GFM Network News


The focus of Old College’s new ‘techgronomy’ diploma program is making practical use of precision ag technology, says James Benkie (left), pictured with college staff Mytayla Miller and Bill Bruce examining field sensors.

Forget the app, there’ll soon be a college grad for that

‘Techgronomy’ diploma program aims to train experts able to put the promise of precision ag into practice

For many, the term ‘precision agriculture’ is becoming a source of irritation — a buzzword that often seems more about jargon than things you can use on the farm today. Viewed from that angle, the title of Olds College’s new diploma program — Precision Agriculture – Techgronomy — may seem like more of the same. […] Read more

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 “There is no more extra water that can be withdrawn for agriculture.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


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

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

More and more, farmers are using drones in their farm operations. But are they getting the most bang for their buck to assist them with cropping decisions?

Remote sensing: A few flyovers isn’t nearly enough

It takes years of data (and boots on the ground) to really understand what’s happening in a field


So you’ve bought yourself a drone and a spiffy new multispectral camera. Sounds fun. But what now? It’s true that images from camera-equipped drones can offer a moment-in-time snapshot of yield or emergence. But what if you wanted to use remote sensing for something a little more robust, such as measuring nutrient variability in your […] 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

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

More cattle are being sold through online auctions but live auctions aren’t going away any time soon, says Jason Danard of Calgary Stockyards (on left with father Don and brother Bryan).

Online cattle sales on the rise, but live auctions not going anywhere

Internet auctions were key at the start of pandemic but live sales are only down slightly

The pandemic has boosted the use of online auctions but selling cattle the old-fashioned way isn’t about to disappear, says a veteran auctioneer. “Sales at the auction market are down slightly but not a lot,” said Jason Danard, vice-president of Strathmore-based Calgary Stockyards and head of its online division, The Electronic Auction Market, which is […] Read more


St. Mary River Irrigation District’s chair says investing in irrigation infrastructure produces a good return for the provincial economy.

Irrigation districts say they’re grateful for provincial funding

This year's allocation is smaller, but there's recognition that 'tax dollars are very hard to come by now'

This year’s allocation is smaller but there’s recognition that ‘tax dollars are very hard to come by now’

It was cheque-cashing time for Alberta’s irrigation districts earlier this month as the provincial government announced $10 million in allocations through the Irrigation Rehabilitation Program (IRP) for the 2020-21 budget year. In place for over 50 years, the IRP is a 75-25 cost-share program between the province and Alberta’s irrigation districts. As its name suggests, […] Read more

The past two growing seasons have resulted in increased canola spoilage due to late and wet harvests.

Now is the time to start thinking about conditioning canola

Having the right setup and the manpower capacity for turning bins are keys to avoiding spoilage

Two late and wet harvests in a row have greatly increased canola spoilage — and upped the need to have a conditioning plan in place early on. “It’s really important to consider this topic now when there is time rather than being in the heat of harvest and having to make decisions,” said Lorne Grieger, […] Read more


The first year of a three-year study of grain-drying systems found “a high degree of efficiency variability,” says Lorne Grieger of the Prairie Agricultural Research Institute.

What’s the best bang for your grain-drying buck?

No one really knows for sure but a Team Alberta project is looking for answers

As Alberta producers know all too well from the last two years, grain drying can be very expensive. But what isn’t known is which grain conditioning system offers the most bang for the buck. “There’s a real gap in the understanding of the efficiency of — for example — natural air-drying (NAD) systems with supplemental […] Read more

Use safe access such as proper steps or ladders when pumping fuel into storage tanks.

Avoid disaster with simple farm fuel management steps

With producers buying fuel tanks in record numbers, now is the time to review safe practices

Everyone loves a bargain, and producers got a big one this spring when fuel prices dropped to lows not seen in ages. With average prices ranging around 65 cents per litre for diesel and 50 cents for gasoline with tax exemptions, producers quickly queued up at their local suppliers to shave some dollars off their […] Read more