GFM Network News


Researcher Yvonne Lawley presents on cover crops at a meeting with the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Jan. 29.

Survey of Prairie cover crops continues

Researcher Yvonne Lawley shared preliminary results with Pulse and Soybean Growers Jan. 29

A University of Manitoba researcher is calling on Prairie farmers to talk to her about their cover crops. Yvonne Lawley, assistant professor of agronomy and cropping systems at the university, is conducting a survey across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to determine how many farmers are planting cover crops — and why. She shared preliminary results at a

A cover crop cocktail?

Pre-made mixes promise an easy jumping-off point on cover crops, but some worry that they increase the amount at risk

Joe Gardiner of Clearwater has spent a lot of effort getting ahead of the curve on cover crops. His cover mixes can include up to 15 species in a season-long cover. He does relay cropping. He picks his seed to include a range of cool- and warm-season plants, legumes, forbs, broadleafs and grasses. He thinks


Cover crops may buffer bad spring in 2020

This fall had little window for fall-seeded cover crops, but those who already have cover crops in the ground say it’s now their best insurance against a wet spring

Joe Gardiner of Clearwater has an insurance policy against a wet spring next year — and it has nothing to do with MASC. Gardiner is one of a growing number of Manitoba farmers to embrace cover crops, having started the practice several years ago in an effort to increase fall grazing. This year, he jumped

The learning curve of cover crops

Cover crops may have an almost endless number of combinations, but end goals, planting windows and seed costs may help narrow down species selection

It’s not enough to convince producers to give cover crops a shot — there needs to be a game plan. There are plenty of reasons why. Seed can be expensive, especially if there’s no livestock to help recoup that cost through their digestive systems. Many worry the fall seeding window is too narrow to give

Fall is the time when you can see what’s survived your crop season’s control efforts.

Fall management key to weed resistance

It’s in the fall you see what worked and what you can change up for next year

When it comes to weed control, fall is often one of your best windows to find out how it’s going and what issues are on the horizon. Tammy Jones, Manitoba Agriculture weed specialist, says the fall season offers a planning window for next year and lets farmers evaluate what went right or wrong this season.


Yvonne Lawley talks cover crops during Crops-A-Palooza in Carberry in July.  
photos: Alexis Stockford

Calculating a good cover crop plan

Set yourself up for success when it comes to cover crops

Farmers will need more than a cursory plan to reap the benefit of cover crops in the Keystone province. Cover crops have gained their champions in Manitoba. The practice is cited among other alternative grazing strategies like bale or swath grazing to extend the grazing season and, arguably, improve soil, according to livestock and forage

A blend of cover crop species is a tasty blend for cattle, but make sure they aren’t yours.

Mixed farmers need not apply for cover crop funding

The province says cover crop funding under Ag Action Manitoba only allows grazing on ‘stockless farms’

You can graze cattle on cover crops planted with help from Ag Action Manitoba — as long as they’re not your cattle, that is. Ag Action Manitoba is the province’s vehicle for funding under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (CAP) program. Cover crops are among the beneficial management practices (BMPs) it promotes to improve the environment.

Producers may be reluctant at losing a productive year for the sake of a green manure.

Pass the mustard?

Mustard green manures might be the next tool in the tool box against disease and soil degradation in potatoes

It might be time to add a little spice to the potato rotation. Researchers from Washington State University have been planting mustard green manures in the year preceding a potato crop, a strategy some Manitoba agronomists believe might protect the crop and improve soil health. Many of the arguments for green manures will sound familiar


Lady beetle making a meal out of aphids.

Participants wanted for on-farm study of flowering habitats

Study will look at impact of flowering habitats for pollinators, natural enemies of pests

Pollinators and natural enemies of pests may improve the health of agroecosystems. Have you considered practices to enhance them on your farm? If so, we want to partner with you for an on-farm project. Project Establish flowering plants at crop field margins to determine if this habitat increases crop productivity by increasing pollinators and natural

Doing the math on intercropping

Rocket science starts to look easy when farmers delve into the complexity of this system

On the surface intercropping is a simple idea — grow two crops together in one field and take advantage of the synergies that result. Proponents say it helps build the farm’s bottom line and soil health while lowering dependence on expensive inputs. But underneath that simple idea is an array of complicated decisions and compounding