GFM Network News


Understanding how water moves through soil is one of Willemijn Appels’ 
areas of expertise.

Working with producers top priority for irrigation research chair

Willemijn Appels wants to focus on research projects ‘that will really benefit local producers'

Calling all Alberta irrigators — Lethbridge College’s new irrigation science chair wants to know about your experiences and challenges with agricultural water management. In March, Willemijn Appels took up her new posting, which was created with a $3.1-million gift from the estate of Lloyd and Dorothy Mueller two years ago. “My job over the last […] Read more

Water levels behind the Ghost Dam, shown here during spring run-off, are being kept lower from mid-May through early July to provide flood protection.

Irrigation not forgotten in Bow River flood mitigation agreement

Keeping water levels lower behind the Ghost Dam provides capacity for 
capturing flood waters, but can mean less water is available later on

While irrigation districts are thankful that drought was considered in a recent flood mitigation agreement between the province and TransAlta, there is concern that more might be needed in order to ensure adequate water is available during dry spells. The five-year agreement will see TransAlta paid $5.5 million annually for keeping water levels at the […] Read more


AgriProfit$ offers Alberta producers benchmark data from their soil zone.

Want to know how you stack up?

The latest edition of AgriProfit$ offers performance benchmarks for both crops and livestock

The latest version of AgriProfit$ crop and forages benchmarks is now available. “These averages are calculated from the individual producer’s data collected for the 2015 growing season through the AgriProfit$ program,” said crops economist Rawlin Thangaraj. This benchmark gives a good handle on the producers’ actual costs, revenues, and margins by soil zones for different […] Read more

Young graziers need to do more with less, and cover crop cocktail mixes are a way they can do that, says grazier Graeme Finn.

Cocktail cover crops: This ain’t your grandad’s grazing system

Innovative producers, especially younger ones, are looking to cover 
crop cocktail mixes to build soil health and get more production per acre

Nearly 150 people — some from as far away as Manitoba — converged on a farm near Hardisty recently to learn more about cover crop cocktail mixes. But tour organizer Graeme Finn noticed something a little different about the crowd at the event in late August — it was mainly young farmers. “Young people can’t […] Read more


Producers can create resilience in their operations by building healthier soils, says soil health expert Nicole Masters.

Healthy soil can boost your bottom line

Soil carbon is a bit like a credit card for your plants, says New Zealand soil expert

The Canadian government says six tonnes a hectare is an acceptable level of soil loss each year. Well, that’s not acceptable to soil health expert Nicole Masters. “Soil is our greatest export,” said Masters, director of Integrity Soils in New Zealand. “We took out a lot of our soil resources when agriculture really intensified. You […] Read more

Karin Lindquist

Get to know your pasture, says forage and beef expert

Identify all the species, consider what works or can be utilized, encourage biodiversity, 
and keep litter at optimal levels

When you manage your plants properly, you’ll have healthier soil and animals. This was the main message from provincial forage and beef specialist Karin Lindquist for attendees at the recent Grazing School for Women. “To manage your plants, you need to know what plants you have,” said Lindquist. So get a good camera and some […] Read more


Keep score when it comes to your soil health

The Visual Soil Assessment scorecard can help producers identify whether their soils are degrading

An upcoming Foothills Forage and Grazing workshop on June 24 will feature a soil health expert from Down Under talking about what’s going on down underground. “The workshop is an introduction to the role of soil health and microbiology in building forage quality and pasture quality,” said Nicole Masters, director of Integrity Soils in New Zealand. […] Read more

The demonstration canal system at Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre.

Irrigation technology centre has a wide range of research

Whether it’s research on potatoes, sugar beets, infrared sensors or nozzles, the goal is to get more crop per drop

Just outside of Lethbridge, where ideal location, expertise and cutting-edge technology meet, we find the Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre (AITC). The centre was established in 2000 as a partnership between Alberta’s irrigation industry and the provincial and federal Agriculture Departments. “The main focus of the centre is to support improved water conservation, efficiency, and productivity […] Read more


Saline seeps don’t have to be as serious as this eight-acre one in southern Alberta 
to cause major yield losses, says agronomist Jack Payne.

Wet-dry cycle drives up salinity and cuts yields

Invisible soil salinity affects 22 million acres on the Prairies, cutting yields by a quarter

Another dry spring could leave producers feeling salty over increased salinity in their soil. “This year and part of last year, we’ve started to see more salinity showing up,” said Jack Payne, western Prairies regional agronomist with Farmers Edge. “Saline seeps tend to form more readily after we’ve had a series of wet years followed […] Read more

Investment in irrigation infrastructure, like Bassano Dam Spillway,
has generated huge economic returns.

Economic study shows irrigation pays big dividends

Irrigation adds about $3.6 billion to the provincial economy each year and has the potential to do even more

In these tough economic times, irrigation is a good news story. Irrigation in Alberta is attracting businesses, creating jobs, generating revenue for governments, and bolstering the economy. How do we know this? The Alberta Irrigation Projects Association commissioned a study to look at exactly that. While people in the irrigation industry understand the benefits and […] Read more