GFM Network News



Understanding how plants search out nutrients, and react to weeds and pests could have a huge impact on farming in the coming decades, says biologist JC Cahill.

Listen to your crops — the plants are talking to each other

They’re also ‘foraging’ for nutrients, deciding where to put their roots, and calling for help when under attack

You might think it’s crazy — but plants talk to each other and act in ways that are similar to animals and humans. “Step away from the idea of plants as factories and start to think of plants as individuals,” biological sciences professor JC Cahill told attendees at the Western Canadian Soil Health and Grazing […] 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


Using your smartphone is now an option for reporting poaching or suspicious incidents.

You can now report poachers online

The 1-800 Report A Poacher hotline is the best option when immediate action is needed

You can now report suspicious hunting or fishing activity online. Until now, the only way to report poaching activity, dangerous wildlife or public land abuse was to phone the Report A Poacher hotline. There is now a Report A Poacher website to fill out a form and submit it online. The report goes to fish […] Read more

You can make a user-pay argument that feedlots should contribute to road maintenance costs but Lethbridge County’s head tax on cattle could prompt some feeders to move elsewhere, or even close down.

A taxing situation — study says there’s no easy fix to county’s cattle tax

The levy on feedlot cattle has some justification, a lot of drawbacks, and no trouble-free alternatives, says new study


Lethbridge County’s head tax is unfair for cattle feeders — but there’s no easy alternative. Those are the key takeaways from a new study that looked at both the impact of a per-cow tax, and how the county could raise badly needed funds for maintaining and repairing its roads. Read more: Lethbridge County ‘head tax’ ruled […] Read more


“We’ve been striving for a long time to have a directed checkoff and this does allow people to have some choice,” says Ryan Kasko.

Long-running cattle checkoff battle may be coming to an end

An agreement on an industry development fund is key to a tentative deal between Alberta Beef Producers and cattle feeders

It’s not finalized yet, but the organizations representing cattle producers and feeders say they’re close to creating a fund to advance the province’s beef sector — and ending a nearly decade-long checkoff. “The Alberta Beef Industry Development Fund is a concept that would be able to be implemented with a non-refundable service charge,” said Rich […] Read more

Seek Hawk equipment now bears the red paint and logo of its parent company.

Renamed Seed Hawk now flies the flag of parent company

Saskatchewan equipment maker Seed Hawk has been rechristened as Vaderstad Industries Inc. The company was started in the tiny community of Langbank by farmer Pat Beaujot, his brother, and two friends in 1986. They were frustrated by the lack of suitable seeding equipment for no till at that time and decided to build their own […] Read more


India’s decision to impose a 50-per-cent tax on peas surprised the Canadian pulse sector.

Out of the blue — India’s tax on peas hits growers here

India is our top customer for pulses but the pea tax and ongoing fumigation issue make for ‘a challenging situation’

India’s sudden decision to impose an immediate 50 per cent duty on pea imports has Canadian pulse officials scrambling to find answers — and figure out what comes next. “This sort of moves us beyond even where India has been before in pulse import duties… more than a decade ago we were at 10 per […] Read more

Solar watering can save stress during droughts

Long viewed as a band-aid solution for droughts, solar watering systems can help raise your grazing game

Cattle grazer Tim Hoven has a love-hate relationship with solar watering systems. “When it works great, it’s amazing. But when there’s complications, it’s extremely frustrating — just like any piece of technology,” the Eckville-area producer said in an interview last month. “Yesterday, I was literally out fighting a frozen water line that had drained the […] Read more