GFM Network News


Grants available for irrigation upgrades

Grants to reduce water use or energy use can be as much as $15,000 for each irrigated parcel

Applications are now being accepted for the Irrigation Efficiency program under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership. The program offers grants for new low-pressure centre pivots or upgrades to existing pivots (such as sprinkler and nozzle packages, control panels, and variable-rate irrigation) as well as drip irrigation. Any active producer who owns an irrigated agricultural operation in […] Read more

An array of sensors allow researchers to monitor water movement in different soil types within beds sown to alfalfa.

Bringing crops indoors generating research insights

Indoor beds allow scientists to take ‘a peek underground’ to see how subsurface drip irrigation works

Indoors’ doesn’t usually come to mind when thinking of applied irrigation research, but it has its advantages. “We have to be careful (with field studies) because you might harm somebody’s crop or interfere with whatever the farmer had planned,” said Willemijn Appels, a hydrologist and soil physicist. “You can’t push systems and the crops growing […] Read more


Planting directly underneath a power line means you’ll be doing a lot of pruning, which is also harmful for the trees.

Want to plant a shelterbelt? Here are some tips

A windbreak designed for your farm site is well worth the investment, but mistakes can cause years of headaches

It pays to think ahead when planting a shelterbelt. The first step is site selection, said Jeff Renton of the Agroforestry and Woodlot Extension Society, a joint venture of government, industry, and conservation agencies that promotes stewardship and offers extension services. The site needs proper setbacks from homes, roads, crops, and utilities. “Know where the […] Read more

The demonstration canal system at Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre.

Irrigation technology centre has a wide range of research

Whether it’s research on potatoes, sugar beets, infrared sensors or nozzles, the goal is to get more crop per drop

Just outside of Lethbridge, where ideal location, expertise and cutting-edge technology meet, we find the Alberta Irrigation Technology Centre (AITC). The centre was established in 2000 as a partnership between Alberta’s irrigation industry and the provincial and federal Agriculture Departments. “The main focus of the centre is to support improved water conservation, efficiency, and productivity […] Read more


California communities beg for relief from drought restrictions

Sacramento | Reuters — California communities where a wet winter has filled reservoirs and begun ameliorating the state’s catastrophic four-year drought begged water regulators on Wednesday to reduce or eliminate emergency conservation measures imposed last year. Facing pushback from aggravated consumers under the ongoing rules, water utilities say they will have little credibility asking for […] Read more

Fall yard care pays dividends next year

Autumn yard care can pay big dividends next year. Topping or cutting back herbaceous perennials can help prevent the overwintering of diseases and insects. Mulching will help to prevent plants from being forced from the ground (but apply mulch after the ground is frozen). Watering lightly after applying the mulch will help hold it in […] Read more


Low-pressure centre pivot systems greatly increase water-use efficiency.

Irrigation investments, programs playing a big part in water conservation

A soon-to-be-published study estimates 170 million to 200 million cubic metres were saved from 1999 to 2012

Alberta producers and irrigation districts are making great strides toward conserving water, with both grants and individual investment producing tangible water and energy savings. Those efforts produced overall water savings of 170 million to 200 million cubic metres in Alberta’s 13 irrigation districts from 1999 to 2012, said Rod Bennett, director of Alberta Agriculture and […] Read more

California tightens water regulations amid long drought

Sacramento | Reuters — Water regulators in California voted on Tuesday to outlaw watering the lawn within 48 hours of a rainstorm, the latest effort to spur Californians to conserve as the state enters its fourth year of drought. Facing a dramatic slowdown in voluntary conservation efforts by property owners, the state Water Resources Control […] Read more