GFM Network News


If you’re growing non-resistant canola varieties, you could wake up one day to find ‘astronomical’ levels of clubroot spores, says agronomist Dan Orchard.

Imagine you couldn’t grow canola, warns farm leader

Clubroot’s arrival in the Peace isn’t a shocker, but it’s another sign 
farmers are flirting with disaster, say canola experts

In the war between canola producers and clubroot, clubroot is winning. “The clubroot-infested area is spreading at roughly about 30 kilometres a year, and we’re only managing it at 20 kilometres a year,” said Dan Orchard, agronomy specialist for the Canola Council of Canada. “We got an appreciation this year for just how fast it […] Read more

Roger, son Caleb, and Bonita Bott pose in front of their field of sunflowers in Clearwater County.

Venture into sunflowers proves profitable

The Botts were told that sunflowers weren’t suitable 
for their farm, but that didn’t stop them

When someone told Roger Bott, he couldn’t grow sunflowers in his part of Alberta, he was determined to try. Eight years on, Bott and wife Bonita — and a lot of residents of Clearwater County — are glad they did. “People are also really enjoying looking at the sunflowers when they’re on the highway,” said […] Read more


Manitoba organic farmer Jeremiah Evans is impressed with the weed control he’s getting with a new U.K.-made in-row cultivator.

The British are coming! And taking precision tillage to a new level

U.K. machine is pricey, but organic grain grower says it will easily pay for itself

Jeremiah Evans has a new high-tech hand helping him control weeds on his organic farm. Last fall, Evans took delivery of a custom-built U.K.-manufactured Robocrop InRow Weeder, which uses cutting-edge video image analysis to identify and target weeds, leaving the crop behind. After seeing what the cultivator could do to his wild oats, thistle and […] Read more

This photo shows the plant’s reproductive tissue reverting to vegetative. The buds begin to form, but turn into leaf or stem material.

It’s a bit creepy, but ‘mystery syndrome’ is no cause for alarm

Buds on canola plants are doing things they shouldn’t — like turning into leaves or stems

If you’re seeing weird things in your canola — like buds turning into stems or leaves — don’t be alarmed. But what’s causing this “mystery syndrome” has Alberta experts scratching their heads. “You’ve got something that should be forming a pod, and it turns into a weirdly shaped leaf or a piece of stem or […] Read more


Tight rotations may not harm canola yields — but soil health suffers

A long-term study on diversity in rotations produced some surprises, but the benefits were also clear


Brian Beres wasn’t surprised to find more diverse rotations increase cereal grain yields, improve soil health, and increase microbial biomass. What surprised him was how canola fared under tight rotations. Quite well, as a matter of fact. “It was surprising to see that canola didn’t respond to diversity if you looked at crop response variables […] Read more

No hill of beans: fababean acreage soars, soybeans may be next

Faba bean acreage has increased tenfold in two years and could 
double again next year, with soybeans following suit

Every farmer knows a four-year crop rotation is best for good crops, healthy fields and managing pests. However, the four-year ideal often clashes with production reality: canola has been the big money-maker, and while legumes are good for nitrogen fixing, they usually pay less and can present big challenges with disease, standability and harvestability compared […] Read more


“You’re probably never going to have a season where you won’t see any of these soil-borne fungi causing problems.” Michael Harding

Root rot risk on the rise

Root rot symptoms are often confused with other crop problems, 
so early detection and accurate diagnosis is critical

Early-season root rots could be on the rise in areas of the province that had a cool, wet start to seeding. “In the past few years, we’ve seen a lot of root disease issues, and I would say they’re primarily driven by environment,” said Michael Harding, research scientist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “These […] Read more