GFM Network News


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


Provincial pest specialist Scott Meers scouting for wheat midge. That pest isn’t expected to be a major
problem this year — bertha army worm, grasshoppers, and wheat stem sawfly are Meers’ top threats.

There’s a time of year when it pays to go looking for a fight

To combat the hordes of bad guys looking for a free meal, you need to plan your attack

Looking for trouble? You should be when it comes to insects that might be a threat to your crops. The “big three” this year are bertha army worm, grasshoppers, and wheat stem sawfly, says provincial pest specialist Scott Meers. But it depends where you farm, so Meers recommends you bookmark the website of the Alberta […] Read more

Uneven boom height is one of several issues that can lead to “underdosing” when spraying.

Spray variability may be costing you big bucks

Several factors can cause uneven spraying — and they almost always come down to speed

In some parts of the field, as much as half of the herbicide you spray may not hit the target, says a spraying expert. And while there are a host of factors involved — including turns, boom height variability, and turbulence — more often than not, the culprit is speed, said Tom Wolf. The result […] Read more


Starting later this year, BASF’s InVigor canola seed will be packaged in bags featuring four different thousand seed weight ranges with recommended seeding rates.

You can count on thousand seed weight

Seeding by weight or volume is too imprecise to give you the optimum number of plants per square foot

The message is clear: If you’re still using bushels or pounds per acre as your seeding measure, you may not only be losing yield but spending more on seed than necessary. More and more producers are adopting thousand seed weight (TSW) as their primary seeding measurement. TSW is a more precise gauge of seed size […] Read more

It’s not hard to guess which plot had phosphate placed in the seed row — that would be the canola on the right (which had P applied at a rate of 15 pounds per acre) while the plot on the left did not. Putting phosphate in the row is tricky when the seed is small or conditions dry.

Make sure your seed and fertilizer can get along

Side- and mid-row banding help, but watch that P in the seed row — especially in a dry spring

Fertilizer and seed are what you might call the best of frenemies. They need each other but if conditions aren’t right, one of them (in this case, the seed) is likely to get hurt. And that goes double if you’re growing a small-seed crop like canola under dry conditions. Three of the biggest concerns canola […] Read more


This photo is from the Seed Smart campaign by Alberta Seed Processors, which says farmers can profit from more extensive testing of their seed.

Putting seed to the test — it’s not just about germination

A vigour test tells you more, especially in a year like this one that follows a tough harvest

The seed you plant is ground zero for any healthy, profitable crop. So it only makes sense to know as much about it as possible before putting it in the ground. However, a lot of producers are still doing the bare minimum of seed testing, and experts say it’s causing them to miss out. Although […] Read more

Japan is famous for demanding the highest-quality food products and Canada meets those standards. But price also matters — Canadian beef exports tripled after tariffs fell at the start of the new year.

Quick payoff from trade deal for beef producers

Beef exports to Japan triple in the first month after Trans-Pacific agreement

That didn’t take long. Hot on the heels of a new trade partnership, sales of Canadian beef to Japan skyrocketed in January, tripling the amount sold to the country compared to a month earlier. Japanese buyers snapped up 3,545 tonnes of Canadian beef in January — versus 1,282 tonnes in December and about 58 per […] Read more


The scale of Federated Co-operatives’ new fertilizer terminal at Grassy Lake can be seen from the eight long, thin objects in this depiction. They’re Super B trailers and the co-op says it will be able to load one faster than Lynyrd Skynyrd can play ‘Free Bird.’

Co-op goes big — and fast — with new fertilizer terminal

The new $42-million facility at Grassy Lake will have a loop track and lightning-quick loading

The tiny hamlet of Grassy Lake will soon be home to a very large fertilizer terminal. The $41.8-million Federated Co-operatives facility will not only be big — with a storage capacity of more than 34,000 tonnes — but also fast. It will have a loop track that will be able to continuously unload a 110-car […] Read more

If it’s daylight and a rural resident comes along, things will probably be fine. But you can’t always avoid evening and night moves — nor can you count on drivers knowing how to safely approach farm equipment.

Big equipment and rural roads aren’t a great match

You can’t shrink your equipment but you can reduce the risk of a collision

When it comes to transporting agricultural equipment, bigger almost never means better. After all, equipment is getting larger but roads are staying the same size. There are also fewer drivers on the road who know how to respect and respond to these large, slow-moving vehicles. It’s a potentially fatal cocktail and farmers are getting worried. […] Read more