GFM Network News


Soybean cyst nematode confirmed in Manitoba

A damaging soybean pest that was expected to show up sooner or later in agricultural Manitoba has officially arrived. Crop surveys by University of Manitoba Ph.D. student Nazanin Ghavami with soil science professor Mario Tenuta and his students have turned up soybean cyst nematode at “extremely low” levels on soybean plant roots in one field […] Read more

Ward Middleton, an organic grain and oilseed farmer from Morinville, was one of the farmers who joined the participatory plant-breeding trials, selecting wheat grown on his farm for breeding.

Hands-on plant breeding: Farmers help select new plant lines

Since 2011, organic farmers from across Canada have been making their own breeding selections

You might call it DIY cereal breeding. Since 2011, plant-breeding researchers have collaborated with organic farmers in a breeding program in which the producers select lines from trials on their own farms. Normally, a breeder goes through a plot, and selects the best spikes, heads or plants according to their breeding goals. “The participatory plant-breeding […] Read more


Nitya Khanal is one of a new crop of researchers working on developing new forage varieties.

Forage research programs boosted by new hires

Peace Region scientist Nitya Khanal says there’s lots of catching up to do, 
but there are big payoffs for producers

After many years of decline, forage research is on the upswing. And that will produce a payoff for livestock producers, said forage researcher Nitya Khanal, who was hired in 2015 at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s research station in Beaverlodge. “As of last year, we are revising this program and we are looking forward to recovering […] Read more

Kim McConnell.

Passion for agriculture earns Kim McConnell the Order of Canada

‘Farm boy’ says earning the country’s highest 
civilian honour is ‘a win for agriculture’

If Kim McConnell had his way, he’d take all of the agricultural industry with him when he receives his Order of Canada at Rideau Hall. It’s an honour for him, but also an honour for all of agriculture. “About a month ago, I got a call and they told me this was going to happen […] Read more


Using open-path lasers (pictured), federal research scientist Sean McGinn found between 50 to 60 per cent of nitrogen 
in a feedlot is lost to the atmosphere as ammonia.

Half of nitrogen from feedlots is lost to ammonia emission

Mitigating emissions from feedlots isn’t easy, but there are ‘simple’ steps 
to reduce nitrogen losses and save money


Feedlots have come a long way in reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. But a new federal research study has found that nitrogen losses in feedlots are still significant — and can significantly affect the bottom line. “We’re losing about 50 per cent of the nitrogen to ammonia loss in a feedlot, and […] Read more

How to build a soil-health bank account

This organic production technique offers a big-picture view of nutrient management — 
and a ‘tough love’ approach to soil fertility

Soil is a little like a bank account for nutrients — in order to manage them properly, you need to balance the budget. “No matter how big the bank account is, if you only take stuff out, eventually it runs out,” said University of Manitoba research technician Joanne Thiessen Martens. “We need to look at […] Read more


These animals will weigh less at the end of their journey. But how much weight they lose will depend on how they were treated.

You need to think about shrink long before the transport truck arrives

Training your cattle to stay calm and properly preparing them for the stress of transport pays big dividends

Practising low-stress handling techniques has its benefits — it may actually help reduce shrink during transportation. “It’s about how we set animals up to interact with humans — any time you interact with them you’re training them how to respond and what to expect from humans,” said Christy Goldhawk who did her doctorate work on […] Read more

‘Change’ is the watchword in a warming world, says researcher

Longer summers and milder winters sound nice, but even the pluses come with some negatives

How will the Canadian cattle industry fare if global temperatures continue to rise? Count a reduced feed demand, a longer grazing season, and higher forage production among the benefits — but also expect more extreme weather, pests, and transport headaches, according to University of Manitoba research scientist Kim Ominski. “We know the future of our […] Read more


Breanne Tidemann is looking at an area — alternative weed management — that could be a lifesaver as herbicide resistance continues its relentless march.

They’ve got your back — meet four new Alberta researchers

Ag Canada’s newest researchers are working on issues that hurting or holding back producers today — or will in the future


Agriculture and Agri-food Canada hired four new scientists in Alberta this past spring. Here’s a quick introduction to the newest additions to the research community: Nitynanda (Nitya) Khanal Integrated forage crops management, Beaverlodge The forage research position at Beaverlodge had been vacant for years following a retirement. But not any more — although it was […] Read more

The ‘good’ fat that makes up a large part of canola and high-oleic canola oil can help reduce belly fat and decrease blood pressure.

Canola oil can help trim inches off the waist

Researchers found a significant decrease of belly fat in a clinical trial 
of obese subjects who included canola oil in their diets

Canola oil can help reduce belly fat, a new study has found. About 20 per cent of adults in Canada have metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions — including belly fat — that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Researchers at the University of Manitoba, Laval University, and Penn State University tested […] Read more