GFM Network News


HarvXtra alfalfa with Roundup Ready technology is gaining ground in Eastern Canada, but there are no plans to bring it west yet.

Does genetically engineered alfalfa have a place in Alberta?

There are advantages to GE alfalfa — but for most Alberta producers, the benefits don’t outweigh the risks

Genetically engineered alfalfa is gaining traction in Ontario — but don’t expect to see it in Alberta any time soon. During its June board meeting, the Alberta Forage Industry Network reaffirmed its 2016 position that Alberta should remain GE alfalfa free. That decision was an easy one, said Strathmore-area hay grower and marketer John Bland. […] Read more

Fresh hops can fetch $8 a pound, but only have a shelf life of about 24 hours before they must be dried.

Demand is there, but jumping into hops isn’t easy

If you’re wondering if hops might be something you’d like to try, Ontario’s Ag Ministry’s website has a powerpoint primer called Local Hops: A brewing industry. Even though the presentation is barely a year old, Alberta doesn’t even make the list of hops-growing provinces. The owners of Northern Girls Hops west of Edmonton actually started […] Read more


Most of Antelope Butte Ranch is native grassland and protecting it is the top priority, Hugh Lynch-Staunton says in a new video on environmental sustainability in the cattle sector.

Video offers ranchers’ side of the environmental story

Alberta’s Kelly Hall and Hugh Lynch-Staunton are among the ranchers featured in a new video on environmental sustainability from the Beef Cattle Research Council. “What beef producers need to know about environmental footprint” offers both a cinematic look at Canadian cattle production and the sector’s response to its critics. Hall, Lynch-Staunton, and three Ontario cattle […] Read more

Baljit Singh, dean of University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine, gave Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt (l) a tour of his school last month after Schmidt surprised the province’s vet community with his decision to pull funding from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.

Veterinarian school funding decision creates controversy

School’s dean says it makes sense to consolidate in Calgary but association says it’s capping training in the midst of a 
vet shortage

The dean of the province’s vet school is defending the NDP government’s decision to consolidate veterinarian education in Alberta — but the association representing the profession says it’s short sighted. The province announced last month it will be pulling its $8 million in funding from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon to expand […] Read more


Three approaches to managing first- and second-calvers

Their methods differ, but these three ranchers are all focused on maintaining body conditioning

Because they graze year round at Deseret Ranches near Raymond, Darren Bevans manages first- and second-calvers separately from the cow herd on winter swath grazing. “Managing these groups separately allows us to provide a little bit of extra nutrition, which can make all the difference to body condition and future pregnancy rates,” said Bevans. “Really these […] Read more

Sending a replacement or first-calf heifer into winter in poor condition will cost you later on as pregnancy rates, calf weaning weights, 
and successful pregnancies will be lower.

First-calf heifers need some extra love

Keep a close eye on the conditions of these young females, that require more energy 
and nutrients than mature cows

Replacement and first-calf heifers need extra management, but producers can take different paths to get to the same destination. Beef producers like Alberta’s Darren Bevans, Tyler Fulton in Manitoba, and Murray Shaw in Ontario know replacement and first-calf heifers need some extra attention heading into winter, but that doesn’t mean over-the-top management. Bevans and Fulton […] Read more


Katie Kingdon, manager of Tamarack Jack’s, talks about the products being brewed at Alberta’s newest meadery.

Alberta’s newest meadery takes a different approach

Alberta’s newest meadery is doing things a little differently. Along with a traditional honey wine, Tamarack Jack’s Honey and Meadery also produces a variation that might tempt those who prefer a brewskie to the so-called ‘drink of the gods.’ “We are a small apiary turned into a meadery just recently,” Katie Kingdon, manager of the […] Read more

Ross McKenzie heard a lot of micronutrient claims during his lengthy career as a provincial agronomist and researcher, but the vast majority couldn’t be substantiated.

Proceed with caution when it comes to micronutrients, says agronomist

It’s not hard to spend thousands of dollars on micronutrients that aren’t needed or produce little benefit, 
says Ross McKenzie

Farmers need to put on their critical thinking caps when dealing with micronutrient claims — or risk spending lots of money for no or marginal results. There is a lot of hype surrounding supplemental micronutrients right now, said Ross McKenzie, a retired agronomy research scientist. However, not all micronutrients are created equally; some of the […] Read more


‘Public trust’ conference aims to find ways to win back consumers

The popularity of campaigns attacking conventional agriculture shows that the industry needs to do more, says organizer

Public trust is eroding in Canada, and farmers — along with others in the value chain — need to fight back, says the head of a new ag organization aimed at winning back confused consumers. “The whole industry needs to know a whole bunch more about consumers,” said Kim McConnell, an Okotoks-based marketing expert and […] Read more