Research
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
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
New genes – showing resistance to the yield-robbing blackleg in canola crops – have been identified in trials.

New South Wales (Australia) Department of Primary Industries senior principal research scientist, Harsh Raman, said the study has unlocked the genetic make-up of canola to characterize major and minor genes resistant to the fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans, which causes blackleg disease.

“Finding new sources of resistance, particularly resistance which is controlled by minor genes, is extremely important to the canola industry,” Dr Raman said. “Blackleg disease can cause up to 80 per cent yield loss in canola - in Australia, France and Canada resistance has been broken down in some canola varieties due to the emergence of new races of the blackleg pathogen.” | READ MORE
Published in Diseases
Today many biofuel refineries operate for only seven months each year, turning freshly harvested crops into ethanol and biodiesel. When supplies run out, biorefineries shut down for the other five months. However, according to recent research, dual-purpose biofuel crops could produce both ethanol and biodiesel for nine months of the year – increasing profits by as much as 30 per cent.

“Currently, sugarcane and sweet sorghum produce sugar that may be converted to ethanol,” said co-lead author Stephen Long, Gutgsell Endowed Professor of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences at the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois. “Our goal is to alter the plants' metabolism so that it converts this sugar in the stem to oil – raising the levels in current cultivars from 0.05 per cent oil, not enough to convert to biodiesel, to the theoretical maximum of 20 per cent oil. With 20 per cent oil, the plant's sugar stores used for ethanol production would be replaced with more valuable and energy dense oil used to produce biodiesel or jet fuel.”

A paper published in Industrial Biotechnology simulated the profitability of Plants Engineered to Replace Oil in Sugarcane and Sweet Sorghum (PETROSS) with 0 per cent, 5 per cent, 10 per cent, and 20 per cent oil. They found that growing sorghum in addition to sugarcane could keep biorefineries running for an additional two months, increasing production and revenue by 20-30 per cent. | READ MORE
Published in Bioenergy
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
Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart announced nearly $7.7 million in funding for 46 crop-related research projects through the province’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

“Research in agriculture is the key to maintaining a competitive edge, and that’s why the federal government, in partnership with provinces and agriculture organizations, invests in research," MacAulay said. "These millions of dollars invested into crops research in Saskatchewan over the years will help create growth and put more money in the pockets of farmers within the sector."

The 46 projects receiving funding this year include research on:

·      Improving plant breeding technology specifically to test for DON toxins that are the result of Fusarium head blight infection in wheat.

·      Optimizing loss-sensing technology on farm equipment to minimize losses at harvest.

·      Development of a pulse-based replacement for shortening that can be used in baked goods, to name a few.

The ADF announcement leverages significant funding from industry partners, on top of government funding.  A total of almost $3.7 million is being committed from partner organizations that include Western Grains Research Foundation, SaskPulse, SaskCanola, SaskFlax, Sask Wheat and Alberta Wheat Commission.

ADF funding is part of the $26.8 million the Government of Saskatchewan committed to agriculture research for 2016-17.  Funding for ADF projects is provided under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative.

For more information, and to see a complete list of funded projects, visit saskatchewan.ca
Published in Corporate News
Kansas State University researchers recently announced a significant breakthrough in controlling the spread of the soybean cyst nematode, a parasitic roundworm that has caused anywhere from five to 100 per cent yield losses in Ontario.

Plant geneticist Harold Trick said the university has received a patent for the technology that “silences” specific genes in the nematode, causing it to die or, at the least, lose the ability to reproduce.

“We have created genetically engineered vectors [or DNA molecules], and put those into soybeans so that when the nematodes feed on the roots of the soybeans, they ingest these small molecules,” said Trick, who has worked closely with plant pathologist Tim Todd on this project.

So far, the scientists have found the technology has reduced the nematode population in greenhouse studies by as much as 85 percent. | READ MORE
Published in Diseases
Generally researchers try to stay ahead of farming practices, but lately they find themselves chasing an explanation for an emerging one.
Published in Seeding/Planting
Scientists at the Conneticut Agricultural Experiment Station are using nanoparticle technology to apply copper to the shoots of plants. Based on preliminary findings in the research, these nanoparticles are better at helping deliver the necessary nutrients to the plants and keep them healthy despite the presence of Fusarium in the soil. | READ MORE
Published in Fertilizer
Research suggests turbines used to capture wind energy may have a positive effect on crops. Gene Takle, professor of agronomy and geological and atmospheric sciences at Iowa State University, says tall wind turbines disbursed throughout a field create air turbulence that may help plants by affecting variables such as temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Wheat planted in sandy soil may be more susceptible to damage when wireworms are present, according to new research from the University of Idaho. Up to 60 per cent of both wheat and barley plants sustained feeding damage in the sandiest soils, compared with 30 to 40 per cent in other soil types. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News

Researchers at the University of Missouri have determined the mechanisms corn plants use to combat the western corn rootworm.

Published in Corn
In 2016, soybean production in Manitoba reached a high of 1.6 million acres. This significant increase is partly due to the introduction of early-maturing soybean varieties that have expanded production to “non-traditional” growing areas. However, frost and near-freezing temperatures in spring and fall still remain a risk for soybean growers in Manitoba.
Published in Soybeans
A University of Manitoba study is generating some surprising results about soil temperatures and soybean planting dates.
Published in Soybeans
Is it practical for farmers on the southern Canadian Prairies to harvest two crops on the same field in the same growing season? It’s an intriguing idea that Jamie Larsen thinks just might work – especially in warmer areas that have irrigation and if one of the two crops is a winter cereal that can be taken off for silage.
Published in Harvesting
Variable rate irrigation is a challenging new topic for both producers and researchers, so we’re excited to be working on it and seeing what we can learn and share with producers,” says Alison Nelson, an agronomist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Manitoba. She is leading a three-year project, which began in 2015, to look into some of the key questions around variable rate irrigation (VRI) in potato production.
Published in Irrigation
A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and university scientists has developed a sensitive new assay method for detecting the fungus that causes wheat blast, a disease of wheat in South America and, most recently, Bangladesh.
Published in Diseases
The federal government will reopen the Frelighsburg Experimental Farm in Quebec, expanding research efforts to strengthen the agriculture sector's ability to adapt to climate change.
Published in Agronomy
The Ontario Corn Committee has released results from the 2016 Hybrid Corn Performance Trials. | READ MORE
Published in Corn
Small plot data from the 2016 Canola Performance Trials (CPT) are now available in the searchable database on the CPT website and in the 2016 CPT small plot data booklet
Published in Canola
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