GFM Network News


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



If your soil structure is poor and has low levels of micro-organisms, you won’t be getting the full bang for your fertilizer buck, says crop and nutrient management specialist Yamily Zavala.

Soil fertility is about more than nutrients

Expert says farmers need to learn more about the physical and biological structures of the soil

Many farmers tend to focus on the chemical composition of the soil, and ignore its other two key components — and that’s a mistake, says a crop and soil nutrient management specialist. “Farmers need to understand more about the physical and biological structures of the soil to manage their cropping systems,” said Yamily Zavala of […] Read more

More is better for Gibbons-area farmer Michael Kalisvaart, who is using an AutoProbe for precision soil sampling for the first time this year.

Skipping soil tests could cost you big time

You have to know how to interpret it, but not soil sampling and using 'the usual retail blends' can be a costly mistake

Not very many hands go up when Mark Cutts asks a room full of producers how many of them test their soil every year. “I don’t think the majority is doing soil testing,” said the crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development. “If a producer is happy with his yields and he’s not soil […] Read more


Fertilizer — prepare for worst-case scenario

Post-seeding application is one option, while healthy seed and timely 
spraying can boost crop prospects

Prepare for the worst-case scenario, then things may not be as bad as you think.” That’s Ray Dowbenko’s advice for dealing with the tight fertilizer situation. The senior agronomist with Agrium thinks there may be shortages this spring, but not everywhere. “A lot will depend on your relationship with your retailer and your retailer’s relationships […] Read more