GFM Network News


A small parcel of less productive land seeded to pollinator-friendly plants drew an “amazing” number of native bees, said Rocky Mountain House producer Vance Graham, one of 38 Alberta participants in Operation Pollinator.

Alberta producers create a buzz on their farms with pollinator program

Program encourages farmers to seed an acre or two with plants that attract pollinators and build biodiversity

Vance Graham’s land is now more attractive to bees, and all he had to do was plant a few seed packets. Graham is one of 38 Alberta farmers who signed up for Operation Pollinator, a project run by Syngenta and the Soil Conservation Council of Canada. “They wanted it on an area of ground that […] Read more

Ontario, Manitoba corn crops need rain

CNS Canada — Corn development in key growing areas of Ontario and Manitoba remains highly variable as the crop nears its yield-determining phase. “The pollination stage is the critical part of the corn-growing period and I would say probably within the next three weeks we will know what yield is going to look like,” said […] Read more


All of these bugs are your friends. Clockwise from upper left are a lacewing on a canola flower, hoverflies on a flower, a ground beetle, and the alligator-like larvae of an Asian lady. 

In a bug-eat-bug world, farmers should help out their insect friends

Beneficial insects are tiny killing machines that can significantly reduce crop pests, says entomologist

Beneficial insects can be an unpaid workforce on your farm by killing pest species. And if you don’t help out the good ones, then you’re favouring those you don’t want, says an entomologist with Manitoba’s Agriculture Department. “Nature does not like a void,” said John Gavloski. “If you had no insects in a field or […] Read more

Purple prairie clover is just one in a long list of native species on Alberta’s rangelands that have 
‘co-evolved’ with native pollinators.

You want pollinators to make their home on your range

There are scores of native pollinators in Alberta — and the more you have on your rangeland, the better

There is a buzz on range- and pasture lands. And we really need to pay attention to native pollinators and the benefits that they provide, says a rangeland ecologist. “Pollinators are critical to rangelands themselves, and the plants that are there,” said Cameron Carlyle, an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, who is not […] Read more


Operation Pollinator encourages producers to set aside one or two marginal acres for pollinator habitat.

Producers encouraged to create pollinator habitat

A program that helps producers create pollinator habitat and refuges is coming to Alberta. To enrol in the Operation Pollinator program, producers agree to convert one to two acres of lower-productivity land to establish a pollinator habitat. In exchange for dedicating the land, producers receive a provision of high-quality, pollinator-friendly wildflower seed, agronomic advice, and […] Read more

The Beekeeping Cost of Production Survey looks at costs and returns to generate benchmark data and business performance indicators such as Return to Equity.

Province updating survey on beekeeping costs and returns

The four-decade-old survey is periodically updated to give producers benchmark data

The province is conducting its latest survey on the cost of production for beekeeping in Alberta. “The main purpose of the 2016 Beekeeping Cost of Production Survey is to monitor the current costs and returns of beekeeping in Alberta,” said Emmanuel Laate, senior crop economist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “We have periodically monitored the […] Read more


Luke Wonneck, agroforestry technician with the Alberta Woodlot and Extension Society, describes the newly created eco-buffer at the Edmonton Corn Maze in Parkland County.

Want to keep pollinators and beneficial species on your land? Build an eco-buffer

Edmonton Corn Maze is showcasing an eco-buffer — a community 
of trees and plants that provide a host of benefits for farms

If you build an eco-buffer, beneficial species will come. An eco-buffer is a planned community of trees, plants, and herbaceous species that provide pollinator and wildlife habitat, shelter for livestock, nutrient cycling, and groundwater recharge. A newly created eco-buffer, designed as part of an ALUS (Alternative Land Use Services) project, will soon demonstrate its value […] Read more

Award recognizes producers who help pollinators

Nominations open until August 12

Nominations are being sought for the 2016 Canadian Farmer-Rancher Pollinator Conservation Award. Individuals or families in Canada currently implementing pollinator protection measures on their farm or ranch are encouraged to apply. The award recognizes farmers and ranchers who have made significant efforts in conserving natural ecosystems, fostering additional pollinator habitat, and protecting pollinators. It is […] Read more


Don Ruzicka, shown here in an eco-buffer, has planted 100,000 trees and shrubs on his farm.

‘Eco-buffer’ boosts pasture productivity for Alberta producer

Letting nature do its job got Don Ruzicka off a treadmill of 
clearing trees, draining wetlands, and poor returns

Some people look for signs — other people just find them. For producer Don Ruzicka of Killam, the motivation behind the past three decades of land management on his farm was quite literally a sign. Before he purchased his grandparents’ farm in 1983, Ruzicka worked in the logging industry. “The first day I flew into […] Read more

Alberta is home to nearly half of the honeybee colonies in Canada.

Alberta honeybees are busy — but not well understood

Researcher says there’s a lot to learn about how honeybees could be used to further boost canola yields

Having bees around your canola field might be good for your yield, but the exact details of how and why are not known yet. That’s where people like Shelley Hoover, apiculture researcher with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Lethbridge, comes in. Hoover’s research deals with bee health, bee pollination, and the impacts bees have on […] Read more