Top Crop Manager

From the Editor: Curiosities, concerns and solutions

December 22, 2021  By Stefanie Croley

I was recently reading an article from Brownfield Ag News, an American website, about tar spot. The article featured an interview with Dean Malvick, a professor in the department of plant pathology at the University of Minnesota, who said tar spot had gone from a “curiosity” just six years ago, when it was first discovered in the United States, to a “legitimate threat to farmers.”

Reading that prompted me to think about all of the other topics we’ve covered in Top Crop Manager over the years that started similarly – as a minor concern. Take a disease like clubroot for example, which had already been lingering in canola fields for about 10 years when I joined the Top Crop Manager team in 2013. Sure, it was more than a blip on the radar at that point, but in such a short period of time, both the disease and our knowledge of it have changed so much. In my early days as an ag journalist, phrases like “herbicide resistance” were slowly becoming more common; now, it’s a topic that we cover regularly – and I hate to say it, but I predict fungicide resistance will follow a similar pattern. These concerns, and so many others, all started as curiosities; growing over time as more and more people looked for answers and solutions. Many evolved into legitimate threats; others stayed moderately troubling. And some remained a little tiny blip. 

That’s the beauty of it: in most cases, concerns go through cycles of moving up and down the priority list. With time, and the right conditions, some become more complex – but so do the solutions. There’s an incredible amount of collaboration taking place within the ag industry and, when paired with strategy, knowledge transfer, and technological advancements, the future is looking bright. 


This edition of Top Crop Manager is our annual full-circulation issue, focusing on corn and soybeans; inside, you’ll find articles about some of those threats, like tar spot, Bt-resistant European corn borer, and volunteer canola competition in soybeans. But before you start to worry too much about which of those might be problematic in your operation, arm yourself with the knowledge you’ll need to make the best decisions possible. 

You can start with this issue, but if you’d like to go deeper, consider joining us at the 2022 Top Crop Summit. We’re back virtually in February for two half-day events; one focused specifically on Eastern Canada (Feb. 16), and the other on Western Canada (Feb. 23). We’ve selected speakers who will tackle the issues head-on while sharing practical tips and advice – check them out for yourself and register at  


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