Weather is one of the biggest factors in crop production. The dry weather in Western Canada had producers speeding through the planting season, and seeding progress in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba was ahead of each province’s five-year average. Though great at the beginning, the dry weather now is hindering growth, with some regions desperate for rain so crops can progress.
Out east, planting season was a different story. Relentless rain prevented Ontario producers from getting out into the fields, and even now, crops planted on heavier soils are showing signs of plant stress.
During these stressful seasons, experimenting with the latest in crop management practices might take a backseat. Why worry about testing out the latest nitrogen application strategies when there are bigger concerns, like willing the fields to dry up so you can get out and plant? But farming has always been responsive to the weather, and weather fluctuations are just a small part of the larger picture. Don’t let a slow start, or mid-season slump, stop you from making the most of the season.
This edition of Top Crop Manager Focus On: Crop Management can inspire some ideas to try this year. Yields at the end of harvest are not the only measuring stick for success. Crop management strategies also focus on reviving soil quality, cutting input costs and minimizing the environmental impact. Doing your best to manage what you can, when you can’t manage the weather, is one way to recover from a tough start.
In this edition, you’ll read about how strip till has struck a balance between improving yields and soil quality on page 4, or how foliar phosphorus may provide a top-up option for high P-demanding crops, such as canola. Finally, do not miss the story on page 10, about a herbicide system that can reduce herbicide costs by up to 75 per cent.
As the old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. For those out west, let’s hope that cloud is carrying rain; and for those out east, let’s hope it goes away. Whatever comes your way, we wish you a prosperous growing season!