GFM Network News


Kochia has taken over this abandoned well site and stands nearly as tall as Kevin Serfas. The Turin farmer says his calls to the energy companies that own several dozen similar sites on his family’s farming operation go unanswered. And managing the weeds would require “a full-time guy,” he said.

Farmers lose — and weeds win — when energy companies walk away

When well sites are abandoned, the rent cheques 
often stop while the noxious weeds flourish

“Kochia six feet tall and completely covering the whole leases. We have many that look like this. When I phone, no one even answers the phones.” This tweet from Lethbridge-area farmer Kevin Serfas in August likely could have been written by any one of hundreds of Alberta producers with abandoned well sites on their farms. […] Read more

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has been lobbying the Alberta Energy Regulator to “expedite” energy project approvals whenever possible.

Landowners’ rights in danger of being eroded, says advocate

Energy association wants review process streamlined, which could limit the ability to raise concerns

A growing number of abandoned energy leases in Alberta might make farmers wonder if it’s worth allowing an energy company to come onto their land in the first place. However, a “pro-oil and gas regulatory environment” may make it more difficult to express concern over proposed energy projects, says Daryl Bennett, a director with the […] Read more


Calgary-based Bio-Cycle Solutions says it has spread its compost-based product on about four million acres.

It’s cheap and plentiful but is elemental sulphur a fertilizer option?

A Calgary company says its compost-based product fits the bill, but you need to think longer term

[UPDATE: Oct. 10, 2019] When you consider the cost and bulkiness of conventional sulphur fertilizers, producers can hardly be blamed for seeking out alternatives to meet their crops’ sulphate needs. One of these alternatives is elemental sulphur — a byproduct of the oil and gas industry that is plentiful and cheap in Alberta. But should […] Read more

Reducing the spring workload and cost savings make fall fertilizing tempting, but the cost can be higher, 
especially when it comes to urea or anhydrous.

The pros and (serious) cons of fall fertilizer application

Fall application can come back to haunt you in the spring, especially when it comes to nitrogen

At face value, there are several reasons for applying fertilizer post-harvest. It reduces the workload in spring, the price of nutrients is usually lower in the fall, and it minimizes winter storage risks. So is fall fertilizer application a no-brainer? Not necessarily, says an agronomist with Alberta Wheat and Barley. “I would make sure that […] Read more


A new consortium has been given nearly $50 million in federal funding to find ways to bring cutting-edge technology to Canadian farms. Among the tech being focused on is self-driving equipment (pictured is DOT Technology’s autonomous platform), robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytic, hyperspectral imaging, traceability systems, and “smart farms.”

Feds back $108-million push to automate farming

A consortium of groups, including three from Alberta, want to usher in a new era of advanced ag technology

It may not seem a priority given the weather and trade challenges farmers are facing — but now is the time to launch a new era of smart farms, AI, and robotics, say backers of a new $108-million tech fund. Ottawa is giving $49.5 million to the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN), and […] Read more

Finding room to store this year’s crop is only one of the 
challenges that canola growers are facing this year.

Government aid may be needed for canola growers, says analyst

China situation will drag on and stocks of unsold canola will continue to mount, says trade expert

With no end in sight to China’s ban on their biggest money-making crop, Ottawa may have to offer financial aid to canola growers, says an ag trade expert. “There will likely be discussions of compensation for canola farmers,” said Sarah Pittman, a policy analyst with the Canada West Foundation in Calgary. “I’m not sure we […] Read more


Backers of the certified sustainable beef program are urging more producers to sign up as demand exceeds supply.

Sustainable beef initiative effort motors ahead

Harvey’s signs on to program as demand for certified sustainable beef continues to grow

Fast-food chain Harvey’s has become the latest major buyer to sign up for the ‘sustainable’ beef initiative. But even while the number of retailers is increasing, most cattle producers are taking a ‘wait and see’ approach that has resulted in a gap between supply and demand. However, that gap is closing, said Ponoka rancher Greg […] Read more

The grain entrapment demo unit that the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association takes to farm events is an eye-opener for some producers, but others are harder to reach.

Don’t get trapped — bring a buddy when unloading grain from bins

Most people trapped in grain don’t survive, but a few simple steps can greatly reduce the danger

Of all the dangers involved in unloading grain bins, grain entrapment is indisputably one of the most perilous. A routine entry into a bin to shovel some resistant grain can become deadly in a matter of seconds if the auger — and thus the flow rate — stays active. “One of the main things we […] Read more


These bins on this Bonnyville farm were empty when they were toppled by winds gusting to 130 kilometres an hour in January 2014. The bins were anchored with cables but it wasn’t enough. However, the full bins (which also had cables anchored to the ground) — although described as “rocking back and forth” and needed to be supported by tractors — stayed standing.

Don’t let grain bins blow away — anchor with care

You don’t need a concrete base to keep a bin upright in high winds, but strong anchoring is a must

As anyone who’s seen the footage can tell you, the ‘bomb cyclones’ which hit the flooded U.S. Midwest this spring showed the force of Mother Nature at its most devastating. The combination of heavy winds and water not only knocked grain bins over — it crushed them like aluminum cans, sending them floating down makeshift […] Read more

Unnecessary turns, unneeded gates, improper ballast, and using the wrong tractor for the job can all bring this fellow out to your place more often. PHOTOS: UFA

Little things add up: How to trim your fuel bill this growing season

Expert offers his tips — some familiar ones and others you may not have thought of

Forget the old cliché. There are actually three things you can count on in life: Death, taxes, and the inevitability of high fuel costs. It’s difficult to measure how much farmers on average spend on fuel in any given growing season, but they know where it hurts them: In the wallet. “Farmers really don’t get […] Read more