GFM Network News



Mark Cutts

Interest in soil health is growing, but testing still lags

It’s only a minority of producers who are soil sampling and that mystifies a provincial crop specialist

Reading Time: < 1 minute Some producers may be looking at soil health a little differently, but there are still not a lot of them taking soil samples, says a provincial crop specialist. “Soil sampling gives you an evaluation of the nutrient levels in your soil,” said Mark Cutts of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s Stettler office. “If you know that[...]
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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

Reading Time: 3 minutes 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[...]
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Photo: Alberta Agriculture

Eight things to look for in your soil test report

When you understand your soil reports, you’re in a better position to develop fertilizer plans with your agronomist. All soil testing labs report the same basic information, but each lab has its own unique format. No matter what your report looks like, first, check the information at the top: your name, address, field name, etc.[...]
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This 2009 photo of alfalfa plots highlights the long-term consequences of neglecting soil phosphorus. The alfalfa in the front of the photo received composted beef cattle manure after years of receiving no phosphorus. The alfalfa at the back of the plot did not receive any additional phosphorus and has suffered dramatically. (Martin Entz photo)

Minogue: Rebalance your fields’ phosphorus bank accounts

While your crop rotations and your seeding practices have evolved into something your grandfather might not recognize, recommended phosphorous guidelines for Manitoba farmers haven’t changed in more than 20 years. Over the past year, Manitoba soil fertility experts came together to fill this gap. John Heard (Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development), Cindy Grant (Agriculture[...]
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