GFM Network News

Spot spraying can reduce herbicide application by up to 90 per cent, says distributor Croplands Equipment. And ensuring weeds get a full dose of a herbicide can combat resistance.

Spot spraying gets lots of looks but many farmers seem hesitant

Some are holding off on ‘green-on-brown’ weed tech until it costs less and does more

Reading Time: 3 minutes When it comes to precision-farming technology, automated spot spraying of weeds would be a science fiction dream come true. If it lives up to its promise, farmers would save countless dollars in reduced herbicide use, benefit the environment, and maybe even gain the upper hand in battling herbicide resistance. In Canada, the face of spot […] Read more

There are 75 regulated and prohibited noxious weeds in Alberta.

Weed-free forage program relaunched

Some counties are now offering inspections to ensure invasive weeds are not present in hay

Reading Time: 2 minutes A program aimed at preventing the spread of invasive and noxious weeds via hay is getting a second shot. Alberta’s first go-round with a Certified Weed Free Forage program a decade ago never fully took off but the Alberta Invasive Species Council has revived the initiative. “Use of certified weed-free forage is a best management […] Read more

This is not a pretty picture but it’s one that’s increasingly common as herbicide-resistant weeds, such as kochia, become the rule rather than the exception.

The clock is ticking on old-school ways of weed control

Resistance is rampant and producers need a more strategic approach, including herbicide layering

Reading Time: 3 minutes Time’s just about up. Crop growers won’t be able to spray their way out of problem weeds for much longer if herbicide resistance continues to spread, says one of the country’s top weed scientists. “We’re seeing multiple-herbicide resistance show up in a few different weed species on the Prairies,” said federal research scientist Charles Geddes. […] Read more

This fellow’s ancestors hailed from Serbia, but the Rhinusa pilosa — a.k.a. stem-galling weevil — now makes its home in Alberta and B.C., where it feeds on yellow toadflax, a weed that infests pastures.

There’s foreign workers in the bug world, too — and they attack weeds

Bringing in weed-attacking pests is a laborious process but it’s often the only option for pastures

Reading Time: 3 minutes There are many ways to control weeds. Rose De Clerck-Floate’s favourite is to reunite them with their longtime enemies from the old country. “All of the weeds here can come from other parts of the world, mostly Europe and some from Asia, and establish here without the organisms that keep them in check in their […] Read more

Weed seed bank is higher this year and late spring favours weeds, too, says federal research scientist Breanne Tidemann.

Wet fall and late spring a recipe for increased weed risk

Pre-seed burn-off will depend on what’s popping up in your fields, so scout early, says weed scientist

Reading Time: 2 minutes You won’t hear weeds complaining about the weather — which adds up to another headache for producers. “Because we were so dry last spring, there were quite a few fields that didn’t get a pre-seed burn-off because there was nothing growing yet. I don’t think that’s going to be the same circumstance this year,” federal […] Read more

Distinct markings give adult gall flies a rather striking appearance, while their larvae are anything but attractive. But they can do serious damage to a Canada thistle.

Tiny warriors get nasty on Canada thistle

Stem gall flies love to feed on — and breed in — the much-loathed and fast-spreading invasive weed

Reading Time: 2 minutes The West Central Forage Association has another biocontrol that can help you win the war against Canada thistle. The proud warriors are called stem gall flies and they’re available for sale. “The gall flies act on a different portion of the Canada thistle than the weevils do,” said Rachael Nay, conservation agriculture and extension program […] Read more

This is not the sort of shot you want to post on Instagram, but it’s going to be a more common scene in Alberta this year — especially in the south.

Expect a full blast of kochia this spring

The tumbleweed already has the south in its grip and two years of dry conditions have made it stronger

Reading Time: 4 minutes [UPDATED: Mar. 26, 2019] Alberta kochia populations have exploded following back-to-back years of dry growing conditions. “Kochia was one of the worst weed problems across the southern Prairies last year,” said federal research scientist Charles Geddes. “If we have another dry year this year, there will certainly be issues with kochia management.” The past two […] Read more

Green foxtail can cut wheat yields by a quarter when populations reach 400 to 500 plants per square metre.

A large weed seed bank is a ‘gift that keeps taking’

No till, chaff collection, forage in rotation, and chemical control all reduce weed pressure

Reading Time: 3 minutes Below the soil surface lurks the weed seed bank — the predominant source of weed pressure on current and future crops. “You do not want to draw on this bank account,” said provincial crop specialist Harry Brook. “It is a source of annual and perennial weeds that will wait for years before the right conditions […] Read more

It was a win-win-win year for kochia across much of the Prairies in 2018.

The stars (unfortunately) aligned for kochia this summer

This could be the year that triple-resistant kochia is confirmed in Alberta

Reading Time: 4 minutes Farmers never really stood a chance against kochia this year. First, it was a dry year following a dry year, and kochia thrives in dry conditions. Then those dry conditions drew salts in the soil toward the surface — and kochia loves saline soils. And finally, those saline soils delayed emergence in kochia, so any […] Read more

These Manitoba Department of Agriculture photos show that weeds are more obvious when looking 
down at a wheat crop (r) than looking at it sideways.

It’s the time of year when crop scouting pays big dividends

Weed escapes, herbicide resistance, disease, and pests can all be assessed after spraying, says expert

Reading Time: < 1 minute Spray, then scout, says provincial crop specialist Mark Cutts. “It is very important to recognize that scouting after a herbicide application is vital to weed control, said Cutts. “In the majority of cases, producers will find that the chemicals have worked. However, in certain situations, field scouting may show the weeds weren’t properly controlled. Producers […] Read more