GFM Network News


The ability to produce new vaccines is improving by leaps and bounds, says Volker Gerdts, head of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan.

In the fast-evolving field of vaccines, Prairie lab is at the cutting edge

VIDO is known for its work in animal health, but it’s developing a COVID-19 vaccine and a production facility

Reading Time: 3 minutes At a time when the entire world has never been more focused on vaccine development, one of Canada’s leading researchers in the field had some positive words on the subject for delegates to the 2021 Banff Pork Seminar. In his presentation, Volker Gerdts pointed to the mRNA technology used to develop the first two COVID-19 […] Read more

‘Genomic atlas’ a boon for wheat breeders

Reading Time: < 1 minute An international team of nearly 100 researchers led by the University of Saskatchewan has sequenced the genomes for 15 wheat varieties. “By having many complete gene assemblies available, we can now help solve the huge puzzle that is the massive wheat pan-genome and usher in a new era for wheat discovery and breeding,” said project […] Read more


Research funding provides new barley varieties

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Canadian Barley Research Coalition is investing $2.7 million over five years in the University of Saskatchewan’s Crop Development Centre to develop barley varieties with improved agronomics, disease resistance and end-use quality. The research coalition is a collaboration between Alberta Barley and its Prairie sister organizations. The last round of funding by the coalition led […] Read more

Lab trials of a manure-derived seed treatment have usually shown increased root growth (as seen on the right) as well as better resistance to environmental stressors.

Happy accident: Researchers discover promising new seed treatment

How it works is still a mystery, but new compound boosts germination, root development, and resistance

Reading Time: 5 minutes Good things generally don’t happen by accident in science — they’re the result of countless hours of trial and error, replication and peer review. However, University of Saskatchewan researchers may be looking at the closest thing to a scientific miracle: A natural seed treatment that increases germination in just about any crop you can name, […] Read more


New dean of agriculture named for U of S

Soil science prof Angela Bedard-Haughn takes over Aug. 15

One of Western Canada’s major post-secondary ag institutions will get a new hand at the wheel this summer. The University of Saskatchewan announced Wednesday it has named soil science professor Angela Bedard-Haughn as the dean for its College of Agriculture and Bioresources for a five-year term starting Aug. 15. Raised on a family farm in […] Read more

Courtney Taylor (right) is presented with her Leadership Excellence Award of Distinction by Stefanie Nagelschmitz, chair of Canadian 4-H Foundation.

Albertan wins $20,000 4-H scholarship

Reading Time: < 1 minute Alberta’s Courtney Taylor is one of four winners of 4-H Canada’s Leadership Excellence Awards of Distinction. The $20,000 scholarship is awarded to students who “demonstrate 4-H values in the way they live their lives” and have become exceptional leaders through the program. Recipients are also paired with a mentor to help guide them in their […] Read more


A new $2.35-million research program aims to create new approaches for managing bovine respiratory disease and other production-limiting diseases, says Dr. Cheryl Waldner.

New research will produce tools you can use, says cattle health expert

The new five-year $2.35-million research program will first tackle bovine respiratory disease and Johne’s disease, as well as antimicrobial resistance

Reading Time: 3 minutes A major new research program will help cattle producers manage two key diseases in their herds — and they can expect to have new tools in their hands in just a few years. “We’re looking at new approaches for managing important issues like bovine respiratory disease and other production-limiting diseases such as Johne’s disease,” said […] Read more

CDC Copeland and AC Metcalfe are the undisputed heavyweights of Western Canada’s malt barley scene, accounting for 78 per cent of malt acres this year. But both are two decades old and new varieties such as CDC Bow — which has improved standability and lower beta-glucan content — may challenge that duopoly.

Better barley: There’s a long wish list for brewers and feeders

Yield is No. 1 for growers but elements such as ‘Lox,’ beta-glucan, and acid detergent fibre are key, too

Reading Time: 5 minutes Ask most barley producers what they want in a variety and the answers won’t surprise you: Better yield, standability and disease resistance. But when it comes to buyers, it gets a little more complex. Both foreign and domestic customers — especially beer makers, but also feeders — are looking for traits few people even thought […] Read more


A large male wild boar — which can top 600 pounds — in a rare daytime photo. The animals tend to be nocturnal.

Wild pigs a growing problem not many seem to care about

Alberta is the only province with a control strategy — but it’s still in the pilot program phase

Reading Time: 4 minutes Since their numbers are unknown and the wily animals are rarely spotted, it’s been easy to ignore the problem of wild pigs. But given their potential to spread disease, that’s a mistake, says the country’s leading — and pretty much only — expert on wild boars. The animals — whose population has mushroomed in the […] Read more

Wheat breeder Curtis Pozniak is on a quest to figure out what makes wheat wheat.

Wheat breeders get a cheat sheet

‘Breeder chip’ doesn’t make the process faster but ups the odds of hitting pay dirt

Reading Time: 4 minutes Plant breeding is strictly a numbers game — but researchers have found a way to improve the odds with help from a new tool called a ‘breeder chip.’ “Breeding is like a lottery. The more tickets you buy, the greater the chance of success,” said Curtis Pozniak, a professor of plant sciences and wheat breeder […] Read more