Crop Chemicals
A seed treatment is a vital and effective product, so long as it stays on the seeds where it can do its work. When it is released into the surrounding environment, however, it can cause significant political and environmental concern.
Published in Seed Treatment
Weed management is always an important topic to producers. Weeds evolve and change year to year: What plagued fields last year may be completely di erent from what growers will see in their fields this year. Decisions on what to spray can become overwhelming. That’s why we’ve continued to make updates to our Weed Control Guide for 2018. We’ve laid out the products available to you (at the time of publication) in alphabetical order, followed by tank-mix partners.
According to Peter Sikkema, professor of field crop weed management at University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus, glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane was first found in eight fields in Ontario’s Essex County in 2010.
Published in Weeds
With the introduction of Monsanto’s glyphosate- and dicamba-resistant soybean into the Canadian market in 2017, producers may be wondering if there is any benefit to tank-mixing the two herbicides for weed control.
Published in Herbicides
Nitrogen loss is real. University of Minnesota researcher Fabian Fernandez says growers could seriously shave the fertilizer budget by taking a different approach to nitrogen (N) applications.
Dealing with weeds? Of course you are. And thanks to the ever-evolving nature of weeds, what you dealt with in 2017 might not help you with what could happen in 2018. Of course lessons are learned, but as a producer, your goal should always be to learn more, stay informed and be diligent – otherwise your crop yields (and your bottom line) suffer.
Published in Corporate News
Weed management – a top priority for producers – seems to become more complex year after year. At times, the decisions may seem overwhelming: which products should be applied when and in what combinations? To aid you in your decision-making, Top Crop Manager is pleased to bring you our annual Weed Control Guide for corn, soybeans and cereals.
Corn growers across Ontario and Quebec now have the option of applying Delegate insecticide by air for control of Western bean cutworm (WBC) and European corn borer. 
Published in Insecticides
With proposed limitations and even all-out bans on the horizon, we could say the future of seed treatments has never been so uncertain. Although changes are coming down the pipeline (like the new mitigation measures for the neonicotinoids clothiandin and thiamethoxam), what won’t change is the fact that seed treatments are a very important tool in the grower toolbox.
Published in Seed Treatment
Dr. Peter Sikkema and Dr. Darren Robinson, weed scientists at the University of Guelph, will be hosting an intensive course on herbicide activity (mode-of-action, selectivity, efficacy, crop injury) and weed identification in London, Ont., this coming fall. 
Published in Weeds
Over the long-term, crop rotation, fertilizer strategies and management practices impact field productivity, nitrogen cycling and balance, and soil properties. These long-term practices also have an impact on greenhouse gas emissions such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and provide opportunities to reduce environmental Nitrogen (N) losses.
The Canola Council of Canada has just released an educational video highlighting blackleg in canola and the management tools available for producers. 

Give it a watch and check out a couple of our research articles here, here and here

Sign up for our newsletters to get more information on canola research and the status of blackleg in canola.
Published in Canola
As swede midge populations continue to rise in Quebec, canola growers are looking for better ways to manage the pest. Entomologist Geneviève Labrie is leading a two-year research project to help advance integrated management strategies for swede midge.
Published in Insect Pests
Ag Growth International Inc. recently announced it has acquired CMC Industrial Electronics and Junge Control Inc.

CMC is a leading supplier of hazard monitoring sensors and systems used in agricultural material handling applications. CMC also manufactures commercial bin monitoring sensors and systems. Founded in 1997, CMC has locations in Burnaby, B.C., and Minneapolis, MN. CMC has strong relationships with domestic and multinational customers and provides AGI with new products to better serve its customers in an environment of increasingly stringent safety standards.

JCI is a leading manufacturer of automation, measurement and blending systems for the agriculture and fuel industries. Founded in 1979, JCI is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. JCI's precision blending and measurement systems, focused primarily on liquid fertilizer blending, are highly complementary to AGI's fertilizer product offering and further broadens AGI's fertilizer platform.

The acquisitions of CMC and JCI add significant strength to our applied technology platform, and continue to evolve our product and solution portfolio enabling us to serve current and future customers with broader solutions. AGI is proud to welcome the teams from CMC and JCI to the AGI family.
Published in Corporate News
High performance, consistency and convenience are three increasingly important attributes to Western Canadian farmers as they manage more acres with the same or fewer resources. In 2018, Arylex Active herbicides will not only make life easier for farmers at spray time, the benefits can last year round with the Go4Arylex Contest.

Dow AgroSciences Arylex active herbicides: Pixxaro, Paradigm, Cirpreme XC and Rexade are changing the way farmers think about spraying their crops. Arylex active is a new, powerful Group 4 active that enables farmers to ‘just go’ so they can spray when they want, in the conditions they’ve got.

“These products were designed to deliver excellent weed control regardless of timing - controlling a wide range of small or large weeds with the crop safety to allow flexible crop staging,” explains Kelly Bennett, category leader, west crops herbicides, Dow AgroSciences Canada. “They also have the ability to move in the plant and be effective during stressful or less than ideal climatic conditions. This means Arylex active works anytime during the season on the farmer's schedule, not just Mother Nature's, simplifying the herbicide decision and adding efficiency to get spraying done sooner. It's really worry-free broadleaf weed control."

The Arylex active Just GO benefits add up to even more, with the formal announcement of the ‘Go4Arylex Giveaway’ contest. This fall, four lucky farmers will each win one of the following pieces of high performing John Deere farm equipment, designed to make the everyday tasks on the farm easier.
  •  John Deere ZTrak™ Zero-Turn Mower
  •  John Deere Gator™ Utility Vehicle
  •  John Deere Sub-Compact Utility Tractor
  •  John Deere Compact Utility Tractor
Farmers are invited to register online starting January 8th, 2018 and accumulate entries throughout the course of the year by collecting codes or purchasing the participating products. The GO4Arylex contest launches at the Western Canadian Crop Production Show and concludes October 31st.

For further details on registration, entries and prize packages, please visit 
Published in Corporate News
Harvest quality of milling oats is very important, and growers sometimes utilize harvest aids such as pre-harvest glyphosate. A properly timed application can help growers control perennial weeds and improve crop harvestability, while meeting maximum residue limit (MRL) requirements. However, some buyers have placed restrictions on the use of pre-harvest glyphosate on oats they purchase.

Christian Willenborg, associate professor with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, initiated a small study in 2015 to collect some initial research data and find a way to lend science to the decision-making process.

“We were surprised at the announcement that some milling quality oats would not be accepted if treated with glyphosate, and frankly, this didn’t sit well with me. But there was no science on this and so we immediately established a one-season ‘look-see’ trial in 2015 at two locations near Saskatoon to compare different harvest systems and their effects on quality of milling oats,” he says. “We compared two different oat cultivars: CDC Dancer, a medium maturity cultivar, and AC Pinnacle, a later maturing cultivar. The oats were managed using typical agronomy practices, including a seeding rate of 300 seeds per square metre (seeds/m2) targeting 250 plants per square metre (plants/m2) and fertilized for a target yield of 150 bushels per acre.”

The second factor was a comparison of three different harvest systems, including swathing at the optimum timing of 35 per cent moisture, direct combined (at approximately nine per cent seed moisture content alone and direct combined with a pre-harvest glyphosate application. The pre-harvest glyphosate was applied according to label requirements at 30 per cent seed moisture content using the recommended label rate. The project compared various harvest quality parameters, as well as functional quality characteristics and residue testing across the different treatments.

Through funding from the Prairie Oat Growers Association and the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, the initial 2015 trial has been expanded into a fully funded, much larger three-year project that will involve several additional experiments.

“We gained some very good insights in the initial trial, but these very preliminary results will be compared again in this larger expanded trial over the next three years. Until we get the final results at the end of 2018, these early one-season informational highlights have to be considered very preliminary,” Willenborg says.

The 2015 preliminary results showed that, as expected, cultivar had an impact on all of the quality parameters, such as yield, plump kernels, 1,000 kernel weight and test weight. However, there was no cultivar by harvest system interaction – the effects of the harvest system were consistent regardless of which cultivar was planted.

“The harvest system did have an impact on several of the quality parameters, however the preliminary results did not show any negative effects of a pre-harvest glyphosate application,” Willenborg explains. “In terms of yield, swathing resulted in a 15 to 18 per cent yield reduction compared to direct harvest, however some of that reduction may be a function of our plot harvesting equipment, and this may be different with field-scale grower systems. The direct harvested plots, with and without a pre-harvest glyphosate treatment, had virtually equal yield. Swathing produced the highest test weight, with direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate equal to the swathing treatment; direct harvest with no glyphosate had a significant lower test weight.”

The swathing treatment also produced the highest percentage of thin kernels, with direct harvest and no glyphosate intermediate and the lowest percentage of thin kernels with direct harvest plus glyphosate treatment. On the other hand, the percentage of plump kernels was the same in both direct harvest treatments, but slightly lower for the swathing treatment. Overall, the pre-harvest glyphosate reduced the percentage of thin kernels in the sample, which is a benefit for growers.

“For the initial and longer term project, we partnered with Dr. Nancy Ames at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to compare the functional aspects of the oat cultivars under the different treatments,” Willenborg says. “Her preliminary functional test results were similar to the seed quality results, with no major impacts on functional quality among the treatments. For the glyphosate testing, we partnered with Dr. Sheryl Tittlemier at the Canadian Grain Commission to develop a glyphosate residue test for oat. Her initial test results from the 2015 treatments showed that the direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate treatment did have very small levels of residues at four [parts per million], which is well below the MRL threshold levels in North America. We will continue to use this test for the larger project.”

The expanded three-year study will include the same harvest treatments, with some additional trials assessing seeding rate and stand uniformity. Stand uniformity is related to the question of whether or not additional tillers in the stand may be a factor with potential glyphosate issues. The three harvest treatments will also be compared at a range of different moisture contents, from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 per cent at the time of swathing, or direct harvest alone and direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate.

Willenborg will also be investigating alternative cultural and herbicide combinations for managing perennial weeds in oat. The full analysis and final project results will be available in 2019, including seed quality and functional analysis.

“So far it doesn’t appear that glyphosate is having an adverse effect on oat seed quality or functionality, and if anything is showing a small quality benefit to having glyphosate applied prior to harvest,” Willenborg says. “The key is to follow the label directions for pre-harvest application and make sure the crop is at 30 per cent moisture or lower, which corresponds roughly to the hard dough stage of development. All of our research treatments have been completed according to the label, but once you get off label in terms of timing we don’t know what will happen with glyphosate residues.

“For example, in some of our earlier work with lentil, the results were fine as long as label directions were followed, but as soon as application got off label in terms of timing and at higher moisture content, [that’s] where problems with quality and MRLs showed up. We expect that may be similar to oat, which is often harvested late in the season, when growers are between a rock and a hard place, with frost or heavy rains threatening harvest.”

Although it can be a challenge to apply glyphosate at the proper timing, there can be serious consequences due to not adhering to the label timing. Always follow the label, and check with your grain buyer about the acceptance of all pre-harvest and other product use and MRLs for all crops, including oats.
Published in Herbicides
Engineers at Rice University’s Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center have found a catalyst that cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water.

The research is available online in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Catalysis.

“Nitrates come mainly from agricultural runoff, which affects farming communities all over the world,” said Rice chemical engineer Michael Wong, the lead scientist on the study. “Nitrates are both an environmental problem and health problem because they’re toxic. There are ion-exchange filters that can remove them from water, but these need to be flushed every few months to reuse them, and when that happens, the flushed water just returns a concentrated dose of nitrates right back into the water supply.”

Wong’s lab specializes in developing nanoparticle-based catalysts, submicroscopic bits of metal that speed up chemical reactions. In 2013, his group showed that tiny gold spheres dotted with specks of palladium could break apart nitrites, the more toxic chemical cousins of nitrates.

“Nitrates are molecules that have one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms,” Wong explained. “Nitrates turn into nitrites if they lose an oxygen, but nitrites are even more toxic than nitrates, so you don’t want to stop with nitrites. Moreover, nitrates are the more prevalent problem.

“Ultimately, the best way to remove nitrates is a catalytic process that breaks them completely apart into nitrogen and oxygen, or in our case, nitrogen and water because we add a little hydrogen,” he said. “More than 75 percent of Earth’s atmosphere is gaseous nitrogen, so we’re really turning nitrates into air and water.”

Nitrates are toxic to infants and pregnant women and may also be carcinogenic. Nitrate pollution is common in agricultural communities, especially in the U.S. Corn Belt and California’s Central Valley, where fertilizers are heavily used, and some studies have shown that nitrate pollution is on the rise due to changing land-use patterns.

Both nitrates and nitrites are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets allowable limits for safe drinking water. In communities with polluted wells and lakes, that typically means pretreating drinking water with ion-exchange resins that trap and remove nitrates and nitrites without destroying them.

From their previous work, Wong’s team knew that gold-palladium nanoparticles were not good catalysts for breaking apart nitrates. Co-author Kim Heck, a research scientist in Wong’s lab, said a search of published scientific literature turned up another possibility: indium and palladium.

“We were able to optimize that, and we found that covering about 40 percent of a palladium sphere’s surface with indium gave us our most active catalyst,” Heck said. “It was about 50 percent more efficient than anything else we found in previously published studies. We could have stopped there, but we were really interested in understanding why it was better, and for that we had to explore the chemistry behind this reaction.”

In collaboration with chemical engineering colleagues Jeffrey Miller of Purdue University and Lars Grabow of the University of Houston, the Rice team found that the indium speeds up the breakdown of nitrates while the palladium apparently keeps the indium from being permanently oxidized.

“Indium likes to be oxidized,” Heck said. “From our in situ studies, we found that exposing the catalysts to solutions containing nitrate caused the indium to become oxidized. But when we added hydrogen-saturated water, the palladium prompted some of that oxygen to bond with the hydrogen and form water, and that resulted in the indium remaining in a reduced state where it’s free to break apart more nitrates.”

Wong said his team will work with industrial partners and other researchers to turn the process into a commercially viable water-treatment system.

“That’s where NEWT comes in,” he said. “NEWT is all about taking basic science discoveries and getting them deployed in real-world conditions. This is going to be an example within NEWT where we have the chemistry figured out, and the next step is to create a flow system to show proof of concept that the technology can be used in the field.”

NEWT is a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice that was established by the National Science Foundation in 2015 to develop compact, mobile, off-grid water-treatment systems that can provide clean water to millions of people and make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective. NEWT is expected to leverage more than $40 million in federal and industrial support by 2025 and is focused on applications for humanitarian emergency response, rural water systems and wastewater treatment and reuse at remote sites, including both onshore and offshore drilling platforms for oil and gas exploration.

Additional study co-authors include Sujin Guo, Huifeng Qian and Zhun Zhao, all of Rice, and Sashank Kasiraju of the University of Houston. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the China Scholarship Council.
Published in Consumer Issues
The federal government has proposed tighter restrictions around the two insecticides: clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

Under proposed changes, the product will be banned from some uses such as orchard trees or strawberry patches, and restrictions are on the way for other uses such as on berries and legumes. New measures will also require new labelling for seed treatments.

"Scientific evidence shows that with the proposed restrictions applied, the use of clothianidin and thiamethoxam does not present an unacceptable risk to bees," says Margherita Conti, an official with Health Canada's pest management regulatory agency. | READ MORE
Published in Seed Treatment
Canadian lentil growers now have another tool in the fight against yield-robbing weeds. Focus herbicide has received registration for use in front of lentils for broad spectrum grass and broadleaf weed control, in addition to the current label on spring and winter wheat, corn and soybeans.

"This is a great addition to our Focus label," explains Paul Allen, product manager for FMC Canada. "Lentil growers are eager to have new actives as an option to address their weed concerns. FMC is excited to bring solutions to these growers which will enable them to maximize their lentil yield."

Focus has demonstrated high levels of activity on several species of weeds increasing in presence across the Prairies, including foxtail(s), downy brome and Japanese brome. Focus enhances resistance management with a novel Group 15 mode of action that provides residual activity on a broad spectrum of grassy and broadleaf weeds as well as a Group 14 herbicide that, when tank mixed with glyphosate, speeds up and assists in the burn-off of emerged broadleaf weeds. Focus is available as a liquid formulation offering ease of application and low use rates.

For more information on FMC Canada crop protection products, visit
Published in Pulses
Richardson International Limited is adding another crop inputs location to its growing network of retail crop inputs centres across the Prairies. The company recently announced the acquisition of Bestland Air Ltd., an independent crop inputs retailer located near Starbuck, Man. The transaction closed on Dec. 8, 2017.

“This business is an excellent addition to our Richardson Pioneer network as it will be an extension of our full-service Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centre in Starbuck,” says Tom Hamilton, vice-president, Agribusiness Operations. “It will provide us with additional capacity and enhance our ability to continue providing local producers with leading seed, fertilizer and crop inputs technologies.”

Richardson is focused on building its crop inputs network across Western Canada through both acquisitions and new builds. The company acquired 10 retail crop inputs locations from CHS Canada in October and purchased two independent, full-service retail crop inputs centres in Vermilion and Forestburg, Alta., last summer.

Richardson is also expanding its network by building new crop inputs facilities in strategic locations across the Prairies. Two new crop inputs centres opened in Elrose, Sask., last summer and in Pasqua, Sask., in November. A third new crops inputs facility is currently under construction in Wakaw, Sask., and will be open for business in 2018.
Published in Corporate News
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