GFM Network News


An apt symbol of rural internet? An internet tower perched on an old wooden grain elevator in Onoway, Alta.

Pandemic pushes rural internet speeds to the breaking point

Notoriously slow already, rural internet has struggled with increased demand during the pandemic — and that isn’t likely to change any time soon

The internet on Monika Benoit’s northern Alberta farm was bad enough before the pandemic. Now it’s almost “non-existent.” “We sigh a lot,” said Benoit, who farms with husband Mike near High Prairie. “Even when there’s not a pandemic, we have internet issues. But with the isolation and social distancing protocols we’re supposed to be following, […] Read more

The Spornado can tell if a spore pathogen is present but you still have to figure out if it’s worth applying fungicide.

Spornado causes a whirlwind of new research

There’s an affordable way to detect fusarium or sclerotinia spores — but it’s not one-and-done technology

A device that helps alert growers to the presence of airborne pathogens has been popping up in some Alberta cereal and canola fields in the last couple of years. But while Spornado — and in-crop spore detection in general — is promoted as a tool to take the guesswork out of fungicide application decisions, this […] Read more


Sure, drones draw a crowd, but like other farm tools today, they need to earn their keep by generating usable data that actually increases profits.

The farm data overload needs a fix

Ag tech event shows future of farming is data driven — but 'we're not there yet'

Jay Bruggencate has a bit of a bone to pick with the ag-tech industry. “We’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into smart equipment that knows what it’s doing but can’t talk to each other,” said the Lacombe-area farmer at the recent AgSmart event at Olds College. “There’s so much data now available to us […] Read more

A new consortium has been given nearly $50 million in federal funding to find ways to bring cutting-edge technology to Canadian farms. Among the tech being focused on is self-driving equipment (pictured is DOT Technology’s autonomous platform), robotics, artificial intelligence, data analytic, hyperspectral imaging, traceability systems, and “smart farms.”

Feds back $108-million push to automate farming

A consortium of groups, including three from Alberta, want to usher in a new era of advanced ag technology

It may not seem a priority given the weather and trade challenges farmers are facing — but now is the time to launch a new era of smart farms, AI, and robotics, say backers of a new $108-million tech fund. Ottawa is giving $49.5 million to the Canadian Agri-Food Automation and Intelligence Network (CAAIN), and […] Read more


The DOT Autonomous Power Platform will be making its Alberta debut at Olds College AgSmart event on Aug. 13-14.

Event offers chance to get up close to leading-edge ag tech

Olds College offering hands-on demos and displays of the ‘latest and greatest’ in advanced technology

Ag technology is advancing faster than ever before — but farmers still aren’t always sure how to make these innovations work on their own operations. “Technology is such a huge component of agriculture going into the future. It’s making agriculture more sustainable, more productive and more profitable,” said Joy Agnew, director of applied research at […] Read more

St. Paul-area farmer Lynn Dargis developed the grain-pricing app to make it easier for farmers to compare grain prices.

Alberta producer creates an ‘Expedia for grain prices’

Farmbucks compares grain prices on offer from buyers in Western Canada

Lynn Dargis was fed up trying to compare grain prices last winter. A busy farmer with a 4,400-acre grain operation, 2,000-head feedlot, and three small children, Dargis didn’t always have time to log into each grain buyer’s website to find the best prices. But she also knew she couldn’t afford to leave money on the […] Read more


Walmart cited the contamination of romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona (pictured in this file photo) with E. coli when announcing its leafy greens suppliers will soon have to participate in a blockchain system. 
The contaminated lettuce from the Yuma area sickened more than 200 consumers in three dozen states this spring, and is blamed for five deaths. It took days to trace the lettuce back to the farms that grew it.

The brave new world of blockchain

Digital traceability has suddenly been thrust into the food sector

If there was ever any doubt that agriculture would someday run headlong into the blockchain space, it was quashed on Sept. 24. That was the day Walmart announced its leafy green suppliers would be required (in a year’s time) to participate in a blockchain-driven system providing full-chain traceability of their produce. In recent years, Bitcoin […] Read more

“The manufacturers in Canada have a very strong reputation globally for providing very high-quality implements and equipment.” – Leah Olson

Canada’s short line equipment makers on the cutting edge

These smaller manufacturers exported $1.8 billion of equipment and implements last year

If you’re frustrated that the big names in equipment manufacturing aren’t rolling out autonomous systems quickly enough, you may want to look a little closer to home. “With the clock ticking on when we’ll see autonomous farming become a commercial reality, my hope is that we’ll see Canadian manufacturers lead the way there,” said Leah […] Read more


Crop Protection ‘Blue Book’ goes mobile

The Blue Book has long been popular reading in the homes of Alberta farmers — and now they can read it anywhere on their smartphones. The Crop Protection book (as it is officially known) is updated annually for previously registered products and includes newly registered pesticide products — herbicides, pesticides, seed treatments, and foliar fungicides. […] Read more

Sophisticated computer programs, GPS tracking, and matching rations to cattle’s growth stage virtually eliminates waste, says UFA, distributor of a fully automated feed system.

Fully automated feeding — the rise of the machines

Technology that handles everything from feed formulation to delivering it to cattle is becoming ubiquitous

Ken Van Raay remembers how things used to be at his 30,000-head feedlot. It required a lot more co-ordination, that’s for sure. In his previous system, Van Raay dealt with his local feed mill on the phone; spent more time on the road; managed pelleting, storage, blending and monitoring micro-ingredient levels in bins; and generally […] Read more