GFM Network News


Albertans come up big at 4-H science fair

A trio of Albertans were winners at the annual 4-H Canada Science Fair. There were 18 4-H’ers presenting 14 innovative projects, ranging from analyzing the growth of microgreens to a look into a cost-effective manner of extracting chitin and chitosan from lobsters. Five projects were chosen as winners, including two from Alberta — an experiment […] Read more

Understanding how plants search out nutrients, and react to weeds and pests could have a huge impact on farming in the coming decades, says biologist JC Cahill.

Listen to your crops — the plants are talking to each other

They’re also ‘foraging’ for nutrients, deciding where to put their roots, and calling for help when under attack

You might think it’s crazy — but plants talk to each other and act in ways that are similar to animals and humans. “Step away from the idea of plants as factories and start to think of plants as individuals,” biological sciences professor JC Cahill told attendees at the Western Canadian Soil Health and Grazing […] Read more


Using your smartphone is now an option for reporting poaching or suspicious incidents.

You can now report poachers online

The 1-800 Report A Poacher hotline is the best option when immediate action is needed

You can now report suspicious hunting or fishing activity online. Until now, the only way to report poaching activity, dangerous wildlife or public land abuse was to phone the Report A Poacher hotline. There is now a Report A Poacher website to fill out a form and submit it online. The report goes to fish […] Read more

If you had low yields, you may be able to cut back a bit on fertilizer for 2018, but only a soil test will tell you for sure.

Balance your soil nutrient budget this fall through soil testing

Nitrogen prices have reached lows not seen in over a decade

Your soil keeps a budget for nutrients, and how much you will need next year depends on how much you took out this year. “Most of the time when it comes to assessing what soil nutrient levels might be like, typically what you can do is look at your yields,” said provincial crop specialist Mark […] Read more


Time to get the dead wood out

The annual elm-pruning ban is over until March 31, so it’s time to remove dead wood that can attract elm bark beetles, says the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease (STOPDED). The beetles breed and overwinter in dead and dying elms but trees can’t be pruned between April 1 and Sept. 30 because the pests […] Read more

There may be slim pickins in the pasture

Water-stressed forages have more fibre and less protein, and that can reduce 
feed intake and body conditioning

A hot, dry summer hastened the maturity and dormancy of native and improved pastures in many parts of the province, reducing both quality and digestibility of forages. “Plants do not grow as tall as normal in dry conditions,” said beef and forage specialist Barry Yaremcio. “Fibre levels increase faster and overall energy content of the […] Read more


Perennial sow-thistle.

Perennial sow thistle costs farmers across Alberta

Noxious Weeds: Perennial sow thistle causes yield loss and acts as a host for pests

Often found in high densities across Alberta, perennial sow thistle seems to be a noxious weed that doesn’t quit. Not only does this pest cause significant yield loss in many crops, but it’s a host for several plant pests that attack economically important crops such as alfalfa, winter wheat and canola — just to name […] Read more

‘Public trust’ conference aims to find ways to win back consumers

The popularity of campaigns attacking conventional agriculture shows that the industry needs to do more, says organizer

Public trust is eroding in Canada, and farmers — along with others in the value chain — need to fight back, says the head of a new ag organization aimed at winning back confused consumers. “The whole industry needs to know a whole bunch more about consumers,” said Kim McConnell, an Okotoks-based marketing expert and […] 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

How to build a soil-health bank account

This organic production technique offers a big-picture view of nutrient management — 
and a ‘tough love’ approach to soil fertility

Soil is a little like a bank account for nutrients — in order to manage them properly, you need to balance the budget. “No matter how big the bank account is, if you only take stuff out, eventually it runs out,” said University of Manitoba research technician Joanne Thiessen Martens. “We need to look at […] Read more