GFM Network News

On-farm slaughter licences diversify the food system, put more money in the pockets of producers, and have strong support from many consumers, says Blake Hall of Prairie Gold Pastured Meats (seen here) and Ian Griebel of Redtail Farms.

Demand for on-farm slaughter licences soars after rule change

Consumers, and the pandemic, have been key factors with more than 170 licences issued

Reading Time: 5 minutes Demand for on-farm slaughter licences in Alberta has exploded since last summer when a rule change allowed consumers to buy individual animals and have them processed on the farm. “The day that the regulation changed, my phone just blew up, and it was largely our customers calling because they were so thrilled,” said Blake Hall […] Read more

Alberta produces a lot of field peas and demand for the protein, starch, and fibre in them is skyrocketing, but there’s no place to process them in the province. But that could change if a company called More Than Protein Ingredients can get the investors it needs for a fractionating plant in Bowden.

Bowden pulse-processing plant still a go, says new CEO

Investors are being lined up but some ‘milestones’ need to be met for fractionation facility to proceed

Reading Time: 5 minutes Despite recent setbacks, a proposed pulse-fractionating plant near Bowden is moving ahead under new management. The prospect for the facility was thrown into doubt when W.A. Grain & Pulse Solutions was placed into receivership in April. However, prior to that, the Innisfail company, which had spent five years planning the facility and trying to get it off the ground, […] Read more

Blindman Brewing in Lacombe has received a $102,000 grant to capture and reuse all of the CO2 produced in its brewing process.

Lacombe brewer closes its own carbon loop

Blindman Brewing in Lacombe will be capturing up to 100 tonnes of CO2 every year

Reading Time: 3 minutes An Alberta craft brewery is turning its carbon emissions into cash, thanks to a grant that will allow it to capture and reuse carbon in its brewing process. “We paid $60,000 last year just buying CO2 in bulk,” said Kirk Zembal, co-owner of Blindman Brewing in Lacombe. “If you’re using that much CO2 and producing […] Read more

The pandemic started out with fear – including empty supermarket shelves in rich countries like France due to hoarding (at top), and brought many tragedies – including outbreaks in Alberta’s meatpacking plants (at bottom).

Agriculture’s big challenges won’t end when the pandemic does

Longstanding problems are still there but we’ve learned lessons that can be applied, say senior officials

Reading Time: 4 minutes The ag sector will require some fresh approaches to old problems if Canadian producers hope to remain competitive in a post-pandemic world. “All of the things we were worried about post-pandemic are exactly the same things we were worried about pre-pandemic,” said Simon Kennedy, deputy minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada. Trade conflicts, […] Read more

Using ultra-high-frequency RFID tags and antennas at feed bunks and waterers, HerdWhistle monitors cattle for behavioural changes that could be an early sign of illness.

Algorithms getting ready to saddle up at feedlots

Calgary tech company says its system can track every cow in a pen and know how it’s doing

Reading Time: 4 minutes Checking each pen for a sick animal at a feedlot is like the world’s worst game of Where’s Waldo — oftentimes the cattle mostly look the same and if you’re not quick enough to spot the sick one, the consequences could cost you that animal. But a new ultra-high-frequency RFID monitoring system is taking the […] Read more

Packers have seen good margins and that’s drawing huge numbers of U.S. cows north but it’s been a different story for feedlots, which have struggled for years to make money.

A flood of American cattle is coming north — but the tide may turn

Alberta usually exports cattle but a quarter of a million U.S. cows a year are coming to Western Canada

Reading Time: 5 minutes Alberta feeder cattle imports have exploded, reaching highs not seen since the early 2000s. But feedlot operators are still struggling to turn a profit, and adding to their woes, the surge in American cattle may soon slow. “We were barely importing any feeders four or five years ago,” said Brian Perillat, manager of Canfax. “We […] Read more

Five years after doing “zip-lock bag” experiments in a closet, Alex Villeneuve is not only growing specialty mushrooms on spent brewers’ grains but then using those grains for a high-protein livestock feed.

Doubling down: Turning brewery waste into food — and then into feed

First Alex Villeneuve uses spent grain to grow mushrooms, and then it becomes high-protein feed

Reading Time: 3 minutes Five years ago, Alex Villeneuve was growing mushrooms in the closet of his college dorm, trying to turn brewers’ spent grain from local craft breweries into food. Now he’s transforming the waste from his mushroom farm into livestock feed — and it’s gone way beyond closet size. “We’re going to produce around 12,500 pounds of […] Read more

Inspection fees levied by the Canadian Grain Commission are front and centre as Ottawa conducts a review of the system that regulates grain standards.

Cut grain inspection costs to stay competitive, say Alberta farm groups

Alberta Wheat and Alberta Barley split with Prairie counterparts on Canada Grain Act review

Reading Time: 3 minutes The system that regulates grain standards needs to be modernized — and costly duplication of inspection services eliminated, say Alberta’s cereal commissions. “The Canada Grain Act hasn’t been reviewed since 1971, and from 1971 to 2021, we’ve seen significant changes on the farm,” said Alberta Wheat chair Todd Hames. “It’s an old act, so it’s […] Read more

Seeding ultra early can produce good or better yield, says Graham Collier, a PhD candidate in agronomy at the University of Alberta.

Strong wheat yields possible in ultra-early seeding system

Study finds producers in some parts of the province may be able to seed their wheat as early as mid-February

Reading Time: 6 minutes Graham Collier’s grandfather used to time his seeding by the frogs. Once the frogs started singing in the spring, he knew the ground was thawed and it was time to get out into the field. Now, Collier is working on a less esoteric but still uncommon way to time wheat seeding — based on soil […] Read more