GFM Network News



(Jack Dykinga photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Prairie farm slapped with plant breeders’ rights infringement penalties

Farmers need to know who they are buying seed from to avoid potentially significant costs

Infringing on Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) has cost a large southern Alberta farm a record $737,597. “The settlement relates to unauthorized advertisements and sales of PBR-protected barley and wheat varieties,” Alliance Seed, SeCan and an unnamed seed company said in a news release Wednesday. The settlement “includes the royalties, plus legal fees and penalties,” Todd […] Read more



Soybeans. (Alfribeiro/iStock/Getty Images)

China building world’s largest seed bank

Larger facility a bid to boost food security

Beijing | Reuters — China will complete a new national crop germplasm bank this year, the agriculture minister said Wednesday, to boost the country’s capacity to develop new crop varieties and enhance food security. The bank has a designed capacity of 1.5 million copies, almost four times the existing one, and will be the world’s […] Read more


File photo of Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau speaking to media in Winnipeg in March 2019. (Dave Bedard photo)

Bibeau says government committed to federal plant breeding

Seed royalty consultations stalled

The Canadian government is committed to plant breeding, federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau told members of the Canadian Farm Writers’ Federation on Tuesday. Some farmers and seed industry officials suspect Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) variety development work, along with many other programs, will be on the chopping block post-COVID-19 as the government tackles its […] Read more

(File photo by Dave Bedard)

Farm suppliers race COVID-19 spread for planting season

Winnipeg/Chicago | Reuters — North America’s biggest farm suppliers are accelerating shipments of fertilizer, seeds and agricultural chemicals to crop-growing regions in an unprecedented race against the coronavirus that threatens to disrupt planting season. The timing could not be worse for farmers preparing to plant crops. Disruptions in deliveries of fertilizer, seeds or chemicals could […] Read more


Cargill facilities’ offices will be closed to “walk-in” traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company says. (CargillAg.ca video screengrab)

Prairie elevators’ staff aim for on-site distancing

Cargill, P+H elevators stay open but with arm's-length approach

At least two Prairie grain handling firms plan to continue taking deliveries from farmers during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic — but to make the process as touchless as possible. Cargill, in a email to customers Wednesday, said its Canadian grain elevators, crush plants and ag input retail sites will remain open for deliveries and pickups, […] Read more

Producers are urged to call their seed supplier about varieties first rather than just dropping in.

Seed supplies are strong, no delivery problems expected

But order seed by phone or online, and keep your distance during delivery

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta farmers shouldn’t face any challenges finding seed as the pandemic plays out over the next few weeks — but stick to phone calls and online orders when working with your seed supplier. “To my knowledge, there shouldn’t be a lot of problems (with seed supply),” said Kelly Chambers, executive director of Alberta Seed Growers. […] Read more


It’s not hard to guess which plot had phosphate placed in the seed row — that would be the canola on the right (which had P applied at a rate of 15 pounds per acre) while the plot on the left did not. Putting phosphate in the row is tricky when the seed is small or conditions dry.

Make sure your seed and fertilizer can get along

Side- and mid-row banding help, but watch that P in the seed row — especially in a dry spring

Reading Time: 4 minutes Fertilizer and seed are what you might call the best of frenemies. They need each other but if conditions aren’t right, one of them (in this case, the seed) is likely to get hurt. And that goes double if you’re growing a small-seed crop like canola under dry conditions. Three of the biggest concerns canola […] Read more

This photo is from the Seed Smart campaign by Alberta Seed Processors, which says farmers can profit from more extensive testing of their seed.

Putting seed to the test — it’s not just about germination

A vigour test tells you more, especially in a year like this one that follows a tough harvest

Reading Time: 4 minutes The seed you plant is ground zero for any healthy, profitable crop. So it only makes sense to know as much about it as possible before putting it in the ground. However, a lot of producers are still doing the bare minimum of seed testing, and experts say it’s causing them to miss out. Although […] Read more