Agronomy
Gone are the days when weather forecasting meant predicting the weather. These days, it’s about so much more: meteorologists can calculate temperature and relative humidity, soil temperature, wind speed and direction, solar radiation, rainfall and lightning risk right at the farm level – or the field level, if you prefer.

“Weather costs a lot of money to a farmer in a given year,” says Guy Ash, chief meteorologist and chief operating officer of Precision Weather Solutions, a Winnipeg-based company. “Weather technology integrates into every aspect of what goes on on the farm. If I can improve my management based on very localized weather tools, those translate into savings, or increased yield and quality.”

Ash has collaborated with Masasah Mkhabela, a research associate at the University of Manitoba’s Department of Soil Science, on a project evaluating thermal time models for forecasting spring wheat development.

“Thermal time refers to the temperature time for the development of a particular crop. We used a number of thermal indexes to look at how well they performed in spring wheat field trials,” says Ash. “There are a host of thermal models, which are typically called ‘growth stage models’ – the growth stage of the crop is what you’re trying to predict.”

The team used site data to evaluate how accurate each model was at predicting crop development.

Ultimately, the growing-degree-day base-temperature zero model (GDD) performed best in the study, over other, more complex models. This research will contribute to the development of ever-more precise tools for forecasting.

Why does this matter in the field? The concept of growth stages is important for producers to know, Ash explains, because crop stage dictates their management scheme for fertilizer, pesticides and irrigation.

Ash says public weather services are no longer adequate to meet the needs of large-scale farming operations, which can spread over many kilometers and land types. Ash says the government’s job, when it comes to weather, is to provide watches and alerts for extreme weather events. But this doesn’t help farm-level management.

“The biggest issue in Canada has been the lack of information at a field level to make management decisions. If you’re relying on data from a few kilometres away that doesn’t really help you,” he says.

Precision Weather Solutions works with producers to perform climatological and meteorological data processing on their farms, turning all of that data into information they can use to schedule farm management tasks. “Whether it’s disease pressure or development of the crop, we’re providing technology and solutions that allows you to do that at a much finer resolution than what’s been available in the past,” he says.

Personalized weather data
In practical terms, what this means is that producers can hire companies like Precision Weather Solutions to install (sometimes multiple) weather stations on the farm – at $2,500 to $3,500 each, depending on the package. Data from the station is immediately available to the farmer, but can also be shared with agronomists.

Farmers Edge, the precision agriculture and independent data management firm that patented Variable Rate (VR) Technology, also offers “personalized weather data” to individual growers, as part of its FarmCommand integrated farm management platform.

“A key principle at Farmers Edge is our focus on field-centric data – the right data to drive precision agriculture going forward, and the weather component is pretty critical to that,” says Patrick Crampton, chief operating officer at Farmers Edge.

In fall 2015, Farmers Edge announced a partnership with The Weather Company (TWC), an IBM business and the world’s largest weather company, which provides Farmers Edge forecasts. “By combining TWC's Forecasts on Demand (FoD) weather forecasting engine with Farmers Edge on-farm weather stations, customers can access hyper local forecasts including 48-hour hourly forecasts and 10 days of daily forecasts, as well as historical weather data to support decisions surrounding their field operations,” says Crampton.

According to Farmers Edge, there is typically a nearly 48 per cent reduction in accuracy of weather stations when they are 20 kilometres away.

“For our Smart Solution services we deploy an advanced weather station on every 2,500 acres of a client’s farm. That provides the density of the weather network to capture critical data to input into the models.”

The FarmCommand platform also performs “passive data collection” via CanPlug telematics installed on field equipment (sprayers, combines, etc.) – including fuel usage, speed, and sometimes live yield data.

The Smart Solution complete data package comes to farmers at the cost of $1.95 per acre on a whole farm basis, says Crampton – available at the touch of a smartphone screen.

The most pressing question, as ever, comes back to actual value on the farm: is it worth it?

Crampton says it is. “Every one of our customers will have one or more stations in 10 years,” he says. “I believe when you look at the integration opportunities of soil information, rainfall modeling, etcetera, the ability to get into predictive yield products is only going to increase the value of the weather station on your farm.”

Don't miss out on our other web exclusive content! Sign up today for our E-newsletters and get the best of research-based info on field crops delivered staight to your inbox.
Published in Corporate News
It's time to scout for western bean cutworm, especially as moth flight activity climbs in Ontario. Although there are no significant reports of soybean aphids, growers are still urged to scout by OMAFRA. Winter wheat harvest is underway, while growers are reminded to plant cover crops after wheat harvest to minimize the amount of annual weeds going to seed. 

Cereals
Winter wheat harvest has begun throughout southwest Ontario but intermittent rainfall has caused delays. Some farmers in Essex County have finished harvest and initial word is that the quality and yield of the crop has been good. Harvest progress is likely seven to 10 days behind what was observed in 2016, but comparable to the 2015 season.

Post-harvest weed management
A significant amount of annual weed seeds can be produced and dispersed after wheat harvest if the ground is left fallow. In some years, annual weed seed can mature in as little as four weeks after harvest. Planting a cover crop (i.e. oats) after wheat harvest can do a nice job of minimizing the amount of annual weeds going to seed and then allows for an opportunity in the fall to terminate the cover crop and deal with perennial weeds at the same time. If it is not desirable to plant a cover crop, shallow tillage can also reduce the amount of weeds setting seed and will allow the perennial weeds to re-grow so that they can be managed in the fall.

If red clover was inter-seeded into the wheat crop there are a couple of ways that you can knock back annual weed growth so that you can let the clover grow as much as possible and maximize its nitrogen credit. The tried and true method, but most labour intensive, is to “clip” or trim the top of the red clover which will ‘chop off’ the weed seed heads at the same time. More recently OMAFRA and the University of Guelph have experimented with the application of MCPA as a way to manage broadleaf weeds in a red clover cover crop. There are three key learnings from this work:

1) The ester formulation of MCPA causes significantly less plant damage than the amine formulation.
2) Red clover biomass is initially stunted during the first week after application but does recover within two to three weeks.
3) Targeting broadleaf weeds when they are smaller will result in better control. If annual grassy weeds are predominant then the application of MCPA Ester will be insufficient and clipping is a better option to minimize weed seed dispersal.

Corn
Western bean cutworm moths have been found in traps throughout southwestern Ontario. An interactive map of trapping numbers can be found at cornpest.ca. Moth flight activity has indicated that it’s a good time to scout fields for egg masses which have become visible in several fields with some approaching or are above the action threshold of five egg mass per 100 corn plants. Peak flight has not occurred yet in Ontario so to provide the most protection with one application, time the application once threshold has been reached and when there is an ear developing with fresh silks. Download the pestmanager app (pestmanager.ca) to have access to management options for this pest.

Soybeans
There have been no significant reports of soybean aphids, although regular scouting should be done from now until the R6 (full seed) stage of soybean to minimize any yield loss with this pest. The action threshold is 250 aphids per plant, and with actively increasing populations on 80 per cent of those plants when the crop is in the R1 stage until end of R5 stage.

Edible beans
Monitor traps to determine western bean cutworm (WBC) presence in your area and be aware of what WBC infestations are like in adjacent corn fields. Bean fields should be scouted as soon as a pod is developing to spot any pod feeding by WBC. Refer to the moth trapping maps at cornpest.ca to identify areas where moths are actively being trapped.
Published in Corporate News
Leaf yellowing and slow growth is evident in many fields of Ontario soybean. Stressful growing conditions will amplify nutrient deficiency symptoms, insect feeding, and disease symptoms. When plants are already stressed, it’s even more important to manage deficiencies wherever possible. Fortunately, weather conditions over the next four to six weeks are more crucial to seed development than the first half of the growing season. Conditions from now on will play a bigger role in final yield than May or June.

Potassium (K)
K deficient leaves turn yellow along the leaf margins and may cup downward. Lower leaves are affected first. Factors that limit root growth such as dry conditions and sidewall compaction will reduce K uptake. Under dry conditions roots are less able to take up K from the soil even if soil K levels are sufficient. Water logged soils will also inhibit uptake. A soil test is the only reliable way to know if a field is truly low in K or only showing stress-induced potassium deficiencies. It’s also important to note that K deficiency symptoms may indicate soybean cyst nematode (SCN) feeding on the roots. When taking soil samples ask the lab to also test for SCN. It’s difficult to alleviate K deficiency now since foliar products cannot supply enough potassium through the leaf to rectify the problem. A dry application of potash may still be warranted in severe cases. Yield response will depend on the amount of rainfall after application. Generally, fertilizing low testing fields can result in a yield increase of 3 to 5 bu/ac.

Manganese (Mn)
Symptoms of Mn deficiency are interveinal chlorosis (yellowing). Mn is immobile in the plant so symptoms will generally appear on the younger leaves first. One of the most significant factors affecting the availability of Mn is soil pH. As soil pH increases, Mn availability decreases. Deficiencies can also appear on eroded knolls where the pH is higher than the rest of the field. The deficiency is most common on poorly-drained soils, especially clays and silt loams. High organic matter also ties up Mn. Manganese is less soluble in well-aerated soils. This is why compacted areas (wheel tracks) are dark green while the rest of the field goes yellow. A foliar application of Mn works well to rectify the deficiency and can provide a 5 bu/ac yield response in severe cases.

Nitrogen (N)
Nitrogen deficiency in soybeans is usually evident early in the season before N fixation can occur. Soybeans naturally go through a period when leaves turn light green or even pale yellow. This is the period just before the nodules start to supply adequate nitrogen. Once the nodules have established and start providing enough nitrogen, the leaves will turn a dark green colour. If no nodules are present because it’s a first time soybean field and there has been a nodulation failure, an application of urea is warranted.

Phosphorus (P)
Recent trials have demonstrated surprising yield responses to P in soybeans. Traditional thinking was that soybeans do not show a significant yield response to P fertilizer unless soil test values are very low. Visual P deficiency symptoms are rare and difficult to identify even when present. The plants are slow to grow, spindly, and the leaves remain smaller and lighter in colour. However, these symptoms are subtle and usually overlooked. Soil compaction limiting root growth will cause weather induced deficiency. Ontario trials conducted over the last 5 years have shown that when soil tests are less than 20 ppm for P (Olsen) and less than 120 ppm for K, the application of potash by itself only raised yields by 1 bu/ac. When both P and K were applied yields increased by 4 bu/ac. When P soil test levels were less than 20 ppm but soil test levels for K were greater than 120 ppm, the application of P increased yields by 3 bu/ac across in this study. This is strong evidence that phosphorus is a critical component to high yielding soybeans. If soil tests are adequate for either P or K additional fertilizer does not increase yields.
Published in Corporate News
Most eastern Canadian producers have considered whether tile drainage is right for their operations. According to Harold Rudy, executive officer of research and business development for the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), more than 50 per cent of the agricultural land in southern Ontario is tile drained. In many areas of the province, tile drainage facilitates timely field operations and helps decrease the risk of crop damage during heavy rainfall events.
Published in Other Crops
Anita Brûlé-Babel discusses the economic losses associated with Fusarium, how resistance ratings are developed for seed guides and utilizing risk maps. 

Click here for the full summary of Brûlé-Babel's presentation.

Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletters so you're the first to know about current research in crop management.

Top Crop Manager's Herbicide Resistance Summit has been announced! Sign up today for early-bird pricing: https://www.weedsummit.ca/event/registration
Published in Corporate News
New PowerCore from Dow AgroSciences offers control of a number of key, above-ground corn insect pests Canadian corn growers battle, including black cutworm.
Published in Corporate News

Tractors delivered participants to more than 10 sites at the 23rd annual Southwest Crop Diagnostic Day. The event, which took place July 5 and 6, saw agronomists, producers and industry professionals visiting stations across the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus to learn about new research and the implications for crops in Ontario.

Here’s a sampling of some of the topics covered.

Albert Tenuta [Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)] and Dave Hooker [University of Guelph – Ridgetown (UGR)] took producers through a few different plot sites and discussed planting corn and soybeans in a cover crop. Although cover crops help with soil organic matter, erosion and moisture control, it’s often best to terminate a cover crop in a dry year.

Peter Sikkema and Darren Robinson (both from UGR) tested participants on herbicide injury in both corn and soybean, respectively. Producers saw first-hand the symptoms caused by new and common herbicides.
IMG 1390Peter Sikkema holding a corn plant injured by herbicides.

Chris Brown (OMAFRA) and Doug Young (UGR) did a smoke bomb demo to highlight soil pores and offered tips for managing water movement through soil. Producers were reminded that soil pores (which include macropores, mesopores and micropores) are impacted by different issues such as soil properties (texture, pH), cultivation (tile drainage, crop rotations), external loads (tillage and compaction) and natural processes (biological activity, frost).

Joanna Follings and Anne Verhallen (both from OMAFRA) talked cover crop seeding rates and options for growers. They highlighted research that indicates underseeding red clover into winter wheat leads to an increase of 10 bushels per acre (bu/ac) for corn and five bu/ac in soybean.
Best clover density plotOne of the plots of red clover planted at UGR.

There’s also a nitrogen credit of 85 pounds per acre. Follings offered tips for seeding, since the biggest challenge with red clover is establishment. (A uniform stand of three to four plants per square foot is the minimum number to be considered a good stand.)

Another session offered an overview of trapping technology, scouting tips and management strategies for Western bean cutworm presented by Christina DiFonzo (Michigan State University), Tracey Baute (OMAFRA) and Art Schaafsma (UGR).
IMG 1521The Z Trap is one of the newest Western bean cutworm traps on the market. 

When scouting, DiFonzo says to look at 100 plants (10 plants in 10 different areas, or 20 plants in five areas) every five days when crop is in the pre- to full tassel stages. The threshold to spray is an accumulation of five per cent of plants with Western bean cutworm egg masses or small larvae over a two to three week period.

Dave Bilyea (UGR) covered some lesser-known but potentially problematic weeds for Ontario agriculture. Some of the weeds highlighted include annual bluegrass (which competes with young plants and is tolerant to glyphosate) and dog strangling vine. There aren’t many reports of this vine yet, but it’s very competitive and is toxic to insects and animals, affecting ecology. Another weed to watch is wild parsnip, which makes skin UV-sensitive and results in burns similar to those caused by giant hogweed. With scouring rush (also known as snakegrass), part of the challenge is that the plant has no leaves for contact with any herbicides producers might spray.
IMG 1488Dave Bilyea explains the similarities between Northern willowherb and goldenrod.

Bilyea reminded growers that they can send in weeds for herbicide-resistance testing free of charge. 

Jake Munroe and Horst Bohner (both of OMAFRA) focused on fertilizing soybeans: deficiency symptoms, strategies and new research demonstrating the importance of phosphorus in soybean. 4R nutrient stewardship was also highlighted using the Phosphorus Loss Assessment Tool for Ontario (PLATO).

Ben Rosser (OMAFRA) and Peter Johnson from Real Agriculture had participants digging up corn plants from a variety of plots to discuss the effects of planting dates, depth and staging.
Screen Shot 2017 07 06 at 3.43.48 PMPeter Johnson from Real Agriculture discussing the stages of corn development. 

Hail damage in corn was also discussed using the example of a corn plant damaged just a couple of weeks ago. Although the farmer growing the corn in question thought he should plant something else, there was still new growth in the corn and so he was advised to leave the crop; he would likely only suffer a five per cent yield loss from the hail damage.

Jason Deveau and Mike Cowbrough (both of OMAFRA) highlighted the importance of sprayer clean out and compared two different systems: triple rinsing and continuous rinsing.
IMG 1497Deveau and Cowbrough explaining how a continuous rinse system works.

Growers walked through soybean and tomato plots and saw the level of injury caused when equipment isn’t properly rinsed between spray applications. Although triple rinsing is effective, it takes three times longer to do; the continuous rinse system is not only faster, but also limits operator exposure. The current challenge is adding the pump on the sprayer equipment due to challenges with the computer operating systems.

Don’t miss out on any research that could help you become a better producer! Sign up to our newsletters to get the latest on enhancing canola growth and yields, the best form of sulphur fertilizer and precision weather forecasting.

Published in Corporate News
Purdue University scientists released research findings that indicate corn management processes contributing to optimal levels of plant nitrogen (N) uptake could result in fewer nitrous oxide emissions, long identified as one of the most potent greenhouse gases.
Published in Corporate News
Worker and queen honeybees exposed to field realistic levels of neonicotinoids die sooner, reducing the health of the entire colony, a new study led by York University (Your U) biologists has found.
Published in Corporate News
I work in Manitoba and we’ve been dealing with Fusarium head blight (FHB) for the last 25 years. In the 1990s, Manitoba started seeing severe infections. Those of you who are from Saskatchewan and Alberta, over the last two to three years, have definitely seen what it can be like when conditions are correct for Fusarium head blight infection.
Published in Diseases
In Ontario, soybean seedling diseases and root rots are the second most important yield limiting diseases, and this year is no different. Cool soil temperatures along with early rains in parts of Essex and Niagara resulted in a large number of soybean fields needing to be replanted and recent significant rainfall has had a negative impact on soybeans in many areas.
Published in Agronomy
Fertilizer Canada and the federal and provincial governments, through the Growing Forward 2 (GF2) framework, have awarded contributions of $24,000 and $100,000 (respectively) to eight producer-led Agriculture-Applied Research Management (Agri-ARM) sites in the province of Saskatchewan. The sites will implement 4R Nutrient Stewardship (Right Source, Right Rate, Right Time, Right Place) demonstration projects in order to increase awareness and adoption of the program among local producers.

Project concepts were submitted to the GF2-funded ADOPT (Agriculture Demonstration of Practices and Technologies) program which supports local demonstration projects to provide Saskatchewan producers and ranchers the opportunity to evaluate new practices and technologies under local conditions. Funding for GF2 is provided on a 60/40 basis through the federal and provincial governments.

4R Nutrient Stewardship is a science-based system that tailors the use of fertilizer products – essential plant nutrients like nitrogen, phosphate, potash and sulphur – from farm field to farm field to create optimal soil nutrient conditions for growing specific crops. By applying the right source of fertilizer at the right rate, the right time and at the right place, the system is proven to improve and protect soil quality, increase crop yields and reduce unwanted nutrient losses to the environment.

Last year, Fertilizer Canada and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to solidify both parties' shared commitment to protecting and conserving the province's soils, improving nutrient management and supporting sustainable agriculture. This MOC was a catalyst for creating opportunities to host 4R demonstration projects in the province.

Agri-ARM's sites enable producers to enhance their knowledge and pilot innovative and sustainable Best Management Practices (BMPs) through 4R Nutrient Stewardship demonstration projects. Each of the eight sites will host three or four demonstration projects, including field tours and outreach to local producers, under three main theme categories: Demonstrating 4R Phosphorus Principles in Canola, Demonstrating 4R Nitrogen Principles in Canola, and Demonstrating 4R Nitrogen Principles in Wheat.

Implementing these 4R demonstration projects in Saskatchewan is another positive step toward Fertilizer Canada's goal of obtaining 20 million 4R acres – acres of farmland managed by 4R Nutrient Stewardship – by 2020.
Published in Corporate News
Syama Chatterton discusses the incidence of Aphanomyces and Fusarium in Western Canada. 

Click here for the full summary of Chatterton's presentation.

Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletters so you're the first to know about current research in crop management.

Top Crop Manager's Herbicide Resistance Summit has been announced! Sign up today for early-bird pricing: https://www.weedsummit.ca/event/registration
Published in Diseases
Mary Burrows discusses the emerging pulse crop diseases she has seen in her home state of Montana, and what this could mean for western Canadian growers. Burrows also discusses the important of seed treatment in fighting these diseases. 

Click here for the full summary of Burrows' presentation.

Don't forget to subscribe to our email newsletters so you're the first to know about current research in crop management.

Top Crop Manager's Herbicide Resistance Summit has been announced! Sign up today for early-bird pricing: https://www.weedsummit.ca/event/registration
Published in Diseases
Montana has seen a spike in pulse crop acres in the last 10 to 20 years. When I started 10 years ago, my crop responsibilities included spring wheat, winter wheat, durum, and maybe a little barley. Now wheat is becoming a rotational crop for pulse production.
Published in Diseases
Hard to identify and distinguish from one another, the annual grasses compete with winter wheat and fall rye because their growth habits are similar. Downy brome (Bromus tectorum) densities of 50 to 100 plants per square metre that emerge within three weeks of the crop can reduce winter wheat yields by 30 to 40 per cent. Both downy brome and Japanese brome (Bromus japonicas) are classified as noxious weeds in Alberta.  
Published in Weeds
Most soybean and canola acres have been planted across the province, the majority of corn acres are in the V3 to V5 range, and much of the winter wheat crop has progressed beyond the post-flowering stage, according to the latest field report from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Here's the breakdown by crop, below. 

Cereals

A large majority of the winter wheat crop has progressed beyond the post-flowering stage, and spraying for Fusarium head blight protection has been completed in many regions. Stripe rust is reported to be advancing in some areas in fields that did not receive a fungicide application. Significant yield loss can occur in cases where disease pressure is very high. Fields that received a T1 or T2 herbicide application are reported to be still holding disease pressure back well. True armyworm has been observed in some fields, but not at levels that have required control. Growers are encouraged to watch for head clipping feeding. Clover stands in winter wheat look excellent.

Corn
A large majority of the crop ranges from the V3-V5 stages. In general, growers and agronomists in many areas report that plant stands and crops look great. The exception is some localized, heavier textured soil regions where planting conditions of earlier planted corn may have been pushed, and replanting is occurring. Sidedressing has started or is well underway in many areas. OMAFRA recently completed it’s annual PSNT measurement survey from June 5-6. Average soil nitrate concentrations were 8.0 ppm which is lower than the 11-12 ppm range that has been observed over the past 5 years, suggesting N mineralization may be delayed from the cooler spring. The last year when PSNT survey values were in this range was 2011. With the recent warm weather, growers and applicators are reminded to check corn herbicide labels for maximum temperature restrictions. Of particular note, spraying of hormonal herbicides (ie. dicamba) should be avoided when temperatures are expected to be above 25 C during or after application.

Soybeans
With the exception of a few localized pockets where wet conditions have prevailed and planting continues, the majority of the soybean crop has been planted. The majority of the crop is in the 1-2 trifoliate stage. While stands look reasonable in many cases, some replanting continues in areas which received heavy rainfalls after planting where crusting was evident (particularly on fine textured soils), as well as areas where seedcorn maggot pressure was high and reduced populations. A uniform population as low as 100,000 plants per acre is still considered to provide good yield potential. Planting conditions have been reported to be good for late planted or replanted soybeans. Bean leaf beetles and soybean aphids have been observed in some fields, but at very low populations where control is not warranted. If soybeans are to be rolled after planting, rolling should occur at the 1st to 2nd trifoliate stage where plants are no longer brittle and susceptible to snapping, and ideally in the heat of the day when plants are flaccid. High stand losses can occur when plants are crisp and susceptible to snapping between the emergence and the 1st trifoliate stage. When in doubt, check plants after starting to roll and evaluate the stand for snapped plants which will no longer be viable.

Forages
Growers are reporting excellent yields for first cut hay. First cut hay timed for higher quality has neared completion in many regions. In general, there has been a good weather window for first cut in most parts of the province for both haylage/silage and dry hay, and harvest progressed quickly as a result.

Canola
While a small amount of canola planting was still being reported in some areas up until the end of last week, most planting is complete and the majority of crop across most growing regions is in the 3-4 leaf stage. Swede midge emergence was being reported as early as late May, and was occurring prior to Canola emergence in some fields. Growers are encouraged to place and monitor Swede Midge traps. The control threshold is 20 adults across all traps in a field, and has been met in some fields this spring. Flea beetle pressure has been apparent in some fields, with some control being warranted. As the crop progresses beyond the 3-4 leaf stage, Canola is generally able to keep ahead of feeding. While Cabbage Seed Pod weevil has been observed in some fields, it is not typically an issue until pod set starts.

Edible Beans
Edible bean planting is reported to be nearly complete with an estimated 95 per cent of intended acres planted. Planting progressed very quickly once started, with a large amount of crop planted in a relatively narrow window. Planting conditions have been reported to be good.
Published in Corporate News
Imagine yourself as a winter wheat kernel. You’re planted in the fall, germinate and grow a bit, then hibernate until spring when you start growing again. Meanwhile, fungus and insects are attacking your roots and shoots throughout the fall and spring. No wonder poor stand establishment is a major constraint for high-yielding winter wheat crops.  
Published in Cereals
The 2016 harvest season was one some growers would like to forget. Unfortunately, the reminder was still there when the snow melted this spring uncovering thousands of unharvested acres that producers had to combine plus get a 2017 crop in the ground. But adversity leads to opportunity and the Western Winter Wheat Initiative (WWWI) encourages producers to seed winter wheat this fall as a way of dealing with unseeded acres that didn’t get planted this spring.

Seeding winter wheat into chemfallow requires different planning than seeding into other stubble. Here are some tips that Janine Paly, WWWI agronomist for Alberta, has for producers to seed winter wheat successfully.

Minimize stubble disturbance/maintain stubble: Standing stubble is a key practice to establish winter wheat as the trapped snow insulates the crop from winter elements. Year-old stubble will break apart easier than stubble from a freshly harvested crop; however, any stubble is better than summerfallow. Minimize traffic over the field to maintain stubble integrity by using the same tracks in spraying operations and avoid harrowing and cultivating if possible.

Line up seed early: Before spring crops are harvested, take advantage of the less busy time and source seed. Plan to have the seed on farm and treated with a seed treatment before planting. Research conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada indicates a seed treatment minimizes seedling disease and can help with winter survival.

Fertility management: Selecting the right source and amount will help ensure your soil has a balanced supply of plant nutrients. It is important to perform a soil test to determine nutrient levels within the field. Winter wheat nitrogen management is different than spring wheat and determining the right timing of nitrogen application will vary depending on your operation. There are a few options: fall-applied, spring-applied or split application, but the method will vary depending on weather, soil moisture, and seeding equipment. Winter wheat has the ability to yield up to 40 per cent more than CWRS with adequate rates of nitrogen.

Seed early: Seeding early is a key factor in establishing a successful winter wheat crop. Plants that enter the winter with three to four leaves have a well-develop crown tissue and a better chance of winter survival. The optimal seeding window across the Prairies is between September 1 and 15. The question that may arise is, “How early can I seed?” It is better to seed earlier than later as producers can get busy with harvest operations and forget to seed within the optimal window. Extra consideration when seeding too early is the risk of disease transfer of stripe rust or wheat streak mosaic virus. If these diseases are of concern, growers can seed a resistant variety, delay seeding (depending on region), or should avoid seeding into conditions with volunteer cereals, or adjacent to a green wheat crop.
Published in Seeding/Planting
Choosing a successor is no easy task. While various family members may have ideas about who’s entitled to inherit the farm, the current owners may have very different ideas about who has the skills to keep the farm going in the long run. 

Throw blended families and in-laws into the mix and the question of succession may not have any clear-cut answers. And, in some instances, the best successor may come from outside the family. How does one decide? | READ MORE

Published in Corporate News
Page 1 of 39

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine

Most Popular

Marketplace