GFM Network News


A flag is planted at each corner of each treatment in the Plot2Farm program so results can be accurately measured.

On-farm research: Making it pay can be a tricky proposition

Plot2Farm project aims to show that a formal research protocol, and agronomic support, delivers results

Farmers are no strangers to on-farm research, but a new program aims to make these field-scale trials easier — and more profitable. “I think it boils down to dollars and cents,” said Gordon Ellis, a farmer from the Olds area who participated in the Plot2Farm program this year. “Everybody farms to make a living and […] Read more

The test plot on the left was sprayed with Carfentrazone at noon, while the side on the right was sprayed at dawn.

Research you can use on your farm this summer

Here are three examples of research that can save time, money, and headaches

Agriculture research can offer as much as a tenfold return on investment — but it doesn’t do farmers a whole lot of good gathering dust on a shelf somewhere. “I think that’s something we actually fail at in our current delivery system of research and extension,” said Ken Coles, general manager of Alberta-based Farming Smarter. […] Read more


The biggest issue at North Peace Applied Research Association’s field tour last August was “the ferocious mosquitoes.” This year is an entirely different story.

It’s a whole new ball game for research associations this spring

Pandemic isn’t having a big impact on field trials but crop walks are very much up in the air

Field trials will go ahead — but showing them off to farmers will all depend, say the province’s research organizations. “There’s been a backing off of group activities,” said Allan Hall, executive director of the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta, the umbrella group for six research and two forage associations. “In terms of […] Read more

A new research chair at the University of Alberta will take a whole-farm 
approach on boosting yields and crop quality.

New cropping systems research chair to focus on the big picture

U of A scientist will focus on interactions between plants, soils, management, and environment

Western Grains Research Foundation is putting up $3 million for a research chair in cropping systems at the University of Alberta to study interactions between plants, soils, crop management, and the environment. The position will allow a dedicated scientist to work on farm-level management systems such as interdisciplinary considerations of crop, water and input use […] Read more


Using a sweep net is a standard method for determining the level of a pest infestation, 
but federal researcher Haley Catton, shown here, wants to give farmers a better way to gauge the level of beneficial insects and whether it makes sense to spray.

If this is the future, it can’t come soon enough

Unless you love writing cheques for inputs, you’ll want to cheer on the work of these three scientists

Grow more with less — that’s the goal of three Alberta researchers whose work could revolutionize the way we grow cereals. “Canadian agriculture will be facing quite high demand for food production because of the growing global population and reduction in arable land,” said federal research biologist Alicja Ziemienowicz. “We’re trying to give you the […] Read more

One of the pulse research projects will look at yield loss in peas caused by root rot.

Crop Commissions fund pulse, canola research

Pulse and canola research is getting a boost from Alberta. Alberta Pulse Growers is putting $2.4 million into Pulse Science Cluster projects, a collaborative effort of the three Prairie commissions, their Ontario counterpart, and Pulse Canada. Among the projects are disease resistance in early-maturing bean lines for Alberta; genetically improved field pea varieties and germplasm; […] Read more


Small-plot trials are designed to account for different variables, but producers put more trust in field-scale testing. Researchers are now developing protocols for conducting field-scale trials to see if they bear out the results from small-plot studies.

Scaling up: How to take small-size research from plot to field

Many farmers are skeptical of small-plot research results, 
but proper protocols are needed to scale up to a field level

Farmers are making some pretty big decisions off test strips — and that scares JP Pettyjohn. “We could flip a coin and pretty much come up with the same answer,” said Pettyjohn, a crop technology instructor at Lakeland College. “I don’t want an answer. I want the right answer.” Small-plot trials have been widely used […] Read more

Nano-biosensors have proven effective in detecting sclerotinia in the lab, says researcher Susie Li. The next step is seeing how well the $10 devices work in a field.

Canola may soon be able to text  you when it needs to be sprayed

Nano-biosensors are more accurate than checklists at determining when to spray for sclerotinia

An Alberta researcher has found a tiny way to solve a big problem for canola farmers — using nano-biosensors to detect sclerotinia stem rot in the field, eliminating the need for visual scouting. “Sclerotinia stem rot is one of the most devastating diseases in canola farming, and scientists have worked very hard to try and […] Read more


DuPont Pioneer expands Saskatoon research facility

DuPont Pioneer announced the expansion of its Saskatoon multi-crop research facility at an open house on Friday. The expanded facility will house breeding programs for canola, soybean and “ultra-early maturity” corn. “DuPont Pioneer is focused on developing early-maturing products, and high-yielding products for Canadian farmers,” said Bryce Eger, president of DuPont Pioneer Canada. DuPont Pioneer […] Read more

The North Peace Applied Research Association’s annual field day in July attracted producers from all across the North Peace and others interested in seeing its cocktail cover crop trials.

Cover crops come with a long list of benefits

Restoring tired soils isn’t a quick process, but cover crop 
proponents say it’s well worth the effort

Are you looking to improve soil nitrogen? Prevent soil erosion? Reduce soil compaction, improve water infiltration, and even suppress weeds? Cover crops have got you covered. And as understanding of their benefits spreads, interest is growing. “I think producers are realizing the cost of inputs is getting very, very high and the soil has become […] Read more