GFM Network News


Dr. Alex Wu performing research in the field.

University researchers model photosynthesis

They say it’s an important window into this crucial biological process and how it affects crop yields

In the next two decades, crop yields need to increase dramatically to feed the growing global population. Wouldn’t it be incredibly useful if we had a crystal ball to show us what are the best strategies available to increase crop yields? A team of scientists have just developed exactly that: a dynamic model that predicts

A new research project from Europe could address the question of how to feed humans in space.

Space… the final farming frontier

Treatment with one plant hormone appears to make space farming possible

With scarce nutrients and weak gravity, growing potatoes on the moon or on other planets seems unimaginable. But the plant hormone strigolactone could make it possible, plant biologists from the University of Zurich have shown. The hormone supports the symbiosis between fungi and plant roots, thus encouraging plants’ growth — even under the challenging conditions


The Clasp protein, seen here in an image from an electron microscope, 
helps cells divide within the roots and shoots of the thale cress plant.

Calling all plant cells

Internal communication system aids and 
guides plant development, researchers say

Western Canadian researchers have discovered an internal messaging system plants use to manage the growth and division of cells. These growth-management processes are critical for all organisms, because without them, cells can proliferate out of control — as they do in cancers and bacterial infections. Researchers from the University of British Columbia, along with colleagues

Low, high or in the middle, soil pH affects your farm

Acidic or alkaline soils can have a big effect on soil nutrition, but while farmers with acidic soil 
can turn to lime, fixing alkaline soils may be more of a challenge

Alkaline soils are a common problem in Manitoba, but farmers may not have an easy fix. Amir Farooq, crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture and one of the speakers at a soil fertility update in Brandon Jan. 30-31, argued that high pH soils would need a prohibitively expensive amount of elemental sulphur to lower levels. The

A photo taken by a drone of lake 227 at IISD Experimental Lakes Area where the experiment on eutrophication has been taking place since 1969.

Nitrogen reduction not the path

Reducing how much nitrogen enters a lake has little impact on algal blooms, IISD researchers say

If you take the nitrogen out of the equation for lake algal blooms it turns out you really haven’t changed things at all. According to researchers at the Experimental Lakes Area, operated by Winnipeg’s International Institute for Sustainable Development, that’s because many of the algae responsible for the harmful blooms can turn around and fix


Better soil health could capture more carbon

A recent study says changing farming practices could capture as much carbon as the global transport sector emits

Thomson Reuters Foundation – Improving soil health in farmlands could capture extra carbon equivalent to the planet-warming emissions generated by the transport sector, one of the world’s most polluting industries, experts said Nov. 14. Soil naturally absorbs carbon from the atmosphere through a process known as sequestration which not only reduces harmful greenhouse gases but

Jen Unwin of Nature’s Perfect Plant Food grabs a handful of red wiggler worms from a vermicomposting tub.

Expansion possible as cannabis market grows

Small companies could see host of new opportunities in the wake of cannabis legalization

A Manitoba entrepreneur has high hopes that pending changes to cannabis laws will help expand her fertilizer business. Jen Unwin of Nature’s Perfect Plant Food said the ability for Canadians to grow their own marijuana could be a “huge boon” to small input providers, as consumers learn more about indoor plant production. “In eight short

Wetland restoration in Pembina Valley ‘a rarity,’ said CD officials

About 160 acres have been converted back to wetland after the landowners farming it saw more advantage using the acres to hold water than farming it at a loss

Brenda and Cliff Seward had known for a long while a certain piece of farmland wasn’t very productive — but they kept on cultivating it anyways. This was about 40 acres, once slough, and drained more than 30 years ago, explains Brenda who farms southwest of Morden in the Kaleida area. Read more: A watershed


Dr. Alan Moulin takes tour attendees through the field.

Mixing and matching inputs and rotations

Brandon researchers spent 18 years combining three different input levels and crop rotations to study the impact on nutrients, soil quality, yield and implications for climate change

Farming for short-term yield will be different than long-term soil benefit. That’s not a new idea, but it has been driven home by 18 years of research spearheaded by researcher scientists Alan Moulin and Taras Lychuk of Brandon’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada research station. From 1994-2003, the pair’s team cross-compared organic, reduced- input no till,

Door opens to hog expansion

Anaerobic digesters out, new barns in

New hog barns will be built Manitoba. After an all-night session at the Manitoba Legislature, Bill 24 has passed its final reading and received royal assent. Better known as the Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act, Bill 24 covers legislation ranging from consumer protection and labour relations, to residential tenancies and transportation of dangerous