GFM Network News


Not your typical harvest scene: Dill being harvested at Dale Thacker Specialty Crops.

Specialty crop farmer leverages the power of irrigation

And others will do the same as massive irrigation expansion comes online, says Dale Thacker

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you’ve ever chewed a stick of gum or used a minty toothpaste, there’s a reasonable chance the spearmint inside is from Dale Thacker’s farm. The southeastern Alberta producer has been growing specialty crops — starting with spearmint and expanding into a host of others — for more than three decades. Most depend on irrigation […] Read more

Wheat midge is an “insidious” thief of both yield and quality, says entomologist Tyler Wist, seen here demonstrating how to sweep for the pest.

Keep watch for wheat midge this growing season

This silent killer is a ‘big bad’ threat and may be out in force in some areas this year

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ask any wheat farmer about orange blossom wheat midge and they may tell you it’s the ‘big bad’ of crop insects and comparable to fusarium in terms of pure destructive power. “It’s kind of insidious,” said AgCanada entomologist Tyler Wist. “Often if you’re not out looking for it you don’t even know it’s there. Then […] Read more


Although overlap can be greatly reduced with sectional control, it can’t be completely eliminated as was shown in trials conducted last year for Alberta Pulse Growers. The study also found there was less overlap of larger seeds (such as peas on left) versus smaller ones (like canola on right).

Sectional control minimizes, but doesn’t eliminate overlap

The theoretical savings are great but overlap still happens, and size of both seed and sections matters

Reading Time: 4 minutes Unless you farm some magical piece of land where there are no stone piles, hills, water bodies or other obstacles to get around, you will always have some overlap. That extra seed or fertilizer can cost you big bucks over time — which is why stories about sectional control technology often focus on the potential […] Read more

The Chin Reservoir — which is earmarked for expansion under an $815-million trilateral agreement — provides water to three irrigation districts: St. Mary, Raymond and Taber. Pictured is the Chin Reservoir where it feeds into the Stafford Reservoir.

Major expansion of Chin Reservoir being planned

The Chin will be one of two reservoir expansions in historic 200,000-acre irrigation project

Reading Time: 4 minutes Details of an $815-million irrigation expansion agreement are slowly trickling in. The Chin Reservoir is one of two off-stream reservoirs to be expanded as part of adding more than 200,000 acres to the province’s 1.7 million acres of existing irrigation, an irrigation district official said. “We’re still in the planning stages of how much we’re […] Read more


Even in the best of circumstances, moving farm equipment on highways carries risks.

Be seen and be safe when moving farm equipment on roads

Do everything you can to be visible, and consider taking extra measures, says expert

Reading Time: 3 minutes Think there’s no way a massive piece of farm machinery travelling down a highway can be completely unseen? Consider this story. On the morning of Jan. 4 of this year, a 72-year-old man died when a semi-trailer hit the tractor he was driving on a two-lane highway in southern Manitoba. The driver of the semi […] Read more

This is one of seven ‘quick start’ safety guides available from AgSafe Alberta. The short guides offer practical first steps for reducing safety risks on a farm.

Take it personally — and make a commitment, says farm safety expert

Don’t practise on-farm safety because the government says so — do it for yourself and your family

Reading Time: 3 minutes Working safely on the farm is like getting ready to jump out of an airplane. You can’t afford to pack your parachute right only some of the time — you have to do it right every time. That line of thinking is the same producers should be using in their safety procedures every day, safety […] Read more


The four ‘whats’ and four ‘hows’ of farm safety

The four ‘whats’ and four ‘hows’ of farm safety

Asking some very simple questions can take you a long way in making the farm safer

Reading Time: 2 minutes Putting farm safety practices in place takes time and commitment. But many best practices don’t necessarily have to be formal or difficult, said Alan Quilley, a safety expert for more than 40 years who has helped some of the biggest employers in Canada build their safety cultures. He calls his model an integrated safety management […] Read more

These three pictures from last summer tell a mighty tale of what irrigation can do: On the left, Jason Hale’s granddaughter Blayk stands in a forage corn crop on his Bassano-area farm on June 21; the middle photo was taken July 7; and the one on the right was taken July 21. “It’s amazing how fast this corn grows in two weeks,” Hale tweeted when posting the July 21 photo.

Irrigation mega-project takes next big step

Farmers in southeast back plan for huge expansion of Snake Lake Reservoir

Reading Time: 4 minutes Farmers in southeast Alberta have given a big thumbs up to a major chunk of a historic $815-million expansion of the province’s irrigation system. Three-quarters of the 648 producers in the Eastern Irrigation District who voted in a plebiscite last month cast ballots in favour of an irrigation allotment increase that allows a $170-million expansion […] Read more


Pictured is the Snake Lake Reservoir, about 20 kilometres southeast of Bassano, as it is today. The area outlined in red shows an expansion which will add 53,000 acre-feet to the reservoir.

No extra water required in irrigation acreage expansion, says report

Move to underground pipe and low-pressure pivots means more crop per drop

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Eastern Irrigation District’s decision to expand its irrigation acres brings up a couple of questions. Perhaps the biggest is: Where is the extra water coming from? The answer: There’s no extra water required. According to a feasibility study conducted by the province, the 34,000-acre expansion will not require any additional draw from river sources. […] Read more

A growing number of farmers are frustrated by not having access to diagnostic tools when an error code flashes on the monitor on a combine.

Do farmers have the right to repair their own equipment?

Interest groups debate the ‘right to repair’ versus ‘right to modify’ with producers stuck in the middle

Reading Time: 5 minutes It’s a story that’s becoming more and more common. You’re smack dab in the middle of harvest and an error code appears on your combine’s monitor. A call to the dealership results in a long wait for a technician to come out, with anxiety rising with every passing hour because priceless harvesting time is being […] Read more