GFM Network News


In this 2017 video, Morgan Chattaway of Bar S Ranch explains intensive grazing by saying, “The healthier the grass, the healthier the water, the healthier our animals are.” The video accompanies the Beef Cattle Research Council’s recent article on water use. 
PHOTO: From ‘What beef producers need to know about environmental footprint’

Here’s what the beef industry says about its water use

The amount of water needed to produce a pound of beef looks high — until you hear the whole story

Editor’s note: This article from the Beef Cattle Research Council makes the case that beef production has a much lighter ‘water footprint’ than critics charge and provides a number of environmental benefits. It has been condensed and lightly edited. The full article is at www.beefresearch.ca. Yes, it takes water to produce beef, but in the […] Read more

It’s recommended that well owners do a bacteriological analysis up to four times per year and a chemical analysis every three to five years.

Spring is the time for testing your farm’s water supply

Testing for every possible contaminant is expensive — here’s what should be at the top of the checklist

It’s up to rural landowners to keep their water safe — and spring is the ideal time to get that job done, says a water quality expert. “Winter can accumulate pollutants, then spring thaw and run-off carries the previous six months’ worth of pollutants down to groundwater and sideways towards surface supplies,” said Mitch Golay, […] Read more


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

Irrigation generates $3.2 billion for the Alberta economy and has expansion potential, says a report from the  Alberta Land Institute.

Report looks at the benefits of irrigation expansion

Study says irrigating dryland would produce big economic benefits but would need government support

A recent report from the Alberta Land Institute highlights the economic benefits of expanding Alberta’s irrigation system and offers improved forecasting of agricultural and irrigation needs. The report, entitled Systems modelling for sustainable land and water policy in Alberta’s irrigation sector, was prepared by Evan Davies, an associate professor in civil and environmental engineering at the University […] Read more


Saskatchewan to tap farm leaders for drainage board

Representatives from four Saskatchewan farmer organizations will sit on a new provincial advisory board on farm drainage policy. The provincial government on Tuesday announced the creation of two advisory boards: a policy development board and technical review board. Specific members haven’t yet been named to either board, but the province said the policy advisory board […] Read more

Bocock Brothers receive top dairy award

John and Bill Bocock are the 2016 recipients of the Alberta Milk’s Dairy Industry Achievement Award. The brothers are trendsetters whose dairy careers have spanned decades, and among their contributions to the industry is a donation of 777 acres to the University of Alberta to create the St. Albert Research Station. The station is used […] Read more


Water levels behind the Ghost Dam, shown here during spring run-off, are being kept lower from mid-May through early July to provide flood protection.

Irrigation not forgotten in Bow River flood mitigation agreement

Keeping water levels lower behind the Ghost Dam provides capacity for 
capturing flood waters, but can mean less water is available later on

While irrigation districts are thankful that drought was considered in a recent flood mitigation agreement between the province and TransAlta, there is concern that more might be needed in order to ensure adequate water is available during dry spells. The five-year agreement will see TransAlta paid $5.5 million annually for keeping water levels at 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


Investment in irrigation infrastructure, like Bassano Dam Spillway,
has generated huge economic returns.

Economic study shows irrigation pays big dividends

Irrigation adds about $3.6 billion to the provincial economy each year and has the potential to do even more

In these tough economic times, irrigation is a good news story. Irrigation in Alberta is attracting businesses, creating jobs, generating revenue for governments, and bolstering the economy. How do we know this? The Alberta Irrigation Projects Association commissioned a study to look at exactly that. While people in the irrigation industry understand the benefits and […] Read more

The capacity of the Langdon Reservoir was doubled two winters ago, but the big story for irrigation in Alberta is the gains in efficiency in the last decade and a half.

Drought years are proof that there’s more ‘crop per drop’

Two very dry years show that investments by both farmers 
and irrigation districts have greatly increased water-use efficiency

They were the two driest growing seasons in recent times — but when you look at water used for irrigation, 2001 and 2015 are very different. Last year, the amount of water diverted by the Eastern Irrigation District (EID) was almost 200,000 acre-feet less than in 2001, even though the number of acres under irrigation, […] Read more