GFM Network News


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

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

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

[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

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

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

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


This photo was taken in Manitoba but glyphosate-resistant kochia has since spread across the Prairies and it’s estimated half of kochia in Alberta is resistant to at least one herbicide group.

A 50/50 chance your kochia is glyphosate resistant

Triple-resistant kochia has also been found in Alberta and Saskatchewan

There’s an easy way to tell if you have glyphosate-resistant kochia in your field — flip a coin. “Half the fields that have kochia in them now have resistant populations,” said federal research scientist Charles Geddes. Five years ago, only five per cent of kochia populations in Alberta fields were resistant to glyphosate (the active […] Read more

A late spring means hurry up and go, but early weed control is 
still critical, says crop specialist Harry Brook.

Weed pressure ramps up in late spring

Weeds that emerge a week before the crop can cause up to 50 per cent yield loss

In a late spring like this one, you might be tempted to skip spraying for weeds to make up for lost time — but that decision could cost you. “The last few years, we’ve had early springs, so people weren’t feeling like they were under the gun,” said Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture […] Read more


Six factors to consider if your soil moisture level is low

To date, all indications are pointing to a dry spring, given the below-average precipitation received in many areas of the Prairies this winter. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but a lot of farmers had relatively dry soils going into winter, so we asked some agronomists and provincial crop experts what factors could[...]
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Giant hogweed is similar to cow parsnip in many respects, but its size is a giveaway.

Giant hogweed is one big and scary weed

Noxious weeds: Giant hogweed can reach heights of six metres

It’s not often a weed grabs the attention of both urban and rural landowners across the province, yet in 2015, giant hogweed was a weed everyone had an eye out for. As we wrap up the growing season in 2017, this prohibited noxious short-lived perennial is still on folks’ minds and is often mistaken for[...]
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