Agronomy

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that around 45 million tons of phosphorus fertilizers will be used around the world in 2018. Much will be applied to soils that also received phosphorus fertilizers in past years.
Solonetzic soils have a subsurface soil horizon layer characterized by a higher level of sodium (Na) and often an accumulation of clay. This hardpan layer makes soil management and crop production a challenge. These soils occur most commonly in Alberta and Saskatchewan (Figures 1 and 2), and less commonly in Manitoba.   
The research agronomy team from A&L Canada Laboratories based in London, Ont. developed and launched VitTellus Soil Health, a yield-correlated soil health test. The test and recommendation package aims to help farmers and crop consultants make more informed decisions on the application of nutrients and soil management.
Producers who haven’t had a soil test in the last three years could be over-applying, under-applying or unnecessarily applying nutrients. In this week’s crop report, OMAFRA staff provide answers to common soil questions and cover the basics of soil sampling and soil test interpretation. | READ MORE
Over the past 20 years, many western Canadian farmers have shifted to no-till or minimum tillage. During this time, the amount of summer-fallowed land has declined to the point that over 90 per cent of cultivated land is continuously cropped each year.
According to David Lobb, best management practices for soil health might actually have a negative impact on water quality, because any extra phosphorus stored in residue on the soil surface can potentially move into waterways in runoff events.
A research project in southwestern Ontario exploring the benefits of strip tilling is showing promising results in better managing fertilizer and improving crop yields by ensuring the fertilizer stays where it is most needed – with the plant.
More farmers are showing interest in and using an approach called bio strip-till, where specific cover crops are planted in individual strips after the harvest of an early season crop.Goals for using this approach typically include a combination of creating a dark strip in the field with residue to simulate strip till, opening up the soil for cash crop root growth, to keep competitive winter annual species like cereal rye out of the cash crop planting row, and residue management to keep problematic residue out of the planting strip.For the full story and a few examples of bio strip-till being used by farmers in North Dakota, click here.Related: Strip tilling for higher yields
The harvest of 2016 left many fields deeply rutted from combines and grain carts running over wet land. Many farmers had little choice but to till those direct-seeded fields in an attempt to fill in the ruts and smooth out the ground. But where it was once heresy to till a long-term no-till field, a few tillage passes won’t necessarily result in disastrous consequences.
Jeff Schoenau, a soil scientist with the University of Saskatchewan was involved in a research study conducted in the mid-2000s that compared four tillage treatments that were imposed on no-till fields (longer than 10 years) at Rosthern (Black soil), Tisdale (Gray soil) and Central Butte (Brown soil), Sask.
All agronomy recommendations are generalized. They can be specific to a region, but every farm is different,” says Chad Anderson, Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) director for the St. Clair Region. “I have a lot of livestock and use a lot of manure, so my [nitrogen] rates are different than a farm that doesn’t use a lot of manure. The thing about doing your own testing is that it gets away from that generalization.”
"A lot of Manitoba soybean growers are using tillage to try to extend their growing season by warming up and drying out their soils earlier in the spring. They want to be able to plant earlier so their soybeans will have a good chance of maturing before a fall frost arrives,” says Yvonne Lawley, a professor of agronomy and cropping systems at the University of Manitoba.
While applying fertilizer at the time of seeding has many benefits, it is important to use the right amount. Mark Cutts, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, evaluates placement, impact, and types of fertilizer. “Applying too much fertilizer with the seed can impact crop emergence,” says Cutts. “To ensure seed-placed fertilizers are being managed properly, producers need to understand the factors that influence their impact.”
Times change and so do cropping practices, but century-old cropping system experiments continue to give back, thanks to the foresight of researchers who established and maintained the plots for more than 100 years. A recent analysis of nitrogen (N) inputs and removals found a surprising result in a long-term study in Lethbridge, Alta. Nitrogen removal in three different wheat rotations could not be solely attributed to N fertilizer or mineralization.
Fertilize in fall or spring? That’s the question winter wheat growers face every year at seeding time. The Western Winter Wheat Initiative gives suggestions and inputs. | READ MORE
Fertilizer is a costly input needed to optimize crop production. Understanding how fertilizer reacts in soil is important to optimize use and efficiency to grow high yielding crops. It is also important for farmers to understand the short and long-term effects fertilizers can have on soil chemical and biological properties.
Corn is a heavy user of phosphorus (P) and is sensitive to zinc (Zn) deficiencies. In northern corn growing areas typical of the Canadian Prairies, early season cold soils may limit P availability, especially on soils with high residue cover. Additionally, corn following canola, which does not host arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), might also have early season P and Zn deficiencies.
Some Prairie farmers were fortunate enough to have good moisture conditions to band anhydrous ammonia or urea last fall to get a jump on spring seeding. But for the majority of farmers, dry conditions in many parts of the Prairies may mean adjustments to nitrogen (N) applications.
OMAFRA staff share considerations for planting winter wheat in Ontario with growers in their latest crop report. 
A professor in the University of Guelph’s school of environmental sciences says producers should know their goals and set realistic expectations for cover cropping systems.
Good news stories from western Canadian farmers about the many benefits of intercropping have made their way to Ontario.
Forage inventories are in low supply for many livestock producers, but harvested cereal fields can be used to produce more forage this fall, according to OMAFRA's latest crop report. 
In 2018, Canadian farmers reported seeding less land to canola and soybeans - crops that were both at record levels in 2017, according to the results of Statistics Canada’s June Field Crop Survey on seeded areas.
Several regions of Quebec will start planting quinoa following the success of Ontario producers and processors of quinoa.
Cabbage seedpod weevil was first found in canola crops in southern Alberta in 1995, and has since spread to central Alberta, much of Saskatchewan and recently reached Manitoba. Originally, a nominal threshold level canola growers were advised to spray was three to six weevils per one 180-degree sweep at the early flower stage based on experience from Washington State.
Recent scouting efforts and grower calls have indicated an increased presence of corn earworm in Ontario corn fields, according to OMAFRA's latest crop report. Some fields have reported high levels of the pest and late planted fields are the most at risk.
OMAFRA staff share their 2018 seasonal insect pest summary for the province of Ontario. Swede midge, armyworm and western bean cutworm were not big problems for canola, wheat and corn compared to previous years. In contrast, pests like cereal leaf beetle, alfalfa weevil, soybean aphids and pea aphids reached thresholds in some fields.
Quinoa growers commonly find goosefoot groundling moth, tarnished plant bug, quinoa downy mildew, and Passalora leaf spot each season in Ontario quinoa fields. 
In Ontario there are a few pests to be concerned about before crops are harvested. OMAFRA's field crop team breaks down how to look for and treat Western bean cutworm, bean leaf beetle, stink and tarnished plant bugs in their latest crop report. 
A research scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in P.E.I is investigating natural ways to deal with pests that damage cabbage, canola and potatoes. 
The most significant variable associated with mycotoxin test results comes from incorrect sample collection or uneven distribution of infected kernels in a load. 
Visible symptoms of clubroot have been confirmed in 37 Saskatchewan canola fields across the northern agricultural regions to date.
Clubroot continues to be a disease risk to canola crops across Alberta, with more than 2,700 clubroot-infested fields now confirmed, along with a few isolated cases in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Although good clubroot resistant (CR) varieties have been available for about 10 years, there are an increasing number of fields in Alberta where new strains of the pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae have overcome the resistance.
The fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, which causes stem rot, is a major economic disease in canola that impacts the crop across all of Canada’s growing regions.
The 2018 grain corn ear mould and vomitoxin (DON) survey found 60 per cent of Ontario grain corn samples tested low - less than two parts per million (ppm), for DON.
The Ontario Ministry of Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) is conducting its annual survey sampling grower corn fields to determine ear mould incidence and the occurence of mycotoxins in grain. 
Ontario seed corn acreage was down this year, at about 15,000 acres, according to Chris Nanni, administrative manager of the Seed Corn Growers of Ontario.
You’ve scouted and know what weeds are present in your fields. You’ve paid attention to what weeds are prevalent in your region. And you’ve used an integrated management strategy that combines treating with the recommended modes of actions and using cultural practices like planting clean seed, controlling weeds along field edges and tilling to discourage weed germination.
There are now 41 glyphosate-resistant weeds in the world. Seventeen of those occur in the United States. There are six species in Canada, and four of those occur in Ontario. In Ontario, glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed was confirmed in 2008, Canada fleabane in 2010, common ragweed in 2011 and waterhemp in 2014.
Presented by Breanne Tidemann, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Lacombe, Alta., at the Herbicide Resistance Summit, Feb 27-28, Saskatoon.In order for harvest weed seed control (HWSC) to be effective, weed seeds still have to be retained on the plant at the time of harvest. If they’ve already dropped to the soil, they’re already in the seed bank. The weed seeds also need to be at a height where they can be collected by the combine. For example, chickweed is very low growing and its seeds are very low to the ground. Most producers don’t cut that low to the ground because of risk of damaging their equipment, so chickweed would not be a good candidate for harvest weed seed control.Harvest weed seed control also means being able to get the weed into the combine. An example is a big tumbleweed, such as kochia. If the tumbleweed won’t feed into the combine and goes over top of the header, then you won’t be able to get the seeds into the combine for harvest weed seed control.There are different methods of harvest weed seed control. Some of them have been scientifically evaluated in Australia. One of the most common methods is narrow windrow burning. The straw and chaff are dropped into windrows using metal chutes that are attached to the back of the combine. It’s cheap and easy to implement. But there are environmental impacts because it does involve burning. From a practical point of view, it may not work in western Canada, but it is used a lot in Australia.Chaff carts were originally developed in Canada. The Australians have modified Canadian chaff carts and use a conveyer system instead of a blower system to move the chaff to the cart. They’ve also adopted new technologies to make burning or collection easier and more efficient. Some of the chaff carts are programmed with GPS to dump the chaff in a certain area of the field to be grazed or burnt. There was one Australian producer that commented he’s been using a chaff cart for 15 years, and about 10 years in he started seeing annual ryegrass that was much shorter, much lower to the ground and was dropping its seeds much earlier. So this is still a selection pressure. You will select for resistance to these methods if it’s what you’re relying on to control your populations.The bale direct system bales chaff and straw directly behind the combine into a square bale. The square bales are removed from the field, taking the weed seeds with them. The loss of the residue from the field can be detrimental in terms of nutrients loss. And there is potential for transport of weed seeds in the bale from one region to another, potentially moving herbicide resistant weeds with the bale. The other issue in Australia is one producer started doing this and he saturated the entire market. The bales can also be pelletized to produce pelletized sheep feed, but again it’s a relatively small market. So market can be an issue with this methodology.The Harrington Seed Destructor uses a cage mill to grind the chaff and weed seeds. The cage mill has two counter-rotating plates that spin very fast in the opposite directions. The weed seeds go in to the middle of the mill and have to move from the inside out to continue to move through the system. The straw moves along a conveyor belt and goes through a spreader at the back. Only the chaff is processed through the cage mill. The disadvantage is that the first model was towed behind the combine and required a lot of horsepower.The tow-behind model was always intended as step one. The Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) is mounted on the combine and uses the same cage mill system. The integrated model had several improvements. Instead of having the two counter-rotating plates there’s only one rotating plate and one stationary plate, but that rotating one turns twice as fast. It is a hydraulically driven machine and takes about 80 horsepowers from the combine to run this machine.A new combine mounted seed impact implement was first announced January 2017. The Seed Terminator is competition to the Harrington Seed Destructor. It uses a slightly different type of mill called a multi-stage hammer mill, but it works on essentially the same idea of crushing or grinding those seeds so that they’re dead and can’t grow the next year. This is mechanically driven rather than hydraulically driven. In terms of price differences, the original tow behind Harrington Seed Destructor was about $200,000. The integrated Harrington Seed Destructor is somewhere around $150,000. The Seed Terminator is about $100,000. So what you’re seeing is as these competitors come to the market that price point is dropping, and we do expect that to continue.Chaff deck or chaff tramlining works in a controlled traffic system. The idea is to put chaff on the permanent tramlines so if weeds grow there isn’t much impact on overall yield. The chaff in the tramline is also driven over multiple times, which can impair weed growth, and there is potential for seed decomposition in those tramlines. What farmers have seen is that there are fewer weeds growing in the tramlines, but it hasn’t been scientifically evaluated at this point.Chaff lining can still be used outside of a controlled traffic system. The chaff is placed in a narrow row to decompose instead of spreading the seeds across the entire field. However, there is potential for some seeding or emergence issues if you’re seeding through this concentrated chaff row. It hasn’t been researched, but a lot of producers are adopting this in Australia as their first step in harvest weed seed control because it’s inexpensive and easy to implement. The Australian experience In Australia, a 2016 survey of 602 growers were asked about their adoption of narrow windrow burning, chaff carts, chaff tramlining, the bale direct, and the HSD. The Seed Terminator and integrated Harrington Seed Destructor were not released at the time so they don’t show up in the survey. Across Australia 43 per cent of producers were using some method of harvest weed seed control. Narrow windrow burning was the most common. In Western Australia that number goes up to about 63 per cent. Western Australia is essentially where all of these methods were developed. Western Australia is really the epicentre because of herbicide resistance, and harvest weed seed control is spreading out from there. The adoption of chaff tramlining this past harvest has skyrocketed. There is a lot more discussion about different systems on social media, and a lot more discussion about what works and what doesn’t work than we’ve see in past years. If that survey was to be redone I think we would see some of the tramlining and chaff lining skyrocketing.Results from the same survey show that 82 per cent of producers said they expected to adopt some form of harvest weed seed control in the next five years with 46 per cent expecting to use narrow windrow burning. More producers would like to be using the iHSD, but they had concerns about the cost and the perception that it was unproven in terms of weed kill. The perception of unproven control of weed seeds is interesting because weed kill is where there is the most research. Research has been done in Australia to show how effective harvest weed seed control was on controlling annual ryegrass populations in “focus paddocks” or “focus fields.” The research compared crop rotations where harvest weed seed control was used in 38 per cent of crops compared to rotations where it was only used in 11 per cent of crops. The ryegrass population was managed far more effectively where harvest weed seed control was used, and it has stayed very low.Effects of HWSC in Australia: Photo courtesy of Michael Walsh. Potential in Canada In Western Canada we’ve believed that the physical impact implements that destroy seeds are most likely to have the best fit. They don’t require the burning, and it has some scientific testing behind it that shows it’s effective. So that’s where researchers have focused efforts in terms of testing a method for Western Canada. We looked at the top 10 weeds in Saskatchewan and gave them a seed retention rating -- how well does the weed holds onto those seeds until harvest. A number of weeds are in the good or fair to good retention rating, and that’s promising. Green foxtail gets a good retention rating while buckwheat gets a fair to good. Volunteer canola is rated good. The unfortunate ones are the poors: wild oat, spiny annual sow thistle, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard. Those have poor retention and are unlikely to be primary targets for harvest weed seed control because a lot of their seeds are already gone by harvest.Looking at some small plot experiments, seed retention of wild oat, cleavers, and volunteer canola was looked at. Volunteer canola retained most of its seed by the end of September, cleavers was intermediate and wild oat retained about 20 per cent of the seed by the end of September.Kochia has good seed retention. Their seeds only mature after harvest, so most of the seed is still there at harvest, but the concern is that below the cutting height, typically six inches, there can still be over 5,000 seeds below that cutting height. So even though a lot of seed is collected by the combine, there could still be a lot missed and left in the field. At this point we aren’t sure what impact harvest weed seed control would have on kochia. As part of my PhD research, we looked at running samples through the Harrington Seed Destructor in a stationary format set up in the shop. We mixed buckets of chaff with weed seeds and ran them through to determine how many are destroyed. We looked at five weed seed species: kochia, green foxtail, cleavers, volunteer canola, and wild oat. We put 10,000 seeds of each of those species into a five-gallon pail of chaff, put it into the Seed Destructor and assessed how many lived when they came out the other side. A second study looked at weed seed size. Weed seed species are all different shapes, sizes and seed coat types. We took canola seeds and we hand sieved them to get thousand kernel weights between 2.2 grams per 1,000 and 5.8 grams per thousand. We also looked at weed seed number by comparing 10 canola seeds up to a million canola seeds in the same volume of chaff. We also looked at chaff volume, so 10,000 canola seeds going through with no chaff or up to eight five-gallon pails of chaff in the same timeframe. And we also looked at chaff type, so barley, canola, and peas. When we looked at weed seed species we did find significant differences in terms of control but our lowest level of control was still over 97 per cent killed. It worked really well on all the species that we tested. In terms of canola seed size, we expected to see an increase in control as the size of the canola seed went up, and we did. But again, we’re within a percentage point of 98.5 per cent control so weed seed size isn’t a big factor in control.Looking at weed seed number, once you have over 100 seeds going through, we were back up at that 98 per cent control. As we increased the amount of chaff going in, initially our control increased, which may be that there’s more deflection within that mill. Those seeds get hit an extra time or two, and then it started to taper off. But again, we are in the 98 to 99 per cent control so it’s not going to have a huge impact in the field. There was a similar story with chaff type. We did have less control in our canola chaff but we were running volunteer canola seeds through the seed destructor so there was likely a background presence of volunteer canola in our canola chaff that we did not account for. But again it’s by one-half per cent and we are still getting 98 to 98.5 per cent control. In summary, what we found with the seed destructor was if you can get the weed seeds into the seed destructor you’re going to kill most of them – greater than 95 per cent. The big question now is how does it work in the field? The answer is we don’t know yet. We have an ongoing study with the seed destructor in 20 producer fields where the seed destructor is in the field at harvest time. We harvest with the seed destructor and compare it to a pass with the seed destructor not milling the chaff. We learned a lot of lessons in 2017.The first is that air velocity is really key. Chaff needs to be moved from the sieves, up and into the input of the tow behind Harrington. In order to get the chaff from the sieves, it has to go up into an input tube, and takes a fair bit of air velocity. If your air velocity is too low, your machine will plug. And if you don’t catch the plug fast enough, you end up with burning belts. Greener, wet material also doesn’t work. We know it takes a lot more effort for the combine to thresh green or wet material. It’s a similar story with the mills. You need higher air velocity, and without it the green, wet material can plug where it forms a nice solid block of really hot, wet chaff in the blower. Green, wet material doesn’t grind well, either. So if you have green material in the field desiccation or swathing is going to be needed to dry the material down. The other complication the tow behind HSD is a big machine that has problems with hills. The integrated seed destructor or the Seed Terminator makes a lot more sense for Western Canada. The research that’s been done in Australia shows that the tow behind unit and the integrated unit are very similar in terms of their control, so it’s still a valid test for those integrated units in Western Canada.An example from a single field in 2017 shows some interesting results, although very preliminary. We compared photos from an untreated and treated Seed Destructor pass. There was substantially less volunteer canola in the treated pass after harvest. There is still some volunteer canola, but there’s substantially less.We hope to start seeing benefits in the spring of 2018, but it is a three-year study. We’ll be back on the same locations for the next two harvests so that we can take into account the seed bank buffering that we’ll see in terms of our treatments. These are new strategies. There’s always going to be bugs to work out, but they can be very effective in helping us manage the herbicide resistance that we’re currently facing.For more stories on this topic, check out Top Crop Manager's Focus On: Herbicide Resistance, the first in our digital edition series.
Implementing a winter canola-soybean double crop can be a potential way to overcome challenges in soybean and canola production in Ontario, according to OMAFRA's latest CropTalk newsletter.Eric Page, research scientist in weed ecology, and Sydney Meloche, weed science technician, at AAFC Harrow Research and Development Center have conducted planting trials looking into the feasibility of this idea. Although they have yet to work out all of the agronomic issues involved with implementing a winter canola-soybean double crop, the early results are promising.Soybean and canola production in Ontario is challenging due to a number of factors. Soybean production in Southwestern Ontario has to overcome the prescence of multiple glyphosate resistant weed species. Canola production faces challenges like swede midge and clubroot. Winter canola and soybean double crop could allow canola production to escape swede midge pressure while helping to stem soybean yield losses in longer season regions of the province. Page's research will continue to explore questions related to a winter canola-soybean double crop. Farmers who are interested in the research or providing feedback are encouraged to reach out at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Read here for more information on the details and results of trials.
Early weed control has many benefits as weeds compete with crops for nutrients, water, and light. “Research on weeds germinating before the crop emerges as compared to crop emerging before the weeds shows a very significant drop in yield loss when the crop emerges prior to the weeds,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “A pre-seed burn-off with a herbicide or final cultivation should be as close to the seeding activity as possible to prevent weeds getting the jump on the crop.” All crops have a critical weed control period, which is the time when the crop is susceptible to significant yield loss from weed competition. The critical weed control period for canola is around 17 to 38 days after emergence. Peas can be as early as two weeks after emergence. “Other, more competitive crops, like the cereals, have a less defined critical period,” Brook says. “Corn’s critical period depends more on nitrogen availability than anything else. If you can keep the weed pressure down until the critical period is passed, you minimize yield losses from weed competition.” Field scouting is essential to giving an edge battling weeds, notes Brook. “Field scouting tells you what weeds are present and their density. Once a field has been scouted and a weed problem identified, the degree of threat needs to be assessed. An example of an early, non- yield threatening weed is whitlow grass. It’s a very slow growing, small plant that bolts and goes to seed, usually before seeding. It’s not a direct threat to the crop. However, if other weedy plants are also present in sufficient numbers and are a threat to yield, you can choose an appropriate control measure.” Winter annual weeds like stinkweed, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, shepherd’s purse, scentless chamomile, and many others can start growing in the fall. They overwinter as a small rosette but are then quickly able to go to seed once spring arrives. “Control of them in the spring requires very early action. You need to know the weeds present to choose the best control method. Crop volunteers from previous years are also an increasingly problematic weed obstacle. Volunteer canola is one of our top weed control issues every year. These and other problem weeds will require additional products when applying a spring burn-off with glyphosate.” To get the best result from any early herbicide application, Brook says the herbicide must be applied when the weeds are actively growing. “Under cool or cold conditions you can expect poor results from the spray as the target weeds are either dormant or growing too slowly. They cannot absorb and translocate enough active ingredient to kill them. Weeds also have to be large enough to absorb enough herbicide to be killed, yet not too large to have already affect crop yield from competition. Low spray volumes and coarse sprays can lead to insufficient herbicide landing on the plants. Best temperatures for application should ideally be above 12 to 15 C, when the plants are actively photosynthesizing. If it was frosty in the morning, waiting until a warm afternoon will improve efficacy.” Another tool in the weed control toolbox is the competitive nature of the crop itself. “Highly competitive crops can reduce the effects of weeds on yield. Once a crop canopy has covered the soil, sunlight no longer can penetrate to the ground and weeds stop germinating,” adds Brook. “Heavier seeding rates can also squeeze out weeds. Hybrid canola and barley are our two most competitive crops. You still have to choose a competitive variety. Semi-dwarf barleys are less competitive than regular barleys. Heavier seeding rates always increase the crop’s competitive nature against weeds. Thin crops allow light to hit the ground, stimulating more weed growth.” For more information, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
Wet weather during the 2018 harvest has forced many producers to take their crop off the field at high moisture levels. Artificial drying can help reduce the risk of spoilage due to excess moisture, but it is important to follow proper drying practices to prevent heat damage.
Reports from earlier this summer suggest that Western Canadian producers are on pace to have larger than average grain carry over into the 2018-2019 crop year. Ryan Furtas, input market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, breaks down the findings from this year’s Grain Storage: Considerations report and what producers should consider when looking for more grain storage. | READ MORE
What if monitoring temperature controls was automated, and a grain bin itself could warn suppliers of low levels?That's the theory behind an emerging category of technology called "the Internet of things (IOT)," and it's leading to better business outcomes for farms and food business across Canada.Kyle Arbuckle, of Kitchener, Ontario-based blueRover, says agriculture and food is one key area of focus for the company, which serves clients across North America. | READ MORE
Some fungi such as Fusarium and Penicillium can infect the grain of corn, wheat and other cereals and may produce toxins under certain conditions. Preventing or minimizing the accumulation of these toxins is very important for ensuring food and feed safety and for maintaining the grain’s value in the marketplace. A recent study shows that ultraviolet (UV) light might offer another way to decrease fungi and fungal toxins in harvested cereals.
About a decade ago, Kyle Folk was at his parents’ grain farm helping his dad load up a semi of canola to meet a contract when the two made an unpleasant discovery.
One of the first research questions was to determine what we expected aeration to do and what the main objectives were,” says Ron Palmer, IHARF research engineer. “The first reason was to remove some of the moisture from the grain, especially if it is tough.
As of Nov. 9, 1,300 producers have called Agricorp to report damage to grain corn due to deoxynivalenol (DON). Agricorp is an Ontario organization delivering risk management programs to the agriculture industry and is currently asking its customers to collect and document DON samples, tests and rejections to quantify the loss and support any claims. 
Manitoba’s overall crop harvest progress is at 97 per cent complete, according to the latest provincial crop report.
Since mid-October, warmer-than-average temperatures have allowed producers across Alberta to make significant harvest progress, according to the province’s latest crop report.
Mouldy corn can be harvested, cleaned, stored, used as feedstock for anaerobic biodigesters, sent to ethanol plants, burned or mowed and incorporated as corn residue.
Ontario's 2018 Grain Corn Ear Mould and DON survey found 60 per cent of samples tested low for DON, a increase from last year. However, the Ontario grain industry is prepared and able to process high DON corn with minimal impact.
Provincial soil moisture ratings are gradually improving, with 74 per cent of the average surface soil moisture currently rated as good or excellent, according to Alberta's latest crop report. 
An Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada researcher has identified a gene that will be key in breeding new soybean cultivars with resistance to Phytophthora sojae, which annually causes up to $50 million in losses in Canada and between $1 billion and $2 billion in losses globally.
Being the only flax breeder in Western Canada puts the onus on Helen Booker to target traits that are of keen interest to flax growers, processors and users. Her program is working on a wide range of advances – from stronger disease resistance, greater adaptation to northern conditions, and increased yields, to larger seeds, yellow seed coats and higher alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) levels in the oil.
Increasingly, research is showing that canola root-associated microbiomes can impact crop growth and nutrient uptake. Some of the soil micro-organisms are beneficial to plants that protect them against pathogens, mitigate the impact of abiotic stress, improve plant nutrition or stimulate plant growth by phytohormones.
Winter wheat has major environmental benefits. It helps reduce wind and water based soil erosion, out competes many weeds, and generally conserves energy because of the fewer field operations.
In Western Canada, wheat is the largest acreage cereal crop, however increasingly variable climate conditions and stresses such as drought can affect plant development, yield and profitability for growers. Researchers and plant breeders are looking for new tools and strategies to advance high yielding, more drought tolerant varieties of high quality wheat for growers.
The journal Science published the highest quality genome sequence produced to date for the bread wheat variety Chinese Spring, which would lead to further innovation in wheat breeding and improving the crop. 
For bread lovers, there is nothing quite as delightful as a mouthful of soft, fresh bread – and nothing quite as disappointing as hard, stale bread. Now a new stay-fresh wheat line developed in Saskatchewan offers several extra days of that wonderful fresh-baked quality.
Monsanto Company and Corteva Agriscience agreed to expand the license for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend technology for soybeans.
Unregulated genetically modified (GM) and herbicide-resistant wheat has been found growing near an isolated access road in southern Alberta, according to a statement by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Kansas State University researchers have discovered how weeds develop resistance to the popular herbicide glyphosate, a finding that could have broad future implications in agriculture and many other industries.Their work is detailed in an article that appears in the March 12 edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).“Herbicide resistance in weeds has been a huge problem, not only in Kansas and the U.S. but many parts of the world,” said Mithila Jugulam, a K-State weed scientist and co-author of the PNAS article.“What we found that was new was how these weeds have evolved resistance to glyphosate in such a short time. If you look at the evolution of glyphosate resistance in Palmer amaranth, based on our research, it appears to have occurred very rapidly.”Palmer amaranth and common waterhemp are the two troublesome pigweeds in Kansas agricultural fields, as well as other parts of the United States. Glyphosate – the key ingredient in the popular Roundup brand – is the herbicide that is widely used for controlling many weeds. But Jugulam notes that glyphosate resistance is becoming more prevalent in many states.“We found that glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth plants carry the glyphosate target gene in hundreds of copies,” Jugulam said. “Therefore, even if you applied an amount much higher than the recommended dose of glyphosate, the plants would not be killed.”Bikram Gill, director of Kansas State University’s Wheat Genetics Resource Center who has worked in plant genetics for nearly 50 years, said the researchers knew pretty quickly that the genetic makeup of resistant weeds was different.“Normally, the genetic material in all organisms – including humans – is found in long, linear DNA molecules, called chromosomes,” said Gill, another co-author of the study. “But when (K-State researchers) Dal-Hoe Koo and Bernd Friebe, the chromosome experts on the team, looked at these glyphosate-resistant weeds, the glyphosate target gene, along with other genes actually escaped from the chromosomes and formed a separate, self-replicating circular DNA structure.”Scientists refer to this structure as extra-chromosomal circular DNA (eccDNA). Each eccDNA has one copy of the gene that produces an enzyme that is the target for glyphosate.“Because of the presence of hundreds of eccDNAs in each cell, the amount of the enzyme is also abundant,” Gill said. “Therefore, the plant is not affected by glyphosate application and the weed is resistant to the herbicide.”Gill said the indications are that once a weed has acquired eccDNA, the resistance may evolve as quickly as in one generation.“We think that the resistance via eccDNA is transitory: It can be passed to the weed’s offspring and other related weed species,” he said. “We have somehow caught it in between becoming permanently resistant. Eventually, we think that these eccDNAs can be incorporated into the linear chromosome. If that happens, then they will become resistant forever.”The same K-State group recently published research on common waterhemp in the scientific journal, Plant Physiology, reporting that “a portion of the linear chromosome containing the target gene broke to form a ring chromosome carrying several copies of the glyphosate target gene,” according to Jugulam.Armed with their new knowledge, the researchers can begin work on developing strategies to negate resistance in weeds.
New research has identified genes that control vitamin E content in maize grain, a finding that could lead to improving the nutritional profile of this staple crop.Cornell University scientists and colleagues from other institutions combined different types of genetic association analyses to identify 14 genes across the genome that were involved in the synthesis of vitamin E. Six genes were newly discovered to encode proteins that contribute to a class of antioxidant compounds called tocochromanols, collectively known as vitamin E. Along with antioxidant properties, tocochromanols have been associated with good heart health in humans and proper functioning in plants. READ MORE
Real-time DNA sequencing, anywhere, anytime, is one step closer to making the jump from science fiction to science fact, according to researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. A recent paper published in Scientific Reports outlined how the team used a MinION portable DNA sequencer to analyze plant species in the field.
Leaving corn unharvested over winter poses a new set of problems. Photo courtesy of David Hooker.   There are years when it can be extremely difficult for farmers to harvest some of their corn acres. Excessive rainfall during the harvest period may result in fields that are too wet to be combined. In other years, cooler-than-normal weather during the growing season can result in high grain corn moisture levels and prohibitively high drying costs. In this case, farmers may opt to harvest the corn in spring, leaving it to dry down naturally to reduce drying costs. However, leaving the corn unharvested over winter comes with another set of challenges. There is an increased risk of lodging over winter, impacting crop harvestability and grain yield, explains David Hooker from the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus. Hooker and his associates set out to identify potential management strategies that farmers could use to improve crop yield and quality in spring-harvested corn. There has been limited research into how to manage corn with the explicit intent of overwintering for a spring harvest, Hooker says. One trial in Wisconsin during 2000 and 2001 comparing fall- and spring-harvested corn plots showed yield losses could vary considerably. For example, with heavy snow cover, losses were 38 to 65 per cent, compared to a winter with little snow when yield losses were only seven to 10 per cent. However, newer hybrids with the Bt trait and genetics for improved stalk strength may have the potential to improve standability over the winter, Hooker says. In southern Ontario, the standard management practices for corn production consist of planting at a relatively high plant population (80,000 plants per hectare), applying a foliar fungicide only if there is justifiable disease potential, harvesting in the autumn when grain moisture is approximately 25 per cent or less, and drying grain down to 15.5 per cent using on-farm grain dryers or through commercial elevators. A review of the literature revealed some possible strategies for reducing yield losses associated with overwintering corn. These included selecting a hybrid with superior stalk strength, selecting later maturing hybrids, planting at a reduced population (i.e. 60,000 plants per hectare or 24,000 plants per acre). Another possible management strategy is to apply a foliar fungicide around tasseling time, which has been shown to delay leaf senescence and improve stalk strength, which can contribute to improved standability. Field experiments were initiated to compare the effects of hybrid maturity, plant population, foliar fungicide application and harvest timing on grain yield and standability. Field experiments were initiated in 2009 and 2010 at five separate locations in southern Ontario near Belmont, Ridgetown and Lucan. Of the three locations, Lucan usually receives more snow because it is in the snowbelt region of southwestern Ontario, leeward of Lake Huron. Researchers compared spring versus fall harvest, plant populations (60,000 or 80,000 plants per hectare), with and without an application of Quilt foliar fungicide, and three corn hybrids with differing maturities. The parameters observed were stay-green in the autumn, lodging in spring, and grain yield, moisture and test weight of corn harvested in autumn and spring. The results point to an overwintering management strategy for corn, which consists of planting at a reduced plant population (24,000 plants per acre) and spraying the crop with a foliar fungicide around tasseling. This strategy minimized yield losses across all hybrids by between 3.5 per cent and 13.2 per cent at four out of five field locations through improvements in corn standability, compared to when the crop overwintered using a standard population and no fungicide application. While lower plant populations resulted in better standability, it was usually at the expense of some grain yield, Hooker says. An economic analysis of the yield data in this study would be of value to growers, he adds. Unfortunately, while the overwintering management strategy was an improvement over previous reports of yield losses, lodging was still at unacceptable levels at most locations. High winds, heavy snowfall and other adverse weather conditions can overwhelm any management strategy geared to help mitigate the risks associated with overwintering corn, Hooker says. “At the Lucan location, 100 per cent of the corn was lodged in the spring.” The study did not look at the effect of overwintering corn on grain vomitoxin levels. Hooker would like to see this addressed in future research. “Overwintering corn should be considered on a year- and field-specific basis,” he concludes. For example, overwintering may be considered if grain moisture is extremely high (greater than 34 per cent) in November, if drying costs are high, the corn is of inferior quality (the grade of corn can improve with a spring harvest) and if root and stalk strength are excellent. “The practice of harvesting corn in the spring carries significant risk, mainly due to root and stalk lodging and reduced harvestability,” Hooker says. In areas where the winters are typically harsh, overwintering corn is a risky practice regardless of the management strategy deployed, he cautions.   
Feb. 3, 2016 - Monsanto is commercializing its dicamba-tolerant Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans in Canada in time for the 2016 growing season, after the company received import approval from China's Ministry of Agriculture. Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are the industry's first biotech-stacked trait in soybeans to combine the yield potential of the Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybean trait, along with tolerance to both glyphosate and dicamba. According to Monsanto, field trial results and large scale farmer demonstration trials have shown that the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Crop System is an effective and sustainable weed management tool for tough-to-control and glyphosate-resistant weeds. To complement the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean trait launch in Canada, Monsanto is also launching XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip Technology, a low-volatility liquid dicamba formulation developed for use in the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. In the United States, the use of dicamba herbicide over the top of Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans remains in late stage of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) review and is not currently approved by the EPA. "Managing glyphosate-resistant weeds in soybeans is a growing challenge for many Canadian farmers, particularly in Eastern Canada and they have been looking forward to this important new tool," said Dan Wright, trait launch lead with Monsanto Canada. "The ability to use dicamba, in addition to glyphosate, provides multiple modes of action on every acre and is important to promote long-term sustainability on the farm." In Canada, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans are expected to be available in more than 30 varieties, covering the key soybean growing regions of Southwest Ontario; Eastern Ontario and Quebec; and Western Canada. Growers who have not yet placed pre-orders for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean seed may still have that opportunity pending available supply and should check with their local seed retailer. For more information, farmers can contact their seed dealer or visit www.genuitytraits.ca.    
Jan. 28, 2016 - Canadian growers now have a new, improved version of herbicide, SOLO WG that has been used to help control tough grassy and broadleaf weeds in Clearfield crops. BASF Canada has received registration from the Pest Management Regulatory Agency for SOLO ADV herbicide for use on Clearfield lentils, Clearfield canola, Clearfield sunflowers and soybeans for the 2016 season. Post-emergence broadleaf and grass herbicide SOLO ADV offers maximum re-cropping flexibility and easy handling because of its unique liquid formulation with the adjuvant built in. SOLO ADV controls weeds growing at the time of application and offers exceptional follow-crop safety. In addition, SOLO ADV offers broad-spectrum weed control for Clearfield lentils and Clearfield sunflowers. The new SOLO ADV liquid formulation will replace the current SOLO WG dry formulation and will be available for sale in the 2016 season. READ MORE.  
Glyphosate-resistant weeds are not a new problem in Canada, but producers must be proactive to keep these weeds from getting out of control. There are now five glyphosate-resistant weeds found in Canada: giant ragweed, common ragweed, water-hemp, Canada fleabane and kochia (which is currently the only glyphosate-resistant weed not found in Ontario). Giant ragweed, the first glyphosate-resistant weed found in Canada, is an aggressive weed that can cause substantial yield losses in field crops if left unchecked. Although it’s not a new problem – giant ragweed was first discovered in Canada in 2008 in Essex County, at the tip of southwestern Ontario – it’s a growing issue, according to Peter Sikkema, a researcher at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus. He notes glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed has so far been confined to the six most southerly counties of the province. However, the weed is becoming increasingly prevalent in corn and soybean fields, and growers need to be vigilant in order to protect their fields. Sikkema warns that if no action is taken to control giant ragweed (Ambrosia trifida L.), the potential yield loss is very high. His research has shown yield losses in corn from giant ragweed ranged from 63 to 82 per cent, with an average of 72 per cent. In soybean, the yield losses ranged from 19 to 96 per cent, with an average of 73 per cent. In the past, giant ragweed was mainly found along roadsides and creeks, but a shift to no-till soybean production has allowed giant ragweed to gain a foothold in southwestern Ontario, according to Sikkema. The annual weed reproduces by seed and grows up to four metres in height. According to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Publication 505: Weeds, “It is distinguished by its very tall stature, its large, lobed but not divided leaves, its long, slender spikes of pollen-producing flower heads and its large, angular seeds with spines around the upper shoulder.” For allergy sufferers, its pollen is a common allergen from August to September in southwestern Ontario. When it comes to controlling glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed in corn, soybean and winter wheat fields, Sikkema says farmers have options. The first line of defense is to use good crop husbandry practices that keep weed populations in check. Using a diverse crop rotation of three or more crops and using herbicides with multiple modes of action is fundamental, Sikkema advises. Other good practices include seeding a cover crop after winter wheat harvest and using practices that give the crop a competitive advantage, such as seeding at higher populations, using narrower row spacing, and controlling insects and diseases, he adds. Aggressive tillage in spring might be able to control giant ragweed, but Sikkema has doubts about this method of control, particularly the negative effects of aggressive tillage on soil structure and soil health. “I’m not sure that’s a practice that’s sustainable long-term,” he says. When it comes to control of glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed with alternate herbicides, the options vary by crop. “We have good solutions in corn,” Sikkema says. “Marksman, Banvel and Distinct can be used post-emergence in corn.” In winter wheat crops, 2,4-D, along with Target, Estaprop, Lontrel and Trophy give good control. In soybean crops, he has found Roundup plus 2,4-D tank-mixed applied pre-plant, seven days before seeding soybean, is very effective. “It’s important to have that seven-day interval to prevent injury to the soybean.” With soybean, Sikkema notes it’s important to control glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed before the soybean comes up. There are no herbicides applied post-emergent that provide acceptable control of glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed in soybean, he says. Giant ragweed seedlings initially emerge in early spring. They can be identified by their spatulate (spoon-shaped) cotyledons, which unfold from a hairless hypocotyl and an indentation at the base of the cotyledons. The first true leaves are entire and ovate with deep lobes. Farmers are doing a good job of managing glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed, Sikkema says. However, he cautions that some giant ragweed biotypes have multiple resistances to both glyphosate and Group 2 herbicides. In the future, Sikkema says the Roundup Ready Xtend soybean, which are resistant to both Roundup and dicamba, will give farmers another tool for managing glyphosate-resistant weeds.        
Nov. 27, 2015 - The Canadian Weed Science Society / Société canadienne de malherbologie (CWSS-SCM) honored several individuals for their extraordinary contributions to the field of weed science. The awards were presented during the organization's 69th annual meeting, held Nov 22-26, 2015 in Edmonton, Alta. Excellence in Weed Science Award (sponsored by Dow AgroSciences): CWSS-SCM honored Stephen Darbyshire, a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa, Ont. Stephen's research focuses on developing new information on the taxonomy, phylogeny, and distribution of weeds and invasive plants. He has collected approximately 10,000 specimens of plant, bryophyte, and fungal specimens, primarily from Canada. Darbyshire has served on the board of directors for CWSS-SCM and has held numerous leadership positions within the society, including publications director. He has published more than 95 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 50 monographs or book chapters, supervised and co-supervised several graduate students, and presented over 30 papers at scientific conferences. Excellence in Weed Extension Award (sponsored by Valent): CWSS-SCM honored Danielle Bernier, a weed scientist and extension specialist with the Ministry of Agriculture in the Province of Quebec. Bernier has developed great expertise locally, and is well known across the country for her tireless efforts in extending weed science to growers and industry personnel. Bernier has made dozens of presentations each year to producers and at scientific meetings, has produced over 65 extension bulletins for the province of Quebec, as well as serving in various capacities within the CWSS-SCM. Outstanding Industry Member Award (sponsored by CWSS-SCM): CWSS-SCM honored Mark Lawton, technology development lead with Monsanto, based in Guelph, Ont. Lawton is responsible for the team that provides technical support for current products and the development of new products within Monsanto. In addition to serving in this technical capacity, he has published 18 peer-reviewed manuscripts, given over 25 papers at scientific conferences, and has served on the committee of numerous graduate students at the University of Guelph. Meritorious Service Award (sponsored by CWSS-SCM): CWSS-SCM honoured Ken Sapsford, an independent consultant from Kaleden, BC. Sapsford was formerly a research assistant at the University of Saskatchewan. Sapsford has been very active within the CWSS-SCM, serving on three local arrangements committees, and as a member of the board of directors for six years. Beyond his dedication to the society, he has been very active in extension to agronomists and growers throughout his career. Sapsford's research contributions include authoring or co-authoring five peer-reviewed manuscripts, 66 conference and workshop proceedings, 20 technical reports to industry, 106 extensions presentations, and over 65 media interviews. Student Scholarships and Travel Awards 1st Place Award for a Ph.D. student (sponsored by Monsanto) was presented to Breanne Tidemann, from the University of Alberta. Tidemann's research focuses on the potential impact of collecting weed seeds at crop harvest on the contribution to subsequent populations. She is supervised by Drs. Linda Hall (University of Alberta) and K. Neil Harker (AAFC Lacombe, Alta.). 2nd Place Award for a Ph.D. student (sponsored by Syngenta) was presented to Charles Geddes from the University of Manitoba. Research by Geddes covers optimization methods to reduce populations of volunteer canola in subsequent soybean crops. He is supervised by Dr. Rob Gulden. 3rd Place Award for a Ph.D. student (sponsored by CWSS-SCM) was presented to Holly Byker from the University of Guelph. The work of Byker focuses on the biology and management of glyphosate-resistant common ragweed. Drs. Peter Sikkema and Darren Robinson are her supervisors. 1st Place Award for a M.Sc. student (sponsored by Monsanto) was presented to Katherine Stanley from the University of Saskatchewan. Stanley's work focuses on the potential of mechanical weed control in organic pulse crop production. She is supervised by Dr. Steve Shirtliffe. 2nd Place Award for a M.Sc. student (sponsored by Dow AgroSciences) was presented to Christopher Budd from the University of Guelph. Budd's work focuses on the control of glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane in soybean. He is supervised by Dr. Peter Sikkema. 3rd Place Award for a M.Sc. student (sponsored by CWSS-SCM) was presented to Amy Mangin from the University of Alberta. The work of Mangin focuses on optimizing the efficacy of pyroxasulfone on wild oat. Dr. Linda Hall is her supervisor.  
New canola hybrids are being introduced in commercial quantities for the 2016 growing season. Photo by Janet Kanters. Top Crop Manager has assembled a list of new canola hybrids that are being introduced in commercial quantities for the 2016 growing season. The respective seed companies provide the information, and growers are encouraged to look at third party trials, such as the Canola Council of Canada’s Canola Performance Trials, for further performance and agronomic information. Talk to local seed suppliers to see how new varieties also performed in local trials. Bayer CropScienceInVigor L241C is the newest LibertyLink, clubroot-resistant hybrid with outstanding yield potential, strong standability and a mid maturity suited for all clubroot affected regions of Western Canada. InVigor L241C yielded two per cent higher than InVigor L135C and 102 per cent of the checks (InVigor 5440 and Pioneer 45H29) in 2012-2013 Western Canadian Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee (WCC/RRC) co-op trials. InVigor L157H is the newest LibertyLink, specialty oil hybrid in the InVigor Health hybrid offering. It matures a day earlier than InVigor L156H and offers growers higher yield potential plus the security of a contract premium. InVigor L157H yielded 97 per cent of the checks (InVigor 5440 and Pioneer 45H29) in 2013-2014 WCC/RRC co-op trials. BrettYoung6074 RR is the first of the next wave of high-yielding canola hybrids from BrettYoung. 6074RR was the highest yielding Genuity Roundup Ready hybrid in the 2014 Canola Performance trials (109 per cent of check overall). 6074 RR performed well in all zones but is best suited to the mid- and long-season canola zones. It matures 1.4 days later than the checks, is resistant to blackleg and has an excellent rating for harvestability. 6080 RR is BrettYoung’s newest Genuity Round Ready hybrid. In 2014 trials it was very similar to 6074 RR in yield (108 per cent of checks in co-op trials), harvestability and about one day earlier in maturity. 6080 RR is resistant to blackleg, matures 0.86 days later than the checks and is adapted to all canola production zones. 6076 CR is a new high yielding hybrid, resistant to clubroot (pathotypes 2, 3, 5, 6, 8) and has intermediate resistance to the 5X pathotype. Yields in 2014 were equal to the checks. It is a large plant with excellent harvestability. It is also resistant to blackleg, and matures 2.4 days later than the checks. Canterra SeedsCS2100 is a high yielding GENRR hybrid with multigenic blackleg resistance for the long season zone. CS2100 is off to a strong start, yielding 115.5 per cent of 74-44 BL at Etzikom, Alta. in its first trial in 2015. This full-season hybrid possesses multigenic resistance to blackleg that provides more durable defense making it less prone to breakdown by new races of the disease. CS2100 has also been observed to have a higher degree of pod shatter tolerance compared to checks, potentially making it a good straight cut option. CS2100 is available at Canterra Seeds shareholders businesses, independent crop input dealers and through UFA. CS2200 CL is a new high-yielding Clearfield hybrid with full season maturity, great standability and a solid resistant rating to blackleg. As a Clearfield, it could qualify for non-GMO crush programs. CS2200 CL is available at Canterra Seeds shareholders businesses, independent crop input dealers and through UFA. CargillVictory V12-3 Hybrid: High yields with clubroot resistance, Victory V12-3 is a Roundup Ready hybrid with a yield potential of 103 per cent of 45H29. Along with clubroot resistance, it has an industry-leading, multigenic blackleg resistance package delivering a resistant rating for blackleg and is also resistant for Fusarium wilt. V12-3 has very good early season vigour and great yield potential with excellent standability. V12-3 is part of the Cargill Specialty Canola Program delivering higher returns for growers. Dow AgroSciencesNexera 1020 RR: New generation of Nexera canola Roundup Ready hybrid offering improved disease resistance. 1020 RR is the first Nexera hybrid to offer clubroot resistance with a very strong resistant rating in recent public co-op trials. Maturity is one day earlier than 1012 RR and the hybrid has demonstrated strong yield in performance trials. This hybrid is suitable to the mid- and long-season growing zones in Western Canada. Nexera 1022 RR: New generation of Nexera canola Roundup Ready hybrid offering improved disease resistance. 1022 RR offers improved, multigene blackleg resistance with a very strong resistant rating in recent public co-op trials. 1022 RR matures one day earlier than 1012 RR and has demonstrated strong yield performance in trials. This hybrid fits well in the mid- and long-season growing zones in Western Canada. Nexera 2022 CL: New generation of Nexera canola CL hybrid offering improved disease resistance. 2022 CL offers improved, multigene blackleg resistance with a very strong resistant rating in recent public co-op trials. 2022 CL has similar maturity to 2012 CL and has demonstrated very strong yield in performance trials. This hybrid fits well in the mid- and long-season growing zones in Western Canada. DuPont Pioneer46M34 is the first Genuity Roundup Ready canola hybrid that contains the built-in Pioneer Protector HarvestMax trait with a yield potential of 103 per cent of Pioneer hybrid 45H29 in large-scale straight cutting trials across Western Canada in 2014. It has moderately resistant rating for Blackleg and a resistant rating for Fusarium wilt. Pioneer Protector HarvestMax 46M34 reduces the risk of harvest losses from pod shatter and pod drop. Available at all local Pioneer Hi-bred sales representatives across Western Canada. DuPont Pioneer is also launching the first Genuity Roundup Ready hybrid that contains both built-in Pioneer Protector clubroot resistance and sclerotinia resistance traits. The name has not yet been determined. It has a yield potential of 100 per cent of Pioneer hybrid 45H29 in DuPont Pioneer research trials across Western Canada in 2014 along with a resistant rating for blackleg and Fusarium wilt. This new canola hybrid with the Pioneer Protector Plus traits has excellent early growth, improved standability and high yield potential. Available at all local Pioneer Hi-bred sales representatives across Western Canada. DEKALB75-65 RR is a Genuity Roundup Ready hybrid that has a strong agronomic foundation and improved pod integrity that offers the option for straight cutting. It has a dark seed coat and is taller and slightly later maturing than 74-44 BL. Standability is comparable to 74-44 BL and it is rated resistant to both blackleg and Fusarium wilt. Yield potential is strong at 99 per cent of L252 and 103 per cent of 45S54 in Monsanto’s 2014 field scale trials (does not include straight cut trials). 75-65 RR fits broadly across Western Canada and should be a consideration for anyone interested in straight cutting. 75-45 RR is a Genuity Roundup Ready hybrid that offers a unique combination of early maturity and high yield potential. It is earlier than 74-44 BL with similar height and standability, and has a resistant rating to both blackleg and Fusarium wilt. Yield potential is very good at 100 per cent of L130 and 107 per cent of 45S54 in Monsanto’s 2014 breeding trials. 75-45 RR fits particularly well in the short season zones of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and more broadly as an early maturing complement to other products such as 75-65 RR and 74-44 BL to help spread out swathing and harvest operations. 75-57 CR is a Genuity Roundup Ready hybrid that offers clubroot protection as part of a well-rounded agronomic package. It is resistant to a broad range of clubroot pathotypes and has a resistant rating to both blackleg and Fusarium wilt. It is later maturing than 74-44 BL with similar height, good standability, and strong yield potential at 102 per cent of 74-54 RR in Monsanto’s 2014 breeding trials. 75-57 CR provides an excellent solution for growers concerned about clubroot, particularly in central Alberta. Proven SeedsPV 200 CL is the newest high-yielding Clearfield hybrid from Proven Seed and has the added benefit of a world-class standability rating. PV 200 CL offers strong resistance to blackleg and Fusarium wilt while bringing in high yields and profits for canola growers. Available exclusively at Crop Production Services. PV 533 G is a new, high-yielding mid-season Genuity Roundup Ready canola hybrid from the Proven Seed signature lineup, with a yield potential of 104 per cent of DEKALB 74-44 BL. PV 533 G provides growers excellent standability plus a blackleg resistance package that is exhibiting high resistance, even by resistant rating standards. Available exclusively at Crop Production Services. SyngentaSY4105 is the first Genuity, Roundup Ready canola hybrid from Syngenta to incorporate clubroot resistance, making it an exceptional seed choice in areas where clubroot is a major concern. SY4105 fits well across mid-season growing zones in Western Canada, and delivers excellent early-season vigour with strong yield performance. SY4105 is currently available for 2016 seeding and can be purchased through a Syngenta seed dealer. SY4166 is the latest Genuity Roundup Ready canola hybrid from Syngenta. This hybrid is best suited for the mid-to-long season growing zones in Western Canada and includes an excellent agronomic package with multigenic blackleg resistance, good early season vigour and high-end yield potential. SY4166 also boasts excellent standability, which will deliver time savings at swathing and harvest. In a series of 2014 small plot trials, SY4166 reached full maturity, on average, 1.5 days later than SY4135, and 1 to 1.5 days earlier than SY4157. SY4166 will be available for sale starting in fall 2015 for 2016 seeding, and can be purchased through a Syngenta seed dealer. Company NewsIn summer 2015, Cargill opened its new state-of-the-art canola processing facility in Camrose, Alta., which has the capacity to process over one million metric tonnes of canola per year, bringing the company’s total crush capacity to 2.5 million metric tonnes. Cargill said 100 jobs were created during the construction phase of the refinery, and 30 new permanent positions were created to operate the plant. Shortly after, Cargill opened its first canola refinery in Clavet, Sask. The new facility has the capacity to refine one billion pounds of canola oil annually, making it the largest Cargill refinery in North America. On Aug. 6, 2015, Cargill Specialty Seeds and Oils in Fort Collins, Colo. held a ribbon cutting ceremony showcasing their newly completed seed innovation facility while celebrating the 150th anniversary of Cargill.  
The OMAFRA Field Crop team published their cereals seasonal summary for 2018, covering the planting season in 2017 to the growing season in 2018, up until harvest and planting in 2018.
Wheat is an important crop in rotation across the Prairies but has declined in profitability relative to oilseeds and pulses. Although growers sometimes look to wheat as a break-even crop in rotation, researchers in Saskatchewan are developing an improved knowledge base about wheat management.
Malt barley production offers both opportunities and challenges in the Maritimes. Agronomic research, varietal testing and educational activities are underway to help growers capture the opportunities and meet the challenges.
Since the early 1970s, canaryseed has become established as an alternative cereal crop for Saskatchewan farmers. The province produces approximately 90 per cent of the canaryseed grown in Canada and about 65 per cent of the global supply of the crop, which is used to feed wild and caged birds the world over. Now, canaryseed was recently approved for human food use in Canada and the U.S., offering the potential for new opportunities for Saskatchewan producers.
The 2018 growing season had its challenges with a cool, wet spring followed by hot, dry weather during the critical grain fill period. The weather had a negative impact on yield for many while others were pleasantly surprised with yields pushing well over 100 bu/ac. So what did growers who fared better than others have in common even in a year with variable moisture? They made sure their winter wheat crop had the best start possible.
Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a serious disease affecting yield and quality of wheat and other important cereal crops across Canada. Breeding for resistance continues to be a key strategy in the fight against FHB, and research scientists like George Fedak are helping to lead the way.
The Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) releases new cost-share opportunities to support DON testing to assist Ontario's grain farmers with high levels of DON (vomitoxin) contamination in this year's corn crop. 
The Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) releases the interim report of the 2018 Ontario Hybrid Corn Performance Trials for all areas except Exeter, Ilderton, Woodstock and Belmont.
The Ontario and federal government announced steps to help farmers experiencing high levels of deoxynivalenol (DON), including applicable funding to cover a portion of DON-related expenses.
The Gibberella ear rot outbreak, resulting in high levels of DON in corn this year, has caused much concern to Ontario producers. At its annual meeting on Nov. 13, the Ontario Corn Committee (OCC) spent much time discussing how best to respond to the outbreak, and said in a statement it was "deeply concerned about the impact this is having across all sectors of the corn industry in Ontario, especially for the many farmers who are most directly affected." The OCC says it does not have data indicating the relative susceptibility of hybrids to infection by Gibberella and the production of DON. However, the committee is undertaking two initiatives that it hopes will allow the committee to give more guidance to farmers in the future.1) Samples were collected from each plot in several OCC trials across southwestern Ontario during harvest this fall. These samples will be analyzed for DON in the lab and the results will be reviewed by the committee as soon as possible. These results may assist the committee, industry and crop advisors in providing growers with more information about: the factors associated with DON production, the range in tolerance among hybrids to mycotoxin accumulation the consistency of hybrid tolerance across environments and what growers can do to reduce their risk for next year. research or testing that the OCC could undertake to improve our knowledge about hybrid response to Gibberella and/or management practices to reduce the risk of DON accumulation. 2) The OCC also established a working group, consisting of growers, plant breeders, seed companies, extension and pathologists, charged with recommending actions and/or research that the OCC can implement beginning in 2019 to assist the industry in reducing the risk of a similar crisis in the future. This will include investigating a system to develop hybrid ratings.For further information contact Shawn Winter, chair of the Ontario Corn Committee, at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or 519-682-1720.
Two hundred bushels of corn without any nitrogen (N) fertilizer? That happened in 2016 at St. Adolphe, Man., and is one of the more surprising results of a Manitoba Agriculture research trial.
A new computer modeling study shows that corn yields improved under diversified rotations versus corn grown in monoculture.
In 2018, Ontario growers planted 34 per cent more acres of spring canola compared to the previous two years. The most notable increase was in Temiskaming, two hours north of North Bay and along the Ontario-Quebec border.
Growers who want to include more pulse crops in their rotations need information on where in the rotation to add the pulses for the most benefits. So, a Saskatchewan project is underway to look more closely at one possible rotational effect: whether growing canola right before a pulse crop affects the amount of nitrogen fixation in the pulse.
Cultivar resistance is considered the most effective and practical approach for clubroot management on canola. However, almost all of the current cultivars were based on a single clubroot resistance (CR) gene, which can be eroded when the pathogen Plasmodiophora brassicae changes in virulence.
2018 was a bad year for flea beetles in Manitoba canola, according to John Gavloski, extension entomologist for Manitoba Agriculture.
Canola contributes around $26.7 billion annually to the Canadian economy, according to figures from the Canola Council of Canada. However, most of its value lies in the oil, while canola meal has traditionally been considered a byproduct suitable only for animal feed.
Fall fertilizer questions about reducing fertilizer costs, nutrient carryover, soil test results and applying nitrogen and sulphur are answered in Canola Watch's latest newsletter for canola growers. 
The patent on the first-generation Roundup Ready soybean trait expired in 2011, leaving the temptation for growers to save their own seed or purchase bin-run seed from others. However, using bin-run Roundup Ready soybean seed comes with agronomic and legal implications.
Most nitrogen-fixing bacteria in commercial soybean inoculants originate from subtropical regions, just like soybeans themselves. But are subtropical inoculants really the best choice for Canadian soybean production? Recent research shows some native Canadian bacteria are much better nitrogen fixers for our short-season soybean cultivars.
“Our growing conditions in southern Saskatchewan are different than the traditional soybean growing areas, and even different from some of the soybean areas in Manitoba. We wanted to see if the seeding recommendations in Manitoba would work here,” Holzapfel says.
Rolling soybean fields immediately after seeding is not new. This practice has taken place in Ontario for many years to manage stones and improve harvestability. But in some years, there’s a rain or some other reason why we can’t roll right after seeding.
Put another $8.20 per acre in your pocket with a simple adjustment. Slow down. Add an air reel and save $12.50 per acre. Those are the findings of a recent Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) research project that looked at soybean header losses.  
Strip till offers several benefits to soybean growers on heavy residue stubble. A key benefit on sandy loam soils is leaving residue on the soil surface to protect against soil erosion by the wind – an occurrence in recent years after snow melts on tilled soils.
Dry beans have been grown in Ontario for decades as a successful niche crop. While production has been moving to other parts of country like southern Manitoba, the province still accounts for close to half of Canada’s annual dry bean crop.
Canadian farmers are poised to plant 140,000 hectares of chickpeas this season – the biggest crop in 11 years, and more than double what was sowed last year – the agriculture ministry said in a report. At the same time, they're reducing the area planted with other so-called pulses, such as peas and lentils, amid steep import tariffs in India, the biggest buyer. | READ MORE
Soybean seeding is just beginning in eastern and central Manitoba, and seeding of peas and faba beans is well underway throughout the province, according to the latest Bean Report from the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers. 
Projected pulse and soybean acres, wireworm monitoring, curbing disease and field pea fertility recommendations – all these topics and more are found in the latest edition of the Bean Report from the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers. | READ MORE
As the interest in fababean production continues to grow, so does the need for more up-to-date agronomic information. Researchers and the industry in general have several efforts underway – however, much of the current agronomic information available to Saskatchewan producers is either unavailable, outdated, or sourced from other growing regions. Various research projects are focused on developing Saskatchewan-based agronomic information and updating work initially done back in the 1970s.
The fababean crop has been growing in popularity in Western Canada. In Saskatchewan in particular, it is promoted as the pulse to grow in the northern and eastern areas of the province that are not ideal for lentils or chickpeas. However, while export markets are currently limited for Western Canada’s fababeans, a recent study looking at potential markets the crop reveals opportunities closer to home that producers can tap into.
Euphorbia lagascae is an annual Mediterranean plant that naturally produces vernolic oil, a rich source of the common plasticizer vernolic acid, which is used in a range of industrial applications, from paints to PVC to blown polyurethane foam.
Canada’s ginseng industry receives a boost as Lawrence MacAulay, minister of agriculture and agri-food, announced an investment of $360,521 to the Ontario Ginseng Growers' Association (OGGA) to help promote and pursue new markets.
When you think of a radish, you may think of the small, round, crunchy, red-and-white vegetable that is sliced into salads. You might be surprised to learn that a larger, longer form of this root vegetable is being used in agriculture as a cover crop.Cover crops are grown between main crops such as wheat, corn, or soybeans when the soil would otherwise be bare. Cover crops can control erosion, build soil, and suppress weeds. Radish as a cover crop can provide these benefits and more. The long radish root creates deep channels in the soil that can make it easier for subsequent crops to reach water in the soil below.Radish is also known to benefit water quality. It does so by taking up nitrogen, in the form of nitrates, from the soil. This leaves less nitrogen in the soil that can run off to nearby streams and lakes.Matt Ruark of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues wanted to know more about the effect of this nitrate uptake in the following growing season. They established test sites in three Wisconsin locations and studied them for three years. At each site, some plots received the radish cover crop and some did not. The radish cover crop was planted in August after a wheat harvest. Corn was planted the following spring.The research showed that radish significantly reduced the nitrate content in the soil as compared to the test plots with no cover crop. This finding confirmed the results of several earlier studies. It showed that radish did take up nitrogen, in the form of nitrates, from the soil.This research supports the use of radish as a cover crop as a trap crop for fall nitrogen. However, what happens to that nitrogen afterward remains unknown.There was no consistent evidence that nitrogen was returned to the soil as the radish crop decomposed. Radish did not supply nitrogen to the corn crop. The researchers concluded that in the Upper Midwest the nitrogen in radish could not replace fertilizer.Ruark commented, “Radish grows well when planted in late summer and traps a lot of nitrogen. But the way it decomposes doesn’t result in a nitrogen fertilizer benefit to the next crop. We don’t know exactly why. We were hoping it would provide a nitrogen benefit, but alas, it did not.”What happens to the nitrogen? The decomposition pattern of radish needs to be explored more fully to learn more. And perhaps, Ruark said, radish could be more beneficial if mixed with a winter-hardy cover crop.  Read more about Ruark’s work in Agronomy Journal.
Pastures and hayland were stressed last year due to dry conditions, grasshoppers, over grazing, and a long winter. Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry looks at how producers can plan this spring to avoid a feed shortage next winter. “It is difficult to estimate how the stands will respond this spring or what the yield potential is for this year,” Yaremcio says. “With many feed yards and silage pits nearly empty or empty, the amount of carryover feed for the winter of 2018-19 is minimal.”
Those humble wild sunflowers you see growing along prairie roadsides are key weapons in the fight against sclerotinia in sunflower crops. Through a long, complex process, researchers are transferring resistance genes from wild species into cultivated sunflower and gradually upping the crop’s ability to fight off this pathogen.
The 2018 Ontario Forage Expo, featuring forage equipment demonstrations and trade show, will be held in July, hosted by the Ontario Forage Council, in conjunction with the Dufferin and Northumberland County Soil and Crop Improvement Associations.
In 2013, Lethbridge’s Southern Drip Irrigation Ltd. took farmer Don Plett down to Texas to look at subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems in 400,000 acres of cotton.
The goal of irrigation scheduling is to ensure the crop is never under water-induced stress that would limit yield potential. It involves determining the correct amount of irrigation water to apply to a crop at the right times to achieve optimum yield.
Pivot irrigation is by far the most common method of irrigating crops in Western Canada.
Researchers at the University of Guelph are finding that Ontario crops can benefit from subsurface drip irrigation. The technology (which is relatively new to the province) is a low-pressure, high-efficiency system that uses buried polyethylene drip lines to meet crop water needs by applying water below the soil surface using micro-irrigation emitters.
Conservation management practices can increase sugar beet yields over time – that’s one of the key messages from a 12-year irrigated cropping study that compared conservation and conventional management.
Soybean production is spreading across the Prairies. In 2016, Manitoba had nearly 1.64 million acres seeded to the crop, and Saskatchewan seeded 240,000 acres. In Alberta, production is still relatively low at around 15,000 acres, according to industry estimates. But with early and very early maturing varieties becoming more common and with the expanding soybean crushing capacity in the province, more Alberta growers are considering this crop.

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