GFM Network News


Beware of Kazakhs wanting to buy seed, agency says

Seed growers and farmers alike are being warned such sales breach breeders' rights rules

Western Canadian seed growers, seed retailers and commercial farmers are being urged not to sell seed to Kazakhs or their agents because it breaches plant breeders’ rights rules. “The basic fact is no Canadian breeder has given permission for their genetics to go to Kazakhstan,” Lorne Hadley, executive director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency, […] Read more

Farmer and activist Percy Schmeiser, 89

Thorn in Monsanto's side also the subject of a new major film

Funeral services are to be held and livestreamed Saturday for Prairie farmer, businessman and activist Percy Schmeiser, best known for his ultimately unsuccessful court battles with the company behind Roundup Ready canola. Schmeiser, who farmed at Bruno, Sask., about 90 km east of Saskatoon, died Tuesday at age 89. According to Saskatchewan media, he had […] Read more



Beef Breeds Council becomes arm of CCA

Cattle genetics body now a division of Canadian Cattlemen's Association

The market development group representing Canada’s beef cattle seedstock sector has formally merged into the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA). The association on Friday announced the Canadian Beef Breeds Council (CBBC) has officially joined the Beef Cattle Research Council and Canfax among the divisions of the CCA. The move follows a cost-benefit review by an advisory […] Read more


Supercluster backing canola protein production

The federally-backed research and development “supercluster” set up to boost Canada’s protein industries is funding work to wring more and better proteins out of canola seed. In Saskatoon on Wednesday, federal Industry Minister Navdeep Bains announced the Protein Industries Canada (PIC) supercluster has approved a new $27.6 million project to breed high-protein canola hybrids for […] Read more

Numbers don’t lie — but can mislead if there’s not enough of them

When it comes to making decisions on the farm, the more data the better —
especially if that data comes from other farms

Did you know that there’s a direct correlation between the divorce rate in Maine and the per capita consumption of margarine in the States? It’s true. If you chart the data on a graph going back a decade or two, one line rises and falls with the other. That’s the problem with data like this […] Read more


Wheat breeder Curtis Pozniak is on a quest to figure out what makes wheat wheat.

Wheat breeders get a cheat sheet

‘Breeder chip’ doesn’t make the process faster but ups the odds of hitting pay dirt

Plant breeding is strictly a numbers game — but researchers have found a way to improve the odds with help from a new tool called a ‘breeder chip.’ “Breeding is like a lottery. The more tickets you buy, the greater the chance of success,” said Curtis Pozniak, a professor of plant sciences and wheat breeder […] Read more

Genome editing will not only revolutionize plant breeding, it will offer advances with wide public benefits such as making crops more resilient in the face of climate change, says Stacy Singer, a forage breeder and biotechnologist at the Lethbridge Research and Development Centre. Singer is shown here with sainfoin plants, a bloat-free type of alfalfa. Her colleague, Surya Acharya, bred a more hardy variety of the forage using conventional methods but the breeding process took many years.

The next frontier of plant breeding

Advocates say game-changing genome editing is completely different from genetic engineering — but will the public agree?

Farmers need to get in front of the messaging about genome editing technology — or risk seeing it suffer the same fate as GMOs in the court of public opinion. That’s the warning from the chair of Alberta Wheat’s research committee, who is one of many who fears genome editing is going to get lumped […] Read more


Canadian genetics are considered superior and allow for us to consider many paths as a global supplier of live cattle.

Single-trait selection can be too much of a good thing

Dairy and beef cattle are amazingly adaptive, 
but problems arise when we breed for just one trait

As I have travelled the world I have had the privilege of seeing many different breeds of cattle. They come in every colour and shape, from the stocky Belgium Blue to the sleek Zebu. Some cattle can be found on streets eating food waste; others are beasts of burden working fields and transporting goods; the […] Read more

Lon Carlson and Lorraine Beaudin have been testing for leptin for a decade at Carlson Cattle Company, a purebred Red Angus and Gelbvieh operation they operate with their four children. From left to right, Lon, Sidney, Conor, Alison, Kolten and Lorraine.

Does the ‘appetite gene’ make for better cattle?

A genetic mutation in cattle makes gains with a little help from its friends

Somewhat controversial in the early days of cattle genetic coding, leptin — a hormone that regulates appetite in animals and humans — is making a comeback among some cattle breeders. The difference this time is its common inclusion in a broad panel of beneficial genes tested in cattle, said Stephen Moore, a leading researcher in […] Read more