GFM Network News

Who saw this coming? The recent 50 per cent rally in cattle prices far surpassed what most market analysts were expecting.

Talk about a yo-yo: Cattle prices jump to near-record highs

The glory days of 2015 were a distant memory last fall — and then all of a sudden prices shot up again

Reading Time: 3 minutes Alberta cattle producers are enjoying unexpectedly strong pricing this spring with both fed cattle and calf prices in Alberta rallying almost 50 per cent since last fall’s painful lows. “There’s always going to be someone who says they saw it coming. We didn’t,” said Brian Perillat, manager and senior analyst with CanFax, the Canadian Cattlemen’s[...]
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Conventional seeding may be out the window for some producers if conditions don't dry out enough to get planters in the field.

Broadcast seeding: A last-resort option may gain traction this season

It’s far from ideal, but broadcasting may be the only choice for some this seeding season

Reading Time: 3 minutes All winter, many Albertan crop producers have had the distinct displeasure of driving past acres — in some cases, the many acres — they were unable to harvest last fall. In a best-case scenario, there will be enough time to harvest any redeemable crop, manage residue, and still seed in a timely fashion. But some[...]
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If you’ve plowed down or otherwise incorporated unharvested crops, you can reduce nitrogen, says Tom Jensen of the International Plant Nutrition Institute.

It’s not business as usual when it comes to fertilizing this year

Unharvested crops mean there’s more nutrients in the soil and if you have to broadcast, there’s a chance to top up the nutrient bank

Reading Time: 3 minutes Nutrient management is a challenge even in average years — but a million unharvested acres mean this year will be far from average. Step one is determining available nutrients. In a cereal crop, the vast majority of the nitrogen, phosphorus and sulphur and about one-fifth of the potassium taken in by the plant are contained[...]
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Young mechanic fixing plow on the tractor

Lack of maintenance could bite you hard this seeding season

Breakdowns hurt even more during a narrow seeding window — here’s some advice on last-minute servicing

Reading Time: 4 minutes Efficiency is likely to be more important this seeding season than ever for many Alberta farmers. To squeeze as many acres into the tight seeding window as possible, the temptation is to jack up travel speed and many wonder if they should invest in higher-tech equipment. Those farmers will be looking in the wrong direction[...]
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An Alberta Agriculture and Forestry employee samples a creek to help determine if BMPs are improving water quality.

New tool for managing nutrient run-off

Free downloadable tool for assessing phosphorus run-off risk and creating a 
customized mitigation plan will be available this spring

Reading Time: 3 minutes As more and more farmers, politicians and laypeople are coming to understand, nutrient run-off from farm fields into waterways is a very big deal. When not managed properly, nutrients from fertilizer and manure make their way into creeks, lakes, dugouts, and other water bodies. But a new tool to help mitigate phosphorus run-off risk will[...]
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This is not what you want to see — resistant kochia was thriving in this wheat field in southern Saskatchewan in 2015.

This is not good — triple-resistant kochia has entered Alberta

Glyphosate-resistant kochia was bad but there’s a new strain that’s much worse

Reading Time: 3 minutes Kochia, one of Western Canada’s most abundant and economically devastating weed species, has won another major battle in overcoming herbicide. This summer, the first known Group 4 herbicide-resistant kochia was identified in a durum wheat field in southwestern Saskatchewan. And samples currently being tested from a farm in southern Alberta are also suspected to be[...]
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The vast majority of Canadian feedlots is doing an excellent job when it comes to animal welfare, says Dr. Joyce Van Donkersgoed, who helped create the new audit tool.

Cattle feeders get proactive with new feedlot animal welfare audit

Rather than wait and see multiple audits imposed by packers and retailers, 
the National Cattle Feeders Association developed an easy-to-use tool

Reading Time: 3 minutes Last April, the Vancouver-based Earls restaurant chain announced it would no longer source its beef from Canada, opting instead for ‘Certified Humane’ beef sourced from the United States. Though pressure from customers loyal to Canadian beef eventually forced the chain to reverse the decision, those most in the know — the feedlot associations and meat[...]
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Fababeans are still a niche crop in Alberta, but acreage has grown 
more than tenfold in the last few years.

The enticing — and sometimes scary — world of alternative crops

Crops like fababeans and hemp don’t command huge acres, 
but have been successful alternatives for Alberta producers

Reading Time: 3 minutes Farmers are nothing if not optimistic — optimistic that Mother Nature will be kind; that prices will be good; and that today’s work will pay off a month, six months, or a year down the road. But for all their hopefulness, only some are willing to stray far from tried-and-true crops. “There is always some[...]
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Rob Graff’s winter wheat research plots at the 2015 Alberta Wheat Day at AAFC’s Lethbridge Research Station drew an interested crowd, but it’s been slow going to increase acreage of the fall-seeded crop in the province.

Winter wheat not feeling the love

The crop’s backers say there’s a host of reasons to grow the 
fall-seeded crops, but admit it’s been a struggle to convince farmers

Reading Time: 3 minutes The arguments are persuasive: Winter wheat typically requires less crop inputs than its spring-seeded counterparts, yet can yield 20 per cent more and is known to bring greater — sometimes significantly greater — financial returns. The crop also reduces spring seeding time pressure, widens the fall harvest window, and offers environmental benefits. Yet, winter wheat[...]
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