Introduction. From the first to the last
By Peter Darbishire
Meet your advisors....
It has been both a privilege and a pleasure to have been involved in the growth of Top Crop Manager. From its inception in 1989 as it developed from the Agri-Book Magazine series of annual editions, each dedicated to specific crops, it has developed steadily to become a fully fledged crop technology focussed magazine reaching commercial producers of major field crops in Canada.
Now, as I embark on the ‘retirement phase’ of my personal journey, it is difficult to point to one particular event, meeting or field tour as being the most significant. There were many individuals who assisted and encouraged us in providing a magazine of this type. Though it was a novel concept 20 years ago, to some degree it still stands alone in how it approaches content and then presents information to readers. The bottom line for our writers has always been to ask ourselves ‘have we provided something that can help a reader make or save significant additional profit over time?’
Change in these past 20 years in Canadian agriculture has been huge. Probably the most significant have been the widespread adoption of no-till planting and direct seeding and herbicide tolerant traits in an ever-widening variety of crops. Our readers have not simply learned how to use these techniques, they have figured out how to use them wisely and how to expand their business enterprises by using these new ideas and methods. Hats off to the innovators who have shared their experiences, good and bad, in these pages.
The ‘promise’ of end-use traits is now a reality and there are projections of more market-driven opportunities just around the corner. I am sure Canadian producers will grasp these possibilities too.
Ralph Pearce will take over as editor. For the last five years, he has been Top Crop Manager’s eastern field editor. I know you will soon find he will continue to build on the foundation of Top Crop Manager’s editorial mandate, in the print and now the new on-line editions. Behind the scenes, there are dedicated production staff members, some of whom have also worked with Top Crop Manager since it began as an annual issue for western Canada. These individuals are the ‘hidden gems’ who have and will continue to make sure readers’ expectations of content and layout are consistent, issue-by-issue and year-over-year.
It’s time to thank you: readers, researchers, crop advisors, extension personnel and industry suppliers who have helped make Top Crop Manager the wonderful communications vehicle it has become. I have made hundreds of farm visits and have enjoyed all of them: from digging into soils across the county, to riding the demonstration plot wagon or along in the cab of tractors and combines, while collecting story ideas across Canada, and arriving unannounced in a field to take action photos. Everywhere I have stopped, there has been a pleasant welcome and all too often, the visits were cut short by the press of time.
Every single stop yielded a story, an idea for a new story or an image to illustrate a story or magazine cover. Every single visit was special: from the first to the last!
In this issue of Top Crop Manager we include the comments of Top Crop Advisors who have previewed selected stories, and offer their comments and local perspectives. Here are their profiles:
- Alan McCallum operates McCallum Agronomic Services at Iona Station in Elgin County, Ontario. He is an independent agronomist and certified crop advisor, he was previously a soil and crop advisor for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
- Lennie and Peter Aarts farm 2000 acres near Wainfleet, Ontario. Two thirds is in a corn-soybeans-wheat rotation, one third is in a corn-soybeans-corn-soybeans rotation (lighter ground, not as well suited to wheat). In addition, they do 1000 acres of custom work.
- Grahame and Stephen Hardy crop 1000 acres and operate Hardy Seeds at Inkerman, Ontario. Corn is planted on 400 to 500 acres and the rest is divided between soybeans, wheat and barley, all for seed. Cropping methods range from no-till to full tillage.
- Ken Nixon, brother Kevin and father George farm near Ilderton, Ontario. They no-till corn, soybeans and wheat, and provide planting, spraying and harvest services to neighbouring operations.
These Top Crop Advisors have added wisdom and practical perspectives of their own to some of the stories in this issue. Our editorial team and Top Crop Advisors hope you will put some of the ideas and new techniques in this and the subsequent issues of Top Crop Manager to work on your farm to improve your bottom line. -end-