GFM Network News


A certified crop adviser says Canadian farmers are losing close to $3 billion a year due to lost productivity caused by degraded, unhealthy soil.

Tending to your farm’s factory floor: its soil

The health of your farmland can have a big impact on your bottom line

In any manufacturing business productivity is a matter of managing the building, the machinery and the workforce to put the product together in a cost-effective way. In farming, soil is the factory floor and growing a profitable crop is a matter of managing the biology and chemistry of the field within the limits imposed by

A field and a patch of prairie are very different, but some similar principles can apply.

The many faces of resiliency: Resilience lessons can be learned from nature

There are no simple answers when it comes to protecting farms and the environment

About a year ago the COVID-19 lockdowns led to an odd phenomenon. Home bakers went to the store looking for yeast and found the shelf completely cleaned out. If you asked a grocer about it you were told that there’s none to be had, even the warehouse was empty. The entire stock was bought out


Chithra Karunakaran prepares a plant for imaging at the Canadian Light Source.

Canadian Light Source aids agriculture projects

The synchrotron at Saskatoon is giving researchers a new view of old subjects

Agriculture researchers facing difficult challenges might want to consider shining a light on their problems — a really bright light. The light in question is the Canadian Light Source, a synchrotron located at the campus of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Researcher Chithra Karunakaran spoke recently during a Zoom presentation hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Take a systematic approach to improving the ecosystems beneath your feet.

There’s a teeming world of diversity and complexity in your field’s soil

This soil ecologist says six principles can be applied to improve soil health

Soil is more than just dirt, a place where plants put down roots to grow seeds. It’s a complex ecology, teeming with infinite varieties of flora, fauna, microbes and minerals that provide both the raw materials and machinery to build crops and livestock. It’s a factory floor with a lot of moving parts and we’re

... the health of one soil can be very different from the health of another and both are healthy.” – David Lobb, University of Manitoba.

Soil health a moving target

There’s no one-size-fits-all measure of soil health, David Lobb says

Saying a soil is ‘healthy’ isn’t something simple like running through a checklist. David Lobb, a soil scientist at the University of Manitoba says it’s a moving target that takes many variables into account. There are hundreds of different soils across the province, thousands across the country and the development of each one moves toward


Flea beetles.

The four horsemen of the crop-pocalypse

Three of the big four crop pests could be poised for a comeback in the coming season

Four pests caused the most problems last season, and given the right spring conditions, three are poised to return. That’s according to John Gavoloski, provincial entomologist, who says farmers should head into spring watching the weather and with their eyes open. “If I had to predict which three pests farmers could be at a higher

Farm Credit Canada’s chief economist says the agriculture sector is well positioned for the future.

Agriculture after the pandemic

It’s a whole alphabet of recovery options, FCC’s chief economist says

With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out for worldwide distribution and immunization on the horizon, now hopes turn to putting the virus in the rear-view mirror and rebuilding a battered global economy. That’s almost certainly going to mean enduring a sharp recession, says J.P. Gervais, chief economist for Farm Credit Canada. Speaking at the virtual Manitoba Agronomist

The European honeybee, vital to pollination and the honey industry but not suitable for all crops such as seed alfalfa or some fruit or greenhouse crops.

A multitude of bees are your tireless workers

You might be surprised to find out just how much extra canola a few more pollinators can bring to your bins

Canola growers like what happens when they enlist hives of honeybees to help tend their crops. According to figures presented to the Manitoba Agronomist Conference earlier this winter by Melanie Dubois of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, pollination increases production by as much as 46 per cent. And the quality of the seed set is significantly


Wolf spiders, robber flies, coyotes and burrowing owls are happy to dine on grasshoppers.

Predators line up for grasshoppers

Grasshoppers might be voracious — but so are the many things that consume them

Farmers fear grasshoppers because, according to legend, they eat everything. There’s a flip side to this and farmers can use it to their advantage. In the grand scheme of Prairie ecology everything eats grasshoppers. “They do have a positive side,” Dan Johnson of the University of Lethbridge told the Manitoba Agronomists Conference earlier this winter.

Getting fall fertility just right requires attention to detail

Getting fall fertility just right requires attention to detail

Keep your fertilizer on your land and out of the spring run-off

As the crop comes off some farmers are already thinking about next spring — specifically about getting a jump on things by fertilizing this fall. There are lots of compelling reasons to follow this strategy. Fertilizer prices tend to be lower this time of year, and spreading the workload out lets them get the crop