GFM Network News


Farming Smarter’s field day in early July had an unusual aspect — attendees — who heard from several speakers, including researcher Lewis Baarda.

Forget the silver bullet, bring out the arsenal against kochia

Study using multiple methods to control one of the most dangerous weeds on the Prairies

If it’s a one-on-one battle, put your money on kochia. The pernicious weed is not only a prolific seed producer, thrives in harsh conditions, and spreads its progeny far and wide, it’s also a master when it comes to developing resistance to herbicides. So producers are urged to use a variety of ‘best management practices’ […] Read more

Research co-ordinator Mike Gretzinger stands with some biostimulant products during Farming Smarter’s field day in July.

Alberta researchers delve into mysterious world of biostimulants

Three-year study aims to see if these products work on wheat, peas, and canola under Alberta conditions

There are a lot of products that growers can put on their crops, but do they really work? That can be a difficult question at the best of times but it’s especially challenging in the rapidly expanding but little understood world of biostimulants. The term has been around for many years but the closest thing […] Read more


Cassandra Fitzpatrick is the facilitator for AFAC’s backyard chickens, and has a flock of 100 chickens.

Pandemic poultry: Interest in backyard chickens is soaring

Alberta Farm Animal Care’s virtual backyard chicken courses attracting a flock of attendees

Like yoga pants, Netflix, sourdough bread and puppies, backyard chickens have seen a surge in demand during the pandemic. Alberta Farm Animal Care has been putting on workshops for several years to ensure new chicken owners put their birds’ welfare at the top of their list. It had more planned for this year. “And then […] Read more

The yodelling young cowboy in this Burger King ad has a catchy tune, but one of Canada’s leading beef researchers says its claim of reduced methane emissions from feeding lemongrass to cows is “highly unlikely” to be true.

A whopper of a different sort?

Burger King unveils splashy new campaign built around lemongrass, and not much science, says expert

The yodelling young cowboy is pretty good, but don’t take it for gospel when Burger King’s newest pitchman warbles that “the scientists have proven that it works.” The American burger chain recently launched (in a few U.S. cities) the Reduced Methane Emissions Beef Whopper. Burger King says it “teamed up” with “top-level” scientists from the […] Read more


Exports of wheat have been strong during the pandemic and while prices aren’t great, there’s a chance they could see an upswing in the winter.

Wheat could be a pleasant surprise on the upside this winter

A lot of grain has moved during the pandemic, analysts are hoping for some ‘fireworks’ in the market

The market for Canada’s wheat shows promise, even if no one can say that it’s going to be a clear winner. “It’s not like we’re going to see the doubling of prices,” said Brennan Turner, chief executive officer of FarmLead. “There are a number of variables that are likely to push wheat prices higher than […] Read more

Evert Beyer and wife Jannie (not pictured) emigrated from the Netherlands in 1994 and began dairy farming six years later. The family still milks cows but cheese making and retailing have become a major part of the family enterprise, which includes (from left) siblings Jocelyn, Harvey and Jacco (with sales manager Chad Carbno on the right). Another son, Theo, helps run the dairy farm.

Retail proves a lifeline for Alberta cheese-making family

The pandemic has been a boon for local food — something they know well at Crystal Springs Cheese

Retail wasn’t in the plans when Evert and Jannie Beyer went into the cheese-making business. But when the pandemic struck, it proved to be a lifeline. The couple emigrated from the Netherlands in 1994 and began milking cows in 2000. They took over Crystal Springs Cheese in 2005, moving the business from Bluffton to a […] Read more


A healthy wheat head at left and one with severe symptoms of fusarium head blight on the right.

The FHB buck now stops with farmers in Alberta

The zero-tolerance 
approach didn’t stop the spread of fusarium in the province

The Alberta government has given up trying to battle fusarium head blight through regulation — but the move means farmers will need to up their game to control the hugely costly cereal disease. The province removed fusarium graminearum from the Pest Control Nuisance Regulation of the Agricultural Pests Act last month, bringing Alberta in line […] Read more

It won’t be a typical Open Farm Days this year, but visitors will still be able to experience the sights at participating operations.

Open Farm Days ready to rise to the challenge

Things will be much different this year but organizers are confident the event will be successful

As they say, ‘The show must go on.’ And that’s how the organizers of Alberta Open Farm Days feel. “As we got into Stage 2 (of pandemic reopening), we looked at the regulations to see whether it could go ahead. This wasn’t something we took lightly,” said Nicola Doherty, marketing co-ordinator with Alberta Open Farm […] Read more


Lejjy Gafour (left), cellular biologist Matthew Anderson-Baron and, Jalene Anderson-Baron founded Future Fields, an Edmonton company that is working to make cultivated meat a reality.

Alberta company hoping to drive a lab-grown meat sector

Meat ‘cultured’ in a lab is hugely expensive, but an Edmonton company working to change that

You’ve been hearing about lab-grown meat for years, but an Edmonton-based company is one step closer to making cultivated meat a reality. Future Fields has been working to create food products grown from cells for three years. “Most people know this industry as lab-grown meat, but it’s now known as cellular agriculture or cultivated products,” […] Read more

Alberta’s egg farmers didn’t have to reduce production but surging retail sales and plummeting commercial sales required major shifts.

Supply management lives up to its name during pandemic

Chicken and egg sectors had to make quick adjustments as retail sales soared and restaurants shuttered

It’s been a roller-coaster, but supply-managed commodities have been able to quickly adjust to huge swings in demand caused by the pandemic. “The chicken industry has been very quick to respond to the shifts in the market from COVID-19,” said Karen Kirkwood, executive director of Alberta Chicken Producers. “We’re able to make sure there’s the […] Read more