GFM Network News



Rare is not a good idea, especially given the discovery by Alberta researchers of new strains of E. coli that can withstand very high temperatures.

Alberta scientists discover new heat-resistant strains of E. coli

The new strains found by U of A scientists can survive the 
temperature recommended by Health Canada for proper cooking

You might need to cook your meat at a higher temperature next time you fire up the barbecue. Scientists from the University of Alberta have found a new heat-resistant E. coli that can survive at 71 C — the level of heat advised by Health Canada for proper cooking. “We discovered that some strains of […] Read more


In 2015, late blight continues to be a risk for all potato/tomato family crops grown in Alberta.

Late blight risk on potatoes and tomatoes again this year

The disease can be carried over in infected material

Over the last few growing seasons, growers have seen signs of late blight, a serious disease that mainly affects potatoes and tomatoes. This disease is caused by an aggressive fungus that develops rapidly under wet/moist environmental conditions. Wet conditions, combined with the presence of the pathogen, has resulted in continuing outbreaks of late blight in […] Read more

Ladybugs are one example of an ‘undercover operative’ that can deal with crop pests, 
says a provincial commercial horticulture specialist.

How are biocontrol agents like James Bond?

Beneficial control agents include beneficial bacteria, fungi, nematodes and insects that feed on harmful organisms

As the public grows more concerned about chemical use, many growers struggle with how to keep their product salable while using fewer pesticides. Some growers are turning to a new kind of ‘undercover operative’ to deal with crop pests. “Biological controls or biocontrol agents attack and ‘neutralize’ or reduce pests in a cropping system and […] Read more


European corn borer larvae.

Controlling plant pests with biocontrols on your crop

Some biocontrol agents employ very 
targeted means to deter pests

Competition and antibioses are two of the ways biocontrol agents can help control plant pests. “Producers are familiar with the concept of competition, as in crowding out weeds in a field using row spacing, stand density, etc.,” said Dustin Morton, commercial horticulture specialist, at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre in Stettler. “Biocontrol agents can also be […] Read more

Lethbridge researcher Wade Abbott, along with a team of international scientists, has found that livestock gut health could be improved by feeding prebiotics, like those found in distillers grains.

Distillers grains are good for livestock gut health

The yeast in distillers grains feeds bacteria called prebiotics, 
and they may promote health and improve feed efficiency

Bingeing on baked goods and beer may actually be a boon for your belly, suggests a study recently completed by a team of international researchers. “Yeast, which has become a component of the human diet, is degraded by bacteria that live in the intestines of humans,” said Wade Abbott, a research scientist with Agriculture and […] Read more



Late blight confirmed in Alberta

Specific steps needed to prevent carryover of disease to future crops

Late blight is one of the most serious diseases of potatoes and tomatoes worldwide, resulting in significant yield and quality losses annually. In general, in Alberta, late blight occurs infrequently, but can have devastating impacts in the years when it reaches epidemic levels. “In the summer of 2013, late blight was confirmed in parts of […] Read more



“Early detection is critical for minimizing the impact of the disease and preventing further spread and significant outbreaks.” – Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist, Alberta Ag-Info Centre

Late blight a concern again this year

There were multiple outbreaks of aggressive and destructive pathogen in fields and market gardens last year

Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of concern in Alberta surrounding late blight, a serious disease that affects mainly potatoes and tomatoes. This year appears to be no different. “This disease is caused by a fungal pathogen called Phytophthora infestans,” said Robert Spencer, commercial horticulture specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info […] Read more