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


John Guelly tweeted this photo during this year’s harvest with the warning: “When ur out swathing, spraying or harvesting, keep an eye out 4 patches that look brown & dead like this.” Although clubroot wasn’t the cause in this case, taking a proactive approach is critical to managing the disease, which is continuing its relentless march across the province.

The Year That Was: Clubroot continued its deadly march in 2019

The disease didn't make the headlines in 2019 but its assault on Alberta continued

The rapid spread of clubroot in the last decade will continue in the coming one if canola growers don’t start to get ahead of the disease. “The resistance is being overcome already, and some of those cases are pretty significant and serious infestations,” said Dan Orchard, agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. “In […] Read more

More than 625 square kilometres of agricultural land in Alberta were lost to residential or industrial uses between 2000 and 2012, according to the Alberta Land Institute. A new organization, the Alberta Farmland Trust, has been created to give landowners a way to keep good land in production.

New farmland trust aims to preserve good soil

Tax treatment key to saving cropland

[UPDATED: Nov. 26, 2019] A new and innovative effort to save prime Alberta cropland from being turned into another suburb or industrial site is close to becoming a reality. Grain farmer Kim Good and lawyer-rancher Stan Carscallen say the Alberta Farmland Trust should be a registered charity by early in the coming year. And they’re […] Read more


By making the right choices, Canada is readily positioned to be the breadbasket of the world.

There is a Canadian advantage when it comes to producing food

Clean air and water and productive soils give us an edge — but they must be used wisely

I was visiting my friends who are new to Canada on a rainy autumn afternoon. As often happens when we get together, the discussion weaves its way toward food and in particular the nutrient richness in Canadian food. “It is the soil, the air and the water that make such a difference,” my friend said. […] 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


Soil scientist David Lobb has criss-crossed the country to talk about soil health, but the issue isn’t getting nearly the attention it deserves, says the University of Manitoba professor.

Soil degradation the forgotten issue

Reducing tillage and summerfallow hasn’t fixed a problem that is costing farmers billions every year

Soil degradation in Canada is causing a huge economic loss — but few people are paying attention. That includes farmers, even though degraded soil is significantly reducing their yields, according to University of Manitoba soil scientist David Lobb. “Soil erosion accounts for a loss of about 10 per cent,” he said. “Farmers are only getting […] Read more

Burying a pair of cotton shorts in the soil is one way that soil enthusiasts can raise awareness about soil health.

Underwear campaign fun with a serious purpose

The goal is to promote awareness that soils are living, breathing entities — and need protection

It seems like just a fun, even silly, thing to do — bury a pair of underwear made of white cotton, and then dig them up a couple of months later to see what soil microbes have done to them. But the Soil Your Undies campaign has a very serious purpose: To show people that […] Read more


Soil testing will give you a plan for getting the biggest bang for your fertilizer buck, says provincial research scientist Doon Pauly. 

How much fertilizer do you need to apply?

Agronomy research scientist offers his tips for planning your applications this spring


Soil tests are still the best way to determine your fertilizer requirements for spring. “We can determine where we’re starting from as far as the nitrate that is present in the soil and what’s there for the plant at the start of the year,” said agronomy research scientist Doon Pauly. “Phosphorus, potassium, and salinity don’t […] Read more

The soil monoliths collection is now on display on the third floor of the Cousins Building at Lethbridge College.

This is some pretty special dirt

The unique collection of intact soil cross-sections is both a piece of history and a ‘priceless’ educational tool

A decades-old collection of ‘soil monoliths’ donated to Lethbridge College will be an invaluable tool for teaching students about soil. The 110 monoliths are vertical cross-sections about one metre long that show soil from a variety of regions in its natural state. Long been housed at Agriculture Canada’s Lethbridge research centre, the soil monoliths have […] Read more