GFM Network News


Agricultural biomass in the spotlight

Using agricultural biomass to create fuels, chemicals, and materials will be in the spotlight at an upcoming conference in Edmonton promoting innovation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while advancing the bio-industrial sector. While many of the speakers are from the energy sector, there will be several presentations with an agricultural focus. A trio of professors […] 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


Agrium buys polymer maker’s ag chem applications

Fertilizer and ag retail firm Agrium has closed a deal for an Australian polymer maker’s ag chemical business, aiming to put it to work in fertilizer and pesticide application. Calgary-based Agrium said Tuesday it has bought Starpharma Holdings’ agrochemical business for A$35 million (C$35.3 million) via Agrium’s U.S. crop input arm, Loveland Products. The deal […] Read more

Bioprocessor coming to Sarnia

Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC) has invested in California bio-based products company Origin Materials. Origin Materials will be building its first commercial-scale demonstration facility in Sarnia, Ont. by late next year. It will be using bio-based feedstocks such as crops and biomass to make new polymers, surfactants and carbon blacks, which are used as fillers and […] Read more


ChemChina clinches takeover of Syngenta

Zurich | Reuters –– ChemChina has won more than enough support from Syngenta shareholders to clinch its US$43 billion takeover of the Swiss pesticides and seeds group, the two companies said Friday. The deal, announced in February 2016, was prompted by China’s desire to use Syngenta’s portfolio of top-tier chemicals and patent-protected seeds to improve […] Read more

Gaining more efficiency in “labour, power, and machinery” is the key to bigger profits, says Saskatchewan farmer Kristjan Hebert.

Looking to cut costs and increase profits? Try the five per cent rule

Increasing yields and your sale price by five per cent while 
cutting costs by the same amount can double your profit


In the sport of baseball, the difference between superstar Derek Jeter and a squad player is simply hitting one more ball every 20 times at bat — a five per cent improvement done “over and over and over again.” Well, that’s fine for baseball, but what does five per cent look like in farming? “If […] Read more


Increased residue testing means Canadian grain is facing increased scrutiny abroad, says Canadian Grain Commission assistant chief commissioner Jim Smolik.

Watch what you spray — or the entire grain industry could pay

Grain buyers are testing pesticide residues like never before


When it comes to pesticide residues, the world is watching like never before. “Everybody is looking more at food safety and health safety — there’s more scrutiny all the time with all the chemicals that we’re using,” said Jim Smolik, assistant chief commissioner of the Canadian Grain Commission. He cited China as an example. The […] Read more

Ottawa’s new GHG goal eyes fertilizer, chem sectors

The federal government’s new target, to cut the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels in the next 15 years, will involve new regulations on fertilizer and chemical companies’ output. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the government’s new target and general plans on Friday in Winnipeg, but hasn’t yet specified […] Read more


Herbicide-resistant weeds are just the symptom

Is resistance the problem, or is it farmers’ dependence on chemistry?

For decades, the experts have treated the growing problem of herbicide-resistant weeds as something solvable by the next new chemistry or biological breakthrough. But now more are stepping back and acknowledging it as a symptom of a much bigger issue in modern agriculture. In fact, one of the world’s leading experts in managing herbicide resistance […] 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