GFM Network News


If you seed 20 plants per square foot, an average of 10 will emerge, says the Canola Council of Canada — a number that provides insurance in case frost, pests, and disease kill off a few more seedlings. But if conditions are good, 
you could lower your seeding rate.

Dealing with the canola crisis on your farm

Controlling costs, marketing plans, and finances should all be on your radar

Reading Time: 5 minutes No one can predict what China will do next when it comes to Canadian canola. There are certain things that you can do on your farm, but producers face some tough decisions when it comes to deciding what to spend on inputs, when to pull the trigger on sales, and whether to take a large […] 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

Reading Time: 4 minutes 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


Canola is currently being used to backfill other plant oils. Buyers in China are still in need of oil, but are looking for other varieties to meet their demand.

To store or sell canola? That is the question

As grain companies try to boost sales in other countries, growers ponder long-term storage

Reading Time: 4 minutes China’s ban on Canadian canola means that farmers have to take different strategies this year. Some are planning to store their canola on farm, while others are planning to sell. “Anything that has been ordered already, companies are honouring those canola contracts,” said Wade Sobkowich, executive director of the Western Grain Elevator Association. “They’re pencilling […] Read more

Richardson International, which spent $140 million to expand its port terminal in North Vancouver in 2016, had its registration to ship canola to China cancelled on March 1 — a move that sent shock waves through the entire canola sector.

Growers fear a China crisis over canola

Farmers are worried but quiet diplomacy is the best option, says Alberta Canola official

Reading Time: 3 minutes Wait and hope. And test. That’s about all Alberta canola growers can do as what appears to be political gamesmanship by China plays out. News that Canada’s biggest buyer of the oilseed had cancelled Richardson International’s registration to ship canola prompted worried producers to call the Alberta Canola Producers Commission. “At first it was kind of […] Read more


This plant was found in 2017 in a trial plot of a resistant variety that Scott Keller was growing. It turns out that bags of resistant varieties aren’t pure — and so a percentage could be a non-resistant variety, said Keller. “So even resistant canola seed can help spread clubroot!” he said in an email. Still, experts and agronomists urge producers to seed resistant varieties — something Keller and Alberta Canola chair John Guelly say isn’t happening often enough.

In denial? Farmers ‘failing’ in battle against clubroot

Scott Keller has crunched acreage numbers and found tight rotations and susceptible varieties are commonplace

Reading Time: 6 minutes For the last three years, Scott Keller has been crunching acreage numbers from the provincial crop insurer — and he’s not liking what he sees. “To me, everything the researchers and the Canola Council (of Canada) is saying that farmers should do; they’re not even doing anything outside of just adopting the resistant varieties,” said […] Read more

Canola performance results available

Reading Time: < 1 minute The results from the 2018 Canola Performance Trials are now available. Data from small-plot and field-scale trials can be downloaded in a booklet format. The booklet has yield, height, lodging, days to maturity, and calculated gross revenue values for 29 varieties grown in short-, mid- and long-season zone locations all across Western Canada. It features […] Read more


Some farmers are seeing a reduction in the green seed count in stored canola, others are seeing ‘dry’ canola spoil because of green seed.

Green seed canola a big issue for producers this year

Know what you’ve got, watch for spoilage, and make calls to potential buyers of lower grades, says crop specialist

Reading Time: 2 minutes Canola samples have highly variable levels of distinctly green seed this year, says a provincial crops analyst. “Some farmers have reported that there has been a reduction in the green seed count during storage and others have said that it has not changed since harvest,” said Neil Blue. But many producers, particularly in the northern […] Read more

This 2008 Canola Council of Canada video recommended producers “start at the top and work your way down to the root” when scouting for diseases. That meant clubroot — now the biggest threat to producers’ biggest money-maker — was discussed last (behind much less worrisome diseases such as alternaria and aster yellows). Agronomist Dan Orchard, shown here discussing sclerotinia, found the first confirmed case of clubroot but says back then, “we weren’t that scared of it.”

When it comes to the big two crop diseases, those really were the good old days

Fifteen years ago, a ‘funny’ new disease was found — today clubroot combined with fusarium is a killer one-two punch

Reading Time: 4 minutes Fifteen years ago, Dan Orchard was working as an agronomist at a retailer when he got a phone call about something “funny” in a customer’s canola field. The plants were prematurely ripened and the roots looked strange. Orchard had a hunch of what he was looking at, but a visit with a plant pathologist confirmed […] Read more


Clubroot is scary enough but this Canola Council of Canada video on the life cycle of the disease ups the fear factor. Above, a still from the video (available at www.clubroot.ca) shows a zoospore, an amoeba-like creature released from a clubroot spore when it senses a host plant is nearby. The zoospore, powered by two whip-like flagella, can swim a short distance in water film in the soil towards a root hair. It then clamps on and penetrates the root hair and just like in the sci-fi horror classic “Alien,” begins to reproduce. 

A two-year break can prevent a clubroot horror show

Clubroot spores live for 20 years but new research says a 
surprising 99 per cent die in two years — if infestations are light

Reading Time: 4 minutes *[UPDATED: Dec. 28, 2018] Still growing a canola-wheat rotation? One more year between canola crops could make a huge difference when it comes to clubroot. “Recent research has shown that 95 to 99 per cent of spores die over a two-year break,” said Dan Orchard, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. “We were […] Read more

Learn how to get more for your grain

Reading Time: < 1 minute Making the Grade, which will be held at Olds College on Dec. 18, will see participants divided into groups and rotate through four sessions: Scott Kippen of the Canadian Grain Commission will cover wheat grading (including falling number, DON, and storage); Kevin Sich from Rahr Malting will highlight issues such as chitting and kernel plumpness […] Read more