quarter-acre as part of a system to boost forage productivity

Reading Time: 3 minutes Ryan Boyd has travelled the world to see how producers graze their cattle, and has figured out how to make his cattle work for him. Strip grazing, high stocking densities and a diverse range of plant species are at the core of the system developed by the Manitoba farmer, who as a 2019 Nuffield Scholar […] Read more

Harvesting hybrid fall rye at Harvest Moon Farm with a strip header on the combine. Residue management is a critical practice on the Hilda-area farm.

Improving soil is a long process involving lots of trial and error

Soil health principles are well known but putting them into practice takes time and patience

Reading Time: 4 minutes Everyone is in favour of improving soil health and there are a lot of recommended practices for doing that. But it’s when the rubber meets the road that things get complicated — and change takes time and patience. That was a major theme of Alberta producer Andy Kirschenman’s virtual presentation at the recent Farm Forum […] Read more


(Valio84sl/iStock/Getty Images)

Tech firm aims to boost regenerative ag through A.I., machine learning

Terramera proposes to cut emissions, sequester carbon through efficiencies

A Vancouver ag tech firm is pitching a proposal to both public- and private-sector investors that would use Microsoft technology to help the ag sector “pull carbon from the air.” Terramera on Monday put forward a $730 million proposal for an initiative it calls the Global Centre for Regenerative Agriculture, which would oversee efforts to […] Read more

An ammonia and nitrogen fertilizer plant in Russia.

Fertilizer use fuelling climate-warming nitrous oxide emissions, study says

London | Reuters — Rising use of nitrogen-based fertilizers is driving up global emissions of nitrous oxide, a lesser-known greenhouse gas, complicating efforts to limit climate change, scientists reported in a study on Wednesday. Most of the focus in curbing climate-warming gas emissions has focused on the most abundant, carbon dioxide, and one of the […] Read more


(Candice Bell/iStock/Getty Images)

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

Lab trials of a manure-derived seed treatment have usually shown increased root growth (as seen on the right) as well as better resistance to environmental stressors.

Happy accident: Researchers discover promising new seed treatment

How it works is still a mystery, but new compound boosts germination, root development, and resistance

Reading Time: 5 minutes Good things generally don’t happen by accident in science — they’re the result of countless hours of trial and error, replication and peer review. However, University of Saskatchewan researchers may be looking at the closest thing to a scientific miracle: A natural seed treatment that increases germination in just about any crop you can name, […] Read more


Agronomist Matt Gosling is a big-time advocate of soil testing but doing it right isn’t as straightforward as you might think.

Soil testing should be a cornerstone of your farm, says agronomist

Develop management zones, consider mobile nutrients, and don’t neglect phosphorus, says Matt Gosling

Reading Time: 4 minutes When you talk to Matt Gosling about soil — even if it’s over the phone — you can picture his eyes getting wider as his voice becomes more animated. He considers soil the cornerstone of crop agriculture: A living organism that is constantly shifting, changing and moving. By that logic, then, soil testing must be […] Read more

Craig Lehr is one of five Alberta reps on the Beef Cattle Research Council. The organization is profiling the innovative practices of its council members, including Lehr’s operation near Medicine Hat.

Double cropping and low-stress handling pay dividends

Short Grass Ranches benefits from grazing a second feed crop and a new low-stress handling system

Reading Time: 3 minutes Editor’s note: The Beef Cattle Research Council has launched a new series looking at the innovative practices and strategies of producers who are members of the council. (There are 14 council members representing provincial beef organizations.) Here is an excerpt from the first instalment of the series, which can be found in the blog section […] Read more