New seeding rate and plant stand calculators from the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) will help canola growers set an accurate seeding rate that balances the good start canola needs with their profitability goals and appetite for risk.

Why build them? Growers often default to seeding rates of 5 lb./ac. or lower, regardless of seed size or field conditions. These tools will help growers as well as agronomists and seed retailers make more refined decisions.

What do they do? With the target density calculator, users position sliding scales to determine the level of risk for various factors that influence plant stand targets. If weed competition is expected to be very low, for example, the calculator will set a lower target stand. But if spring frost risk is high, the calculator sets a higher target stand to compensate.

The seeding rate calculator has three modes. In seeding rate mode, users input thousand seed weight (TSW), target plant density and estimated seed survival, and the calculator computes the required seeding rate. In plant survival mode, users enter the number of plants per square foot that emerged along with known TSW and seeding rate, and the calculator gives the seed survival rate. In plant density mode, the calculator takes TSW, seeding rate and estimated seed survival to give the number of plants that should emerge.

Because yield potential is known to drop off with stands of around four plants per square foot, the CCC recommends at least six plants per square foot to provide a buffer against season-long plant loss.

Canada’s canola industry has a goal to reach average yields of 52 bu./ac. by 2025. The CCC estimates that improvements in seeding and plant establishment alone can contribute three bu./ac. The tools at can help.
Published in Canola
The key to controlling tufted vetch in soybeans is to try to maximize control in all crops in the rotation and in all kinds of windows. That’s the advice of Mike Cowbrough, weed management specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). He has been investigating options for tufted vetch control for about 14 years so he knows just how difficult this weed is to conquer.
Published in Weeds
Syngenta Canada has announced the new Trivapro fungicide to barley growers across Western Canada, providing broad-spectrum leaf disease control. Trivapro is the first foliar fungicide on the market to combine three powerful active ingredients and three modes-of-action.

The product contains propiconazole (Group 3), a curative fungicide that acts on already-present disease to halt further infection, azoxystrobin (Group 11), a preventative fungicide that provides disease protection by moving into new growth, and Solatenol, a powerful Group 7 succinate deyhydrogenase inhibitor (SDHI) fungicide. The unique chemistry in Solatenol allows it to bind to the waxy layer of the entire leaf, where it is absorbed slowly over time to provide long-lasting residual protection.

Syngenta research trials show Trivapro to be highly effective on key cereal diseases, including barley scald, tan spot and net and spot blotch, while providing improvement in yield potential. 

Trivapro also demonstrates superior performance on major rusts, including leaf rust (Puccinia hordei), stem rust (P. graminis) and stripe rust (P. striiformis).

The Trivapro co-pack should be applied once at early flag leaf timing. Growers should consult the Trivapro product label for additional information.

In addition to being registered on barley, wheat and oats, Trivapro is also registered for use in corn and soybeans to protect against several foliar diseases, including Northern corn leaf blight and grey leaf spot in corn, and Septoria brown spot and frogeye leaf spot in soybeans.

Trivapro fungicide will be available in spring 2017 as a 40-acre co-pack or 400-acre bulk co-pack.
Visit to learn more. 
Published in Fungicides
Axter Agroscience has improved the performance of CropBooster with the addition of specific organic acids and micronutrients to create CropBooster 2.0. These modifications generate a significant yield increase.

CropBooster 2.0 in the herbicide tank mix produced an average yield increase of 3.3 bushels of wheat per acre in multiple field trials. In these same experiments, CropBooster 2.0 performed better than the original CropBooster with a higher yield increase.

By allowing crop plants to restart growth or to continue growing more quickly, CropBooster 2.0 is also proven to increase yields without reducing weed control.

Click here for more information.
Published in Herbicides
The wheat midge forecast for 2017 shows an overall lower level of wheat midge across Alberta. There has been a slight bounce back from the collapse of the extreme populations in the eastern Peace region. Although wheat midge has not followed the forecasts very well in the Peace region, it's important to note that there are likely sufficient populations of midge in the eastern Peace to fuel a resurgence if conditions are in the insects favor (specifically delayed crops and higher than normal rainfall).

Central Alberta has some areas of east of Edmonton with high numbers of wheat midge. The population has remained low in much of southern Alberta with the exception of some irrigated fields. Producers should pay attention to midge downgrading in their wheat samples and use this as a further indication of midge risk in their fields.

Over the past several years the field to field variation has been very considerable throughout the province, especially in those areas with higher counts. Individual fields throughout Alberta may still have economic levels of midge. Each producer also needs to assess their risk based on indicators specific to their farm. | READ MORE

Published in Insect Pests
Researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences have received a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E, to design a low-cost, integrated system that can identify and screen for high-yielding, deeper-rooted crops.

The interdisciplinary team, led by Jonathan Lynch, distinguished professor of plant nutrition, will combine a suite of technologies designed to identify phenotypes and genes related to desirable root traits, with the goal of enhancing the breeding of crop varieties better adapted for nitrogen and water acquisition and carbon sequestration.

The project is part of ARPA-E's Rhizosphere Observations Optimizing Terrestrial Sequestration, or ROOTS, program, which is aimed at developing crops that enable a 50 percent increase in carbon deposition depth and accumulation, while also reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 50 percent and increasing water productivity by 25 percent.

The ROOTS program website explains that while advances in technology have resulted in a tenfold increase in crop productivity over the past century, soil quality has declined, leading to a soil carbon debt equivalent to 65 parts per million of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This soil carbon debt increases the need for costly nitrogen fertilizer, which has become the primary source of emissions of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas. The soil carbon debt also impacts crop water use, increasing susceptibility to drought stress, which threatens future productivity.

Given the scale of domestic and global agriculture, there is tremendous potential to reverse these trends by harnessing the photosynthetic bridge between atmospheric carbon, plants, microbes and soil. Advanced root systems that increase soil organic matter can improve soil structure, fertilizer use efficiency, water productivity, crop yield and climate resilience, while mitigating topsoil erosion – all of which provide near-term and sustained economic value. | READ MORE
Published in Corn
A University of Queensland team has made a discovery that could help conquer the greatest threat to global food security: pests and diseases in plants.

Research leader Professor Neena Mitter said BioClay – an environmentally sustainable alternative to chemicals and pesticides – could be a game-changer for crop protection.

“Our disruptive research involves a spray of nano-sized degradable clay used to release double-stranded RNA, that protects plants from specific disease-causing pathogens,” she says.

The research, by scientists from the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI) and UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) is published in Nature Plants.

Professor Mitter said the technology reduced the use of pesticides without altering the genome of the plants.

Once BioClay is applied, the plant ‘thinks’ it is being attacked by a disease or pest insect and responds by protecting itself from the targeted pest or disease.

“A single spray of BioClay protects the plant and then degrades, reducing the risk to the environment or human health.”

She said BioClay met consumer demands for sustainable crop protection and residue-free produce.
Published in Seed/Chemical
Stripe rust could show up with a vengence in Ontario again this year, but that doesn’t mean we’re lacking the tools to control the problem.

Last year was one of the worst stripe rust years that Albert Tenuta, field crop extension plant pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), has seen. Tenuta addressed the latest on where, when, and how often to apply fungicides to a room of farmers and agronomists at the Southwest Agriculture Conference, which took place Jan. 4 and 5 in Ridgetown, Ont. One of the diseases of focus was stripe rust and whether we can expect to see the same levels of the disease as last year.

Stripe rust typically thrives when temperatures sit around 16 C. But last year rust was exploding and multiplying in elevated nighttime temperatures sitting around 21 to 23 C. This may mean that the pathogen is changing in stripe rust.

“We’re seeing more and more races developing, becoming more heat tolerant,” Tenuta says. “They are living organisms that adapt and change, so nothing stays static over time.”

Since stripe rust is an obligate parasite (the disease needs a host to survive), the rust retreats back to the south in the U.S. in the winter, where there is greenery. With the milder winter last year, it’s likely spores are overwintering closer to Ontario, meaning the spores don’t need to travel as far and making it easier for them to reproduce. As millions and millions of spores are created, there are mutants that can develop and bypass resistance (from temperatures, for example) leading to an increase in cases of the disease.

If stripe rust had overwintered in the province, farmers would have seen it much earlier than the first reports in early May. This year, if conditions are right, we could potentially see the disease back in the province; it depends on the direction of wind as well as temperatures.

If the disease shows up again this year, there are two main ways for farmers to protect their crops. The first is well-timed application of fungicide. According to Martin Chilvers, assistant professor at Michigan State University and co-speaker at the session, in 2016 the most successful applications were the T2, or prior to flowering, applications. With applications at this stage, researchers were able to protect 20 bushels. Strobilurins and triazole compounds are best if applied as a preventative measure for stripe rust, although triazole also shows some post-infection functions as well.

Choosing a stripe-resistant variety is also important – even if it’s a moderately resistant variety. “Although you still see some disease developing, those lesions are often smaller, so they don’t produce as many spores,” Tenuta says. Therefore, spore production is reduced and successive generations decrease substantially.

But, Tenuta cautions, it’s still important to choose a variety that protects against Fusarium first and foremost. “Remember, Fusarium head blight is a risk you have every year. Stripe rust may occur – it may not.” Keep a lookout for stripe rust in your crops starting in May.
Published in Diseases
A team led by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist Jeffrey Herrick has developed an innovative cloud computing platform and suite of mobile apps. The Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) “identifies (and in the near future will deliver) knowledge relevant to specific soils to anyone with a mobile phone,” says Herrick, who is based at the ARS Range Management Research Unit in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

The LandPKS mobile app, which includes the LandInfo and LandCover modules, taps cloud computing, digital and traditional soil-mapping, and GPS data to provide information on the sustainable potential of land under current and future climate conditions.

The current version of the LandInfo module allows the user to collect soil and site topographic data, while the LandCover module is used to document ground cover, vegetation height, plant density, and spatial patterns of vegetation affecting soil erosion. Domestic and international development organizations and land-management agencies are already using the app to crowd-source the local information needed to inform management decisions.

Read the full story here.
Published in Corporate News
Farmers in P.E.I. have the warm fall weather to thank for the extended seeding season of winter wheat and other cover crops. One farmer said he was able to plant more than 1,600 acres of cover crops to help with his crop rotation in the spring. | READ MORE
Published in Other Crops
A new study is helping Quebec researchers understand how to better control soybean aphid in the province.
Published in Insect Pests
Sometimes it’s a good thing to come second. Dry beans are the second choice for western bean cutworm moths looking for a place to lay their eggs. They prefer corn at the pre-tassel stage, but if they can’t find that, then they’ll go to dry bean fields. So far in Ontario, this invasive pest is causing the biggest problems in corn, but western bean cutworm has the potential to be a serious pest in dry beans, as Michigan growers have found.
Published in Insect Pests
In a year like 2016, when sclerotinia stem rot was widespread in canola, the expectation might be that the disease (called white mould in soybean) could have been problematic in soybean as well. Not so, says Dennis Lange, industry development specialist for pulses with Manitoba Agriculture in Altona, Man.
Published in Soybeans
Strip cropping is a method of cultivation in which a variety of crops are sown in alternating strips in a single field. It is a type of intercropping that involves planting crops in distinct rows that can be separately managed.
Published in Insect Pests
Throwing some dirt over the new seedling weeds in your rows isn’t necessarily the end of the story. They could come back, depending on the weed, the tool and the approach you take, according to two weed scientists.

Mechanical weed control, using some form of tillage, still has an important role in weed control in Eastern Canada. Generally, though, it isn’t getting much attention from weed science – as compared to research with herbicides.

South of Lake Ontario, Charles Mohler, a senior weed research associate at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., recently completed semi-basic ecological research on the ability of five annual weed seedlings to recover from burial.

That work has some direct implications for shallow tillage in rows after planting for growers in Ontario and Eastern Canada, says Mike Cowbrough, the field crops weed management specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, in Guelph, Ont.

Most Ontario corn still has some tillage for weed control, although the form can vary, Cowbrough says.

“Tillage is very much crop specific. The majority of corn has either a single pass or double pass. The vast majority of wheat acres are no-till, and soybeans probably fall somewhere in the middle for weed control,” he says.

As for the weeds, common lamb’s-quarter is the most significant annual weed in Ontario, being both abundant and very competitive. Pigweeds (redroot and green), common ragweed, green, yellow and giant foxtails and velvetleaf also are common annuals. Among perennial weeds, perennial sowthistle is most abundant, he says.

“There’s no question that tillage is a critical component of weed management. However, species react in different ways, so the best strategy varies with the weed species,” Cowbrough says.

Basic science
In mid-state New York, with agricultural climate and soils similar to Ontario, Mohler chose to investigate how well five species could recover from burial. The five were common lamb’s-quarters, Powell amaranth (or green pigweed), velvetleaf, giant foxtail and barnyard grass.

Greenhouse experiments began in 2006 and ended with field experiments in 2013.

Farmers have three basic ways to kill a seedling weed with tillage: burial, dismemberment and uprooting.

Mohler says, “Burying seedlings is a very effective way to kill them, but you’ve got to get them completely buried. When we cultivate corn or soybean, we throw four or five inches of soil into the row. You can bury some pretty good-sized seedlings with that much soil.”

In practice, however, burial may not work out. The trials in New York, with more than 35,000 weed seedlings, revealed:
•    Recovery often exceeds 50 per cent if a small portion of a seedling is left exposed.
•    Recovery from complete burial (by two centimetres of soil) ranges from zero to 24 per cent, but recovery greater than five per cent is rare.
•    No seedlings recover from four cm of complete burial.
•    Large-seeded species tend to recover from complete burial better than small-seeded species.
•    If the soil remains dry after burial, the recovery rate is low or may even be zero.
•    Small seedlings are easier to kill by burial, with less soil.

In a controlled greenhouse setting, weed seedbeds were watered daily at first. After burial, some received no water; some were watered immediately after burial and some had daily watering for up to two weeks.

“In one experiment, we got re-emergence of seven seedlings out of thousands that were buried. In another experiment, we watered every day and something like 12 per cent of the velvetleaf re-emerged. Recovery of other species was lower,” Mohler says.

Among the five weeds, generally, velvetleaf was the most successful at recovery.

The final experiment purposely left a small, consistent fraction of leaf area exposed while burying the rest of the seedling, including the growing point, with two cm of soil.

Despite almost complete burial, more than 35 per cent of seedlings recovered in every species. In most cases, more than 50 per cent recovered. Velvetleaf and giant foxtail recovery was 60 to 80 per cent.

That’s the basic science.
Mohler says, “I try to teach, don’t run through a field without thinking about what you’re doing. You need to target the kind of damage you’re trying to inflict. That depends on the soil conditions, the weather conditions, what your implement can do and how you set it up to use it.”

Applied science
In practice, Cowbrough says, effective tillage needs strategy as well as complete weed burial.

First, there’s a need to distinguish perennial from annual weed control. In-crop tillage is better suited for annual weeds in most cases.

Cowbrough says, “Doing a shallow primary tillage pass in spring on dandelions is good eye-candy for a couple weeks, but that’s all. For effective perennial weed control, you really have to get rid of the entire root or the plants can grow back.”

Some annuals, such as eastern black nightshade, germinate very late. Those weeds arise too late for effective in-crop tillage. Canada fleabane is a common annual weed in Ontario and often glyphosate-resistant.

“Tillage is very good at controlling Canada fleabane, if it is aggressive and early. It has to be effective enough to knock the soil off the roots so the fleabane has zero chance of recovery,” Cowbrough says.  

The second point is about timing. Secondary roots develop as the fleabane gets beyond seedling stage.

“Secondary roots hold soil, too. Tillage may uproot the plant but it can eventually recover and grow again as long as it has some secondary roots holding onto soil,” he says.

For ragweed control, there are strategy variations. For an infestation of common ragweed, the best strategy is complete burial.

“You want to bury the common ragweed seed. The deeper you bury it, the less likely it is to germinate,” he says.

But giant ragweed is different, including glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed.

“The best strategy is to leave the seed of giant ragweed on the surface in a no-till environment,” Cowbrough says. “That seed is prone to predation and degradation, and it’s unable to germinate without a bit of disturbance along with moisture and light. Tillage is not an asset for managing that species of ragweed.”

However, if conditions were right and last year’s giant ragweed seed got what it needed, it is likely to be up very early and in huge numbers of seedlings ahead of planting. If you go in with a tillage implement to knock down those giant ragweed seedlings ahead of planting, it is just as effective as a chemical burndown.

Generally, Cowbrough says, tillage tools can be pretty effective at weed management if they are used appropriately.

In the days after a burndown, light disturbance may be enough for burying and controlling weed seedlings that emerge.  

The disc hiller can bury more advanced weeds ahead of planting.  

And, after crop emergence, a treatment with the sweeps on a row crop cultivator can throw a lot of soil within the rows to bury and destroy seedling annuals.

To wrap it all up, Cowbrough offers this advice:

•    Determine the one or two most prominent species to control.
•    Pick the tillage tool that’s best for that job. No one tool will address all the situations.
•    If there’s opportunity, adjust the tool to its best advantages.
Published in Weed Management
In Western Canada, clubroot in canola is a serious problem. In Alberta alone, infestations have been identified in more than 2000 fields across several municipalities. Although clubroot represents a potentially serious threat to canola production in Saskatchewan, so far only a few isolated infestations have been identified. Industry approached researchers to see if there might be an option for controlling clubroot in these small areas and limiting the spread of this soilborne disease to other fields.
Published in Diseases
Swede midge first appeared in canola in Ontario in 2003, and recent extreme populations in northeastern Ontario resulted in the Ontario Canola Growers’ Association (OCGA) strongly recommending in 2015 that producers avoid growing canola for three years across the New Liskeard area in an attempt to suppress swede midge populations.
Published in Insect Pests
Preliminary estimates show 2016 payouts to Western Canadian farmers for crop hail claims of just over $256 million on nearly 20,000 claims. Producer premiums totalled just over $300 million for an industry-wide loss ratio of 84.8 per cent, according to the latest report from the Canadian Crop Hail Association.
Published in Agronomy
Spraying barley crops with RNA molecules that inhibit fungus growth could help protect the plants against disease, according to a new study published in PLOS Pathogens.
Published in Diseases
If parasites want to get to soybeans, they'll have to go through Kansas State University researchers first.
Published in Insect Pests
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