GFM Network News


Rain has greatly boosted prospects in the north and central areas, but much of the south and Peace are bone dry.

Rain turns fortunes around for many, but not all

In the north and central regions, crops are looking very good, but the south and Peace are suffering

Some much-needed moisture during the month of June may have turned this year’s crop prospects around — at least in some parts of the province. “It’s been an interesting growing season so far — from a very dry May to the central areas getting quite a bit of precipitation in June,” provincial crop specialist Mark […] Read more

CFIA has done the DNA studies on GM wheat found in an Alberta ditch but is no closer to answering how it got there.

Where did GM wheat found in Alberta come from?

So far, there seems to be no logical explanation on how the GM wheat came to exist

The mystery over how seven plants of genetically modified wheat wound up growing next to an Alberta field access road will take some time to unravel. This high-tech whodunit has regulators scratching their heads to figure out how a known glyphosate-resistance gene from Monsanto got into an unknown variety of wheat hundreds of kilometres from […] 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

If you had low yields, you may be able to cut back a bit on fertilizer for 2018, but only a soil test will tell you for sure.

Balance your soil nutrient budget this fall through soil testing

Nitrogen prices have reached lows not seen in over a decade

Your soil keeps a budget for nutrients, and how much you will need next year depends on how much you took out this year. “Most of the time when it comes to assessing what soil nutrient levels might be like, typically what you can do is look at your yields,” said provincial crop specialist Mark […] Read more


Alberta cattle numbers are no longer falling — but herds are on the move

Some counties are seeing a major increase due to bigger herds, but crops are replacing cattle in other areas

While the Alberta cow herd has stopped shrinking, it has not yet rebounded. “The positive returns for the cow-calf producers over the last few years indicate the Alberta cow herd has finally stopped shrinking,” said Herman Simons, a farm business management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “In fact, the total beef cow numbers for […] 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


This map shows the total amount of precipitation that has fallen across the Prairies so far this growing season (April 1 to Aug. 27). You can see just how dry it has been this year across the southern and central Prairies. A large part of this region has seen less than 250 millimetres over this five-month period, with large parts of Saskatchewan and southwestern Alberta seeing less than 200 millimetres. The only ‘wet’ area is in northwestern Saskatchewan and 
north-central Alberta where precipitation amounts are in the 400- to 500-millimetre range.

There are extreme rains, and then the deluge caused by Harvey

Some parts of Texas received more rain in 24 hours than 
Prairie centres have seen in their wettest-ever month


As fairly quiet weather continues across the Prairies, the big weather story recently has been Hurricane Harvey, which came ashore in Texas late on Aug. 26. Harvey rapidly strengthened in the 12-hour period leading up to landfall and came ashore as a borderline Category 4 hurricane, with top winds of 210 kilometres per hour. It wasn’t […] Read more

This pea field near Three Hills was devastated by root rot in 2014, 
but pea growers saw fewer disease problems in 2015.

Root rot pathogen lying in wait

Aphanomyces can persist for a decade in soil and are just waiting for another wet year

Syama Chatterton had a hunch that pea root rots would be less of a problem in a dry year. And sometimes, she said, “it’s nice to be right.” “Root rot severity was definitely lower in 2015 compared to what we had seen in 2013 and 2014, which were very wet years,” the federal research scientist […] Read more