GFM Network News


Pivots that used to sink into the soil on Brendon Rockey’s farm was one of the signs that something was wrong with the soil structure, 
the Colorado potato grower told attendees at the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing.

Cooking up a successful recipe for improved soil health

Brendon Rockey’s farm is far different than most, but his winning formula has lessons for other growers

In some ways, soil health conferences are like recipe swaps — with attendees always on the lookout for a mix of ingredients that will produce better results. One of those recipes presented at the sold-out Western Canada Conference on Soil Health & Grazing last month came from a Colorado potato grower who farms in high-elevation, near-desert conditions and no […] Read more

Your roots, my roots and your urban neighbours’ roots are firmly grounded in soil. Our future is under our feet.

Preserving highly productive soil is critical for tomorrow

In my hometown, across the province and around the world, top-quality soil is being lost to development

My hometown is Stony Plain. It is a great town, progressive, beautiful and welcoming: A place that honours the past and has no fear of the future. I love to go back to visit with my family and friends. I can stand in one spot for hours and simply talk to folks as they pass […] Read more


Willing to share a little dirt? Samples wanted

Farming Smarter needs 10 more farms in southern Alberta willing to share a little dirt for the Alberta Soil Health Benchmark Monitoring Project. The project will document soil health indicators at 200 locations in Alberta. Twenty fields were sampled in early summer and another 20 will be sampled this fall. The fields will be re-sampled […] Read more

Dwayne Beck is a frequent visitor to Alberta and while he has seen some progress over the years, the soil health guru says the province’s farmers face a looming disaster if they don’t change their approach.

Stop fighting Mother Nature — because you’re going to lose

Most farmers in Alberta still love tractors more than biology and are heading for big trouble, says Dwayne Beck

Like a voice crying in the wilderness, Dwayne Beck has been beating the drum of soil defence as the foundation for a healthier farming system for decades. To some, the longtime research manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm is a wise prophet and caretaker. For others, his message is radical and uncomfortable — something […] Read more


“Tillage, like smoking, is a terminal bad habit. The more we do, the worse the outcome,” says Don Lobb, a longtime leader in the no-till and soil health movements.

Canada’s soil is in crisis — and change is needed, says advocate

Agronomy has ‘masked’ soil degradation, but the crunch is coming

The biggest crisis facing Canadian agriculture is right beneath our feet. “For the first time in history, we have the technology and tools to produce food in a sustainable way, yet farmers and their influencers cling to old ways and values,” said Don Lobb, an Ontario farmer and a longtime leader in the no-till and […] Read more

Four ways to increase your organic matter

A question that I hear a lot is, “How do cover crops fit into a grain operation?” Lots of grain farmers have no desire to get into the livestock business and no interest in producing hay. But many have some soil issues that need to be addressed. This can be done by buying more iron[...]
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Canada’s soils still degrading, albeit more slowly

The rate of degradation of soils in Canada has slowed, but it still is happening at a significant rate and there is still a lot to learn. There are no soil-perfect systems yet for crop production, attendees at the Summit on Canadian Soil Health held recently in Guelph heard repeatedly. No-till farming has declined in[...]
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OMAFRA seen needing a soil health ‘tuneup’

Ontario’s environmental commissioner is calling on the provincial ag ministry to rebuild its soil health expertise and find ways to encourage farmers to adopt soil-friendly production practices, to deal with what she calls a “catastrophic” loss in soil organic matter levels. The report recommends better soil carbon level monitoring and 10-year programs to financially encourage[...]
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Soil health sensor project largest in North America

A new $2-million soil health research project aims to figure out the impact of different cropping systems on the environment. Research will also be conducted on crop productivity relating to soil health. The result should be new knowledge on productivity of traditional cropping systems versus those with cover crops. The project, at the new Soil[...]
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Six limiting factors in your soil that will make or break your operation

Without these six key ingredients, your soil — and your farm — could be in trouble

Farms and grazing operations — organic or otherwise — are only as good as their worst resource, according to Oregon-based grazier Abe Collins. “Soil is our primary infrastructure on the farm,” said Collins, who spoke at the recent Organic Alberta conference. “Biologically, chemically, and physically, you need to be looking at the limiting factors in[...]
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