GFM Network News


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


Canadian farmers pull off an energy magic trick

Nearly 30 years of better practices are helping producers consume less energy even as demand is at a peak

Can you use more energy and less energy at the same time? Canadian farmers have managed to pull it off. Mind you, that’s a bit of a misnomer. What Canadian farmers have actually done is chop the amount of energy they consume per dollar of output by 17 per cent over 26 years. Non-intuitively, this […] Read more

Part of a 36-panel array in Athabasca County expected to produce 16,100 kilowatt hours annually. Fixed panels and a grid-tied system are recommended by the Solar Energy Society of Alberta, whose rural workshops continue to attract large numbers of producers.

Interest in solar remains strong, but subsidies in doubt

It’s not clear whether the new government will axe subsidies, but producers still drawn to solar workshops

Are provincial subsidies for on-farm grid-tied solar projects dead? And if they are dead, does that mean solar and other renewable energy projects have gone the way of the dodo as well? It would be hard to fault anyone for answering ‘Yes’ to both questions. While on the campaign trail in February, now-premier, Jason Kenney […] Read more


Some producers use rubber hoses as insulators at the corners and ends of an electric fence, as pictured on the left. Jason Williams says doing this defeats the purpose of insulation as most “rubber” hoses are actually made of carbon, which acts as a conductor. Instead, use proper, store-bought insulators as pictured on the right.

Don’t be shocked when electric fences underperform

Undersized wire, rusty rebar, and ‘rubber’ hoses are common mistakes on many ranches

Want to hear a Captain Obvious statement? Electric fences need to be able to shock animals enough to keep livestock in and predators out. The reality is many electric fences are not up to this basic task. Just ask Jason Williams, who tours the country teaching producers ways to make their electric fences more effective. […] Read more

This sort of work is risky and should be done outside.

Simple steps for avoiding the nightmare of a barn fire

Annual electrical inspections, hard-wiring equipment, and good housekeeping are proven risk reducers

A barn fire can be one of the most distressing disasters on a farm — no amount of insurance can rectify the loss when livestock are killed this way. Although there are fewer barn fires today, the pure destruction factor has never been higher. Ontario had 89 barn fires from 2014 to 2018, but the […] Read more