GFM Network News


Employing the natural ability of crops to defend themselves is the logical next step in the movement that has brought no-till and soil health to the fore, says Alberta producer Andy Kirschenman.

Plants’ secret chemistry could change the way you farm

Science is discovering plants produce their own pesticides and warn each other of threats — but tillage, spraying, and even breeding can disrupt these defences

Reading Time: 5 minutes A war is being waged in your fields. Every day, your crops are fighting for their lives against insects, diseases, weeds, and weather. And their best line of defence isn’t the chemicals we spray or the traits we breed into them. It’s their sense of smell. “Anything that anybody has ever done to any plant […] Read more

The barbs on the seed heads of Woolly Burdock allow them to easily attach to fur or clothing.

Noxious weed found throughout Alberta

Noxious Weeds: Wooly Burdock

Reading Time: < 1 minute Woolly burdock is found throughout Alberta and will grow in most soil types. It prefers moist, loamy, and well-drained soils which are in direct sunlight. This noxious weed is commonly found on disturbed sites, but has also been found growing in gardens for herbal use. Woolly burdock can only reproduce by seed, but is self-fertile […] Read more


Updated weed guide available

Updated weed guide available

Reading Time: < 1 minute An updated Weed Seedling Guide is now on sale. “The second edition of this convenient, pocket-size booklet helps producers and others correctly identify weed seedlings,” said provincial weed specialist Nicole Kimmel. “Proper identification allows you to take the appropriate measures to deal with weeds.” The $10 coil-bound publication features information on 62 broad-leaved weeds and […] Read more

Hound’s tongue isn’t palatable to grazers, but when consumed in hay, it is poisonous, especially for cattle and horses.

This toxic hitchhiker is a threat to livestock

Noxious Weeds: Hound's tongue

Reading Time: < 1 minute Hound’s tongue is a weak competitor and doesn’t do well in healthy rangeland — but it compensates for that by being an excellent hitchhiker. This noxious weed produces up to 4,000 seeds per plant, and each one is barbed and easily attaches itself to clothing or fur. It also produces toxic alkaloids that cause irreversible […] Read more


Cereal stems move unscathed through the CombCut’s comb-like knives, while broadleaf weed stems are cropped close to the ground.

New Swedish machine slices problem weeds down to size

Organic grain growers have been snapping up CombCut machines ‘like crazy’

Reading Time: 3 minutes A new piece of machinery is helping crop growers control broadleaf weeds on their farms — especially on organic operations. “Organic growers are buying these CombCut machines like crazy,” said Steve Shirtliffe, a professor of plant sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. “There’s a real buzz in the organic farming community. I’ve never seen equipment […] Read more




Garlic mustard: An odorous invader

Garlic mustard: An odorous invader

Reading Time: < 1 minute So far, garlic mustard has only been reported in Edmonton and St. Albert. While this species has not yet been spotted in agricultural areas, early identification and response is key in preventing the spread of this biennial weed. Garlic mustard has severely invaded forest understoreys in other provinces, as it generally prefers shaded areas and […] Read more



Fall yard care pays dividends next year

Reading Time: < 1 minute 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