GFM Network News


A cellphone is a great safety device when working alone — as long as it’s charged, there’s reception 
where you’re working, and there’s someone you can call who can quickly come to your aid in case of an accident.

Don’t just rely on your cellphone when working alone on the farm

Farm Safety Week: Old-school tech, GPS devices and careful planning can come through if your cellphone fails you

Cellphones have made it easier for producers to communicate on the job — especially ones working alone. In the event of an injury, a one-touch emergency cell call can mean the difference between life and death. But as great as cellphones may be, they’re not the be-all and end-all of an on-farm communications plan. Congratulations […] Read more

Safety training has become a passion for Hanneke Camps — and it’s a process that’s continually evolving, she says.

‘Common sense’ isn’t an alternative to communication

Never stop talking about dangers and safe practices, says safety-minded Alberta producer

A farm, particularly during a busy season, is at best barely controlled chaos, with vehicles, equipment, employees and even kids all competing for the same farmyard real estate. So how do you bring order to that chaos and keep everyone safe? Ask Hanneke Camps and she’ll tell you communication is the key. Although everyone talks […] Read more


The new provincial workplace safety law for farms is now in effect but even if you have just one paid, non-family employee, the Occupational Health and Safety Act still applies.

What does the new farm safety law mean on your farm?

There are more options under Farm Freedom and Safety Act but farm employers have the same basic obligations

The Farm Freedom and Safety Act doesn’t give producers freedom from making sure their employees make it home safe and sound at the end of every work day. That’s the gist of a new campaign by AgSafe Alberta, which is trying to correct a misconception that Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws don’t apply to […] Read more

The County of Grande Prairie is giving farmers this sign to post in unharvested fields.

Ask first — snowmobile later

In some parts of the province, there’s a 50-50 chance there’s an unharvested crop beneath the snow

With winter firmly in place and 40 to 60 per cent of crops still in the fields, the County of Grande Prairie has a message for winter recreation enthusiasts: If you’re going to snowmobile on farmers’ property, ask first. The county is issuing up to five free signs per farm urging people to get the […] Read more


Today’s drones are great at selecting pastures and tracking cattle, can read an ear tag from 70 metres up, and offer spectral imaging a hundred times more powerful than satellites, says researcher John Church. And while they’re not good at herding, drone technology is close to offering health assessments of individual cows.

Plunging prices and better tech should put drones on your radar

Drones with sophisticated imaging tech can be robust precision tools for managing cattle on pasture

Producers are always being pitched new technology, and the marketing din is arguably louder than ever in this age of precision agriculture. So when producers ask if unmanned aerial vehicles are just expensive toys, it’s a fair question. While John Church would be the first to admit he has a lot of fun researching the […] Read more

The Spornado can tell if a spore pathogen is present but you still have to figure out if it’s worth applying fungicide.

Spornado causes a whirlwind of new research

There’s an affordable way to detect fusarium or sclerotinia spores — but it’s not one-and-done technology

A device that helps alert growers to the presence of airborne pathogens has been popping up in some Alberta cereal and canola fields in the last couple of years. But while Spornado — and in-crop spore detection in general — is promoted as a tool to take the guesswork out of fungicide application decisions, this […] Read more


CDC Copeland and AC Metcalfe are the undisputed heavyweights of Western Canada’s malt barley scene, accounting for 78 per cent of malt acres this year. But both are two decades old and new varieties such as CDC Bow — which has improved standability and lower beta-glucan content — may challenge that duopoly.

Better barley: There’s a long wish list for brewers and feeders

Yield is No. 1 for growers but elements such as ‘Lox,’ beta-glucan, and acid detergent fibre are key, too

Ask most barley producers what they want in a variety and the answers won’t surprise you: Better yield, standability and disease resistance. But when it comes to buyers, it gets a little more complex. Both foreign and domestic customers — especially beer makers, but also feeders — are looking for traits few people even thought […] Read more

Farmfair runs from Nov. 6-10 at the Edmonton EXPO Centre.

What’s new in 2019 at Farmfair International

Big-eared bunnies, a honey show, craft market, and learn-in-a-hurry presentations are part of this year’s lineup

Every year, Farmfair International is offering new events and programs to keep the long-running ag show fresh for attendees. This is especially important this year as Northlands — the organizers of Farmfair — strive to attract guests who may not ordinarily attend an agricultural event. This year’s show is being held Nov. 6-10 at the […] Read more


The Extreme Cowboys competition, an obstacle course that tests horsemanship skills, calls itself “the fastest-growing equine sport.” It’s making its Farmfair debut this year.

Northlands strikes a balance for Farmfair 2019

Farmfair organizers attempt to boost urban visitors while staying true to the show’s roots

With a new focus on attracting urban audiences, Farmfair International’s organizers are offering new kinds of programming while keeping old fans happy. The first step was thinking beyond cattle. Farmfair 2019, which runs Nov. 6-10 at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, features programming dedicated to smaller critters such as bees, rabbits and urban chickens — not […] Read more

New malt varieties are being developed that nearly match the yields of feed and that will create new interest in barley, says breeder Aaron Beattie.

Is barley making a comeback?

The crop doesn’t generate a lot of excitement but that may be changing

If you stopped looking at Prairie acreage numbers two years ago, you can be forgiven for thinking barley is not the sexiest crop choice out there. Although it grabs lots of Alberta acres because of malting and feedlot demand, the barley sector is perceived to be slow to develop new varieties and tethered to inflexible […] Read more