GFM Network News


AGI to buy into soil microbe breeding firm

Machinery maker to take minority stake in MyLand

A U.S. company ramping up a system to harvest, reproduce and restore beneficial microbes from a field’s own soils, as a way to restore peak fertility, expects to get backing soon from a Canadian farm equipment maker. Winnipeg-based Ag Growth International (AGI) said Monday it has signed a conditional letter of intent with Phoenix-based MyLand […] Read more

Not your typical harvest scene: Dill being harvested at Dale Thacker Specialty Crops.

Specialty crop farmer leverages the power of irrigation

And others will do the same as massive irrigation expansion comes online, says Dale Thacker

Reading Time: 5 minutes If you’ve ever chewed a stick of gum or used a minty toothpaste, there’s a reasonable chance the spearmint inside is from Dale Thacker’s farm. The southeastern Alberta producer has been growing specialty crops — starting with spearmint and expanding into a host of others — for more than three decades. Most depend on irrigation […] Read more

More irrigation being contemplated

More irrigation being contemplated

Reading Time: < 1 minute More irrigation could be coming to Alberta. A study will be undertaken to see if expanding irrigation in the Special Areas and the MD of Acadia is doable, the province says. The Special Areas board and municipality are working with the province and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (which put up most of the money for […] Read more

The Chin Reservoir — which is earmarked for expansion under an $815-million trilateral agreement — provides water to three irrigation districts: St. Mary, Raymond and Taber. Pictured is the Chin Reservoir where it feeds into the Stafford Reservoir.

Major expansion of Chin Reservoir being planned

The Chin will be one of two reservoir expansions in historic 200,000-acre irrigation project

Reading Time: 4 minutes Details of an $815-million irrigation expansion agreement are slowly trickling in. The Chin Reservoir is one of two off-stream reservoirs to be expanded as part of adding more than 200,000 acres to the province’s 1.7 million acres of existing irrigation, an irrigation district official said. “We’re still in the planning stages of how much we’re […] Read more

These three pictures from last summer tell a mighty tale of what irrigation can do: On the left, Jason Hale’s granddaughter Blayk stands in a forage corn crop on his Bassano-area farm on June 21; the middle photo was taken July 7; and the one on the right was taken July 21. “It’s amazing how fast this corn grows in two weeks,” Hale tweeted when posting the July 21 photo.

Irrigation mega-project takes next big step

Farmers in southeast back plan for huge expansion of Snake Lake Reservoir

Reading Time: 4 minutes Farmers in southeast Alberta have given a big thumbs up to a major chunk of a historic $815-million expansion of the province’s irrigation system. Three-quarters of the 648 producers in the Eastern Irrigation District who voted in a plebiscite last month cast ballots in favour of an irrigation allotment increase that allows a $170-million expansion […] Read more

Pictured is the Snake Lake Reservoir, about 20 kilometres southeast of Bassano, as it is today. The area outlined in red shows an expansion which will add 53,000 acre-feet to the reservoir.

No extra water required in irrigation acreage expansion, says report

Move to underground pipe and low-pressure pivots means more crop per drop

Reading Time: 2 minutes The Eastern Irrigation District’s decision to expand its irrigation acres brings up a couple of questions. Perhaps the biggest is: Where is the extra water coming from? The answer: There’s no extra water required. According to a feasibility study conducted by the province, the 34,000-acre expansion will not require any additional draw from river sources. […] Read more

Subsurface fertigation saves water and can boost yields, but with most of the research from the U.S., it’s hard to say if the systems are worth the expense in Alberta, says Lethbridge College researcher Rezvan Karimi Dehkordi.

New research digs into value of subsurface fertigation

Delivering water and nutrients straight to root zones is nice in theory, but the payoff isn’t known

Reading Time: 2 minutes Subsurface drip irrigation is gaining popularity in Alberta, and is now in use on 1,090 hectares. But while it’s more water efficient compared to surface irrigation, there are few scientific studies on subsurface fertigation (SDF) specific to Alberta crops and soil conditions. “Most of the data we have is from the U.S. on crops like […] Read more

Variable-rate irrigation holds great promise but applying the technology is complicated, says Willemijn Appels, Lethbridge College’s Mueller Applied Research Chair in Irrigation Science. Appels (second from right) is pictured with students and researchers at one of five farms where her study on variable-rate irrigation is taking place.

Precision irrigation has great potential, but it’s tricky

Understanding how moisture moves through parts of the field is one of the goals of the four-year study

Reading Time: 4 minutes Water has always been at a premium in the Irrigation Belt of southern Alberta. “Our water system is closed,” said Willemijn Appels, an irrigation scientist with Lethbridge College. “There is no more extra water that can be withdrawn for agriculture. Our water licences are already allocated. “We need to use water more wisely and make […] Read more

Replacing canals with underground pipes will cut water loss from evaporation and leakage — enough to irrigate an additional 200,000 acres in southern Alberta.

More crop per drop — irrigation gets ‘historic’ cash injection

New $815-million project will irrigate another 200,000 acres without any additional water allocation

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are a lot of big numbers behind a “historic” expansion of southern Alberta’s irrigation system, but also the smallest possible one — zero. That’s the amount of extra water that will, or rather won’t, be needed to add more than 200,000 irrigated acres that will be created by a $815-million project, officials say. “With […] Read more

(Video screengrab from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry via YouTube)

Federal fund, Alberta government back irrigation upgrades

Infrastructure Bank lends cash for system improvements

Eight irrigation districts in Alberta are set to tap into the Canada Infrastructure Bank’s new $1.5 billion pool of funding earmarked for irrigation, to receive loans worth about $407.5 million. The Alberta and federal governments on Friday announced a total investment of $815 million — including repayable CIB funds, provincial support and irrigation district contributions […] Read more