GFM Network News



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


Forage stands are often terminated using tillage, but producers using this approach should pay close attention to conserving spring moisture.

Converting hay land to crops in spring is challenging

Fertility, soil moisture, herbicide applications, and a substantial seeding delay must all be considered

Producers should consider a number of factors before deciding to terminate hay land to seed an annual crop. “Traditionally, forage stands have been terminated in the fall by using one of three approaches — tillage only, herbicide application combined with tillage, and herbicide application followed by direct seeding into sod,” said provincial crop specialist Mark […] 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


Red Deer County's rainfall simulator shows how much runoff and water infiltration can be expected from different management practices.

Rain, rain don’t go away: How to capture more moisture on your land

When it comes to retaining rainfall, seeing is believing — and new infiltration tool does just that

Drought is a four-letter word in Alberta right now — but also proof that it’s critical to make the most of any moisture we get. “If we’re getting the types of rain we normally get, water infiltration probably isn’t that big of a deal,” said Ken Lewis, conservation co-ordinator with Red Deer County. “But in […] Read more

Graphic from a 2010 AAFC publication by the Indian Head Shelterbelt Centre, showing how a shelterbelt can reduce wind speed for over 100 metres.

Farming every acre doesn’t pay when the wind is howling

Producers are being urged to ‘rethink’ shelterbelts and how they preserve moisture and protect soil

Alberta farmers are being urged to “rethink” shelterbelts — and soil conservation experts agree. Zero till hasn’t made shelterbelts obsolete and this year’s dry conditions have shown the value of having something to disrupt the flow of hot winds blowing over fields, said Toso Bozic, Alberta Agriculture’s agro-forestry specialist. “Planting new windbreaks needs to be […] Read more


Seed Hawk to take parent firm’s name

For Saskatchewan seeding, planting and tillage equipment maker Seed Hawk, the company name is changing but the brand remains the same. Seed Hawk, which has been 100 per cent owned by Swedish equipment manufacturer Vaderstad since 2013, has been renamed Vaderstad Industries effective Tuesday. The two companies said the name change “reflects the fuller integration […] Read more

Leaving stubble builds up carbon levels in soil, but fewer farmers have cashed carbon credit cheques since 2012 because of increased paperwork and the elimination of historical credits.

Carbon credit program ain’t what it used to be

A rising carbon tax should put more money 
in farmers’ pockets, 
but participation rates have gone down

Greenhouse gases were on the minds of many Alberta farmers a decade ago when no till offered good cash from selling carbon offset credits. Fast-forward to 2017 and things have changed. Although there is still a lot of participation in the province’s carbon credit trading and sequestration program, many believe it has become too demanding, […] Read more


Farmers who know the ropes stay with the program

It takes time and effort to fulfil the record-keeping requirements 
for the carbon trading program

It’s difficult to track exactly how many farmers participate in the province’s carbon trading program. The tonnage of carbon traded by producers has been constant in the last few years, but there’s likely been a drop-off since 2012 when the ability to claim historical carbon credits ended, said a greenhouse gas agrologist with Alberta Agriculture […] Read more

Tillage can effect your carbon payments

Tillage is expected to increase this year as producers deal with ruts caused by wet weather or installation of fire breaks. But that can have implications for producers involved in the Alberta Carbon Offset Program-Conservation Tillage Protocol. “If you till 10 per cent or more of your field, that field won’t be eligible to receive […] Read more