GFM Network News


A good rule of thumb is to look for yields that are six to eight per cent above the check variety in cereals and more than 12 to 15 per cent in oilseeds, says crop specialist Harry Brook.

Crop expert offers tips for a successful hunt for new varieties

Yield gets all the attention but bigger may not be better when it comes to your farm

New crop varieties and variety tables are now available, so how do you pick ones best suited to your land? The first step is to analyze all the information in the variety tables, said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “The tables are structured with yield potential as the main criteria,” said Brook. “It takes into […] Read more

New Alberta portal offers detailed species and mapping info

Website profiles show where species are likely to be found and how they respond to human activity

Detailed information on hundreds of Alberta plant and animal species is now available online. The Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute — a global leader in biodiversity monitoring — has created the Data & Analytics Portal to provide easy access to the institute’s extensive biodiversity-related data, reports, and maps. A key part of the portal is the […] Read more


France moves toward all-out ban on neonics

Paris | Reuters — French lawmakers approved plans for a total ban on some widely used pesticides blamed for harming bees, going beyond European Union restrictions in a fierce debate that has pitched farmers and chemical firms against beekeepers and green groups. The EU limited the use of neonicotinoid chemicals, produced by companies including Bayer […] Read more

Tile drainage, long common in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, is now attracting more attention in Alberta.

Both pros and cons to tile drainage

Being able to remove excess moisture is a big plus, but there are a lot of factors to take into account

It wasn’t long ago that if you asked most Alberta producers if they used tile drainage, they likely wouldn’t know what you were talking about. A common practice in Ontario and the U.S. Midwest, it’s only in recent years that Alberta growers have warmed to this system in which subsurface tubes remove excess moisture from […] Read more


Peter Donovan (left) with Saskatchewan producer Ralph Corcoran, 
a participant in the Soil Carbon Coalition.

Soil carbon challenge coming to Alberta

The Soil Carbon Coalition Challenge is a North American-wide 
initiative founded on the premise that carbon is key to soil health


Measuring your soil carbon is the ticket to improving soil health and can usher in dramatic productivity gains. That’s the message that Peter Donovan is bringing to Alberta this month — part of the American expert’s efforts to promote the Soil Carbon Coalition Challenge, a North American-wide initiative to show how you can improve your […] Read more

Canola Council of Canada agronomist Greg Sekulic is a member of the new habitat conservation group that is working to research and spread the message about habitat conservation.

New working group gears up to get answers about habitat conservation

Maintaining habitat is also important for pollinators and parasitoids that prey on crop pests

When you cut down your shelterbelt or take out a windrow, you might not think about the effect it has on the beneficial species living on your farmland. A new working group, unofficially known as the Habitat Working Group, is gearing up to inform producers about the changes they can make to conserve habitat for […] Read more


You don’t have to limit yourself to straight lines when planting a shelterbelt, and multiple species are recommended.

Planning is key to preparing an effective shelterbelt

Specialist recommends visiting mature shelterbelts and talking to landowners

Trees and shelterbelt planting is a long-term investment that requires careful planning and design. “Ask yourself what you want to accomplish by planting trees or shelterbelts on your property,” said Toso Bozic, a provincial agroforestry/bioenergy specialist. Trees should always be managed with future generations in mind, he said. “The goals can be many — ranging […] Read more

Beekeepers bank on biodiversity in pasture lands

Canola is a great source of pollen and nectar — but only for one month of the year

As the Alberta countryside gets eaten up by field crops, pastures are becoming a “safe haven” for field crop pollinators. “Bees spend maybe a month sitting in a canola field, and in that month, they have adequate supplies of pollen and nectar from the canola,” said Adam Ovinge, a beekeeper from Granum. “The problem is […] Read more


“Currently, it is not uncommon for growers to use the same media once, twice or even three times but there are potential risks.” – Dustin Morton

Greenhouse media can be reused several times under certain conditions

In Europe, greenhouse operators are reusing growing media five or six times without raising disease levels

While reusing greenhouse media makes economic sense, disease and changes to physical properties are just two of the issues that need to be considered. “Greenhouse vegetable culture in Alberta has changed substantially over the last 30 years,” said Dustin Morton, a commercial horticulture specialist with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre in Stettler. “Currently, it is not […] Read more