Environment
Droughts are a part of the Prairie climate and severe, prolonged droughts can put a strain on irrigation water supplies. Improvements can increase energy-use efficiencies, improve crop yields, and enhance the sustainability of water resources. Some of these improvements are also  eligible for current financial incentive programs.
Published in Irrigation
The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is rolling out a total of 21 new soil health publications. These publications provide best management practices to help you preserve and conserve soil while improving soil health and crop production.

The first five titles include: 
  • Adding Organic Amendments
  • Erosion Control Structures
  • Cropland Retirement
  • Soil Health in Ontario
  • Field Windbreaks

You can find these, and more titles as they are added, here.
Published in Corporate News
It’s official: 2016 was the warmest year on record. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the average global surface temperature reached 14.83 C – the warmest it’s been since modern temperature records began in 1880.
Published in Irrigation
A team of researchers from four American universities says the key to reducing harmful greenhouse gases (GHG) in the short term is more likely to be found on the dinner plate than at the gas pump.

The team, headed by Loma Linda University (LLU) researcher Helen Harwatt, PhD, suggests that one simple change in American eating habits would have a large impact on the environment: if Americans would eat beans instead of beef, the United States would immediately realize approximately 50 to 75 percent of its GHG reduction targets for the year 2020.

The researchers explained that beef cattle are the most GHG-intensive food to produce and that the production of legumes (beans, peas, etc.) results in one-fortieth the amount of GHGs as beef.

“Given the novelty, we would expect that the study will be useful in demonstrating just how much of an impact changes in food production can make and increase the utility of such options in climate-change policy,” Harwatt said.

In a 10-page paper released May 12, Harwatt and her colleagues noted that dietary alteration for climate change mitigation is currently a hot topic among policymakers, academics and members of society at large. The paper, titled “Substituting beans for beef as a contribution towards U.S. climate change targets,” can be found online.

In addition to reducing GHG, Harwatt and her team – which included Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH; Gidon Eshel, PhD; the late Sam Soret, PhD; and William Ripple, PhD – concluded that shifting from animal-sourced to plant-sourced foods could help avert global temperature rise.

Sabate, who serves as executive director of the Center for Nutrition, Healthy Lifestyle and Disease Prevention at LLU School of Public Health, said the findings are substantial.

“The nation could achieve more than half of its GHG reduction goals without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing,” Sabate said.

The study, which was conducted while Harwatt was an environmental nutrition research fellow at Loma Linda University, also found that beef production is an inefficient use of agricultural land. Substituting beans for beef would free up 42 percent of U.S. cropland currently under cultivation — a total of 1.65 million square kilometers or more than 400 million square acres, which is approximately 1.6 times the size of the state of California.

Harwatt applauds the fact that more than a third of American consumers are currently purchasing meat analogs: plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture. She says the trend suggests that animal-sourced meat is no longer a necessity.

“Given the scale of greenhouse gas reductions needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, are we prepared to eat beef analogs that look and taste like beef, but have a much lower climate impact?” she asks. “It looks like we’ll need to do this. The scale of the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed doesn’t allow us the luxury of ‘business as usual’ eating patterns.”
Published in Corporate News
Every farmer has to deal with weed control. With the introduction of new weeds compounded by the growing issue of herbicide resistance, choosing effective herbicides has become a daunting task. Savvy Farmer, Canada’s foremost on-line authority on crop protection, has released two free new apps that every farmer who deals with weed control should have on their smartphone or tablet.

Savvy Weed ID & Control is a weed identification app that not only includes an industry-leading 300+ Canadian weeds, but also identifies every herbicide brand in Canada that will control each weed in any crop. What sets it in a class of its own though is its real-time link to the Savvy Farmer pest control database, allowing the app to instantly search through over 1,500 pesticide brands to identify every brand can control that mystery weed in any of the over 900 crops grown in Canada.

The second app is Savvy Resistance Manager. This app identifies all herbicide brands will control herbicide resistant weeds, even those with multiple resistance, in any crop. In Canada, over 40 weed species are now herbicide resistant to one, or in many cases, several different herbicide modes of action. More disturbing though is that herbicide resistance is growing in severity every year. Savvy Resistance Manager is fast and easy to use – in just 4 steps the app will generate a list of all herbicide brands that are registered to control your resistant weed in any one of 900 crops, and using the application method you prefer.

Download both apps today by searching for “Savvy Weed” or “Savvy Resistance” in either the App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android)
Published in Corporate News
Landscape characteristics including crop diversity or field size have less of an effect on the amount of insecticide used than the kind of crop a new study shows.

Over the past half century, food production has intensified to meet the growing demand. And as agricultural fields have become ever larger, more pesticides are required to enhance yield. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Winter Wheat
Early planted winter wheat continues to look better than Thanksgiving wheat. The cool, wet weather has slowed the rate of wheat development to five to seven days ahead of normal. Most of the crop is at the flag leaf stage, however crop development ranges from 1st node to heads emerging. Cooler, wet conditions have continued to keep disease pressure relatively low, but have also resulted in parts of some fields turning yellow (wet feet). Some 1st and 2nd applications of nitrogen are still being applied. Aerial applications of nitrogen are being considered on heavy clay soils in the Niagara area. Yield loss has not been observed in the past when similar conditions occurred. If sulphur deficiency showing, apply now.

Septoria leaf spot and powdery mildew are the most common diseases and primarily situated in the lower canopy but on some susceptible varieties moving up. Keep scouting but in most fields fungicide can wait for T3 timing at heading. Leaf rust is has been identified in some fields. Stripe rust over the past week has been found in Oxford, Chatham-Kent, Elgin and Bruce counties; but at low levels. The disease is not moving as fast as last year.

Spring cereals
Early planted fields have emerged while planting continues as field conditions allow.

Corn
As of May 17, corn planting in Ontario is at about 30 percent completed; however there are several areas where wet soils have prevented planting, or where rain has slowed planting. Earliest April planted corn is at the 2 leaf stage but most early planted corn is struggling to emerge. The calendar is pushing some planting to occur into soils that are wetter than ideal.

Planting date and yield potential research (U of Guelph, Deen and Hooker) shows that 95 percent of potential corn yield can be achieved at Elora where corn is planted May 20; at Exeter where corn is planted May 25 and Ridgetown where corn is planted May 30.

With the increase in cover crop biomass, watch for black cutworm as corn starts to emerge and through early corn growth. Larvae will cut off the plant just below ground level and patches of affected plants will appear wilted from hollowed out stems. Cutworm larvae can be found near affected plants below the soil surface. 

Soybeans
A few fields of soybeans have been planted, but planted acres will increase quickly with forecast warmer temperatures and ideal soil conditions. Soybeans planted three weeks ago are knuckling but have not emerged. Monitor slow to emerge fields for seedcorn maggot damage, especially where manure or cover crops have been incorporated.

Canola
Planting of spring canola is in full swing with approximately 20 percent of intended acres planted. Winter canola fields are in bloom.

Cover Crops
Fall cover crop growth exceeded expectations, resulting in some fields with higher volumes of residue to manage. Soils can be slower to dry, or where cover crops are still growing, they can reduce soil moisture in the top few inches of soil resulting in conditions that are more difficult to plant into.

Forage and Pasture
Cereal Rye fields are being harvested as a forage crop with higher than expected yields. Alfalfa forage crops are still short, but a few warm days will make a big difference in growth. A few fields have been harvested due to shortage of feed or rotation to corn. Dairy first cut will begin the last week of May. Although there have not been reports of alfalfa weevil damage, scouting for leaf feeding and where found, scheduling earlier harvest, is important.

Weed Control
When growing IP soybeans, a preemergence herbicide program is preferred as it has typically provided the best weed control and return on investment in University of Guelph trials. As the season progresses, some producers may decide to plant first and worry about weed control later. A stretch of windy or rainy weather can easily take you out of that preemergence window. Timing of postemergence herbicides in IP soybeans is critical since control is significantly reduced once weeds get beyond the 6 leaf stage of growth. Traditionally, the ideal timing of postemergence herbicide applications have been around three weeks after planting with scouting for weeds beginning at 10-14 days after planting.
Published in Corporate News
Timely information about drought conditions can help agricultural producers, agribusiness, government planners and policy-makers, emergency preparedness agencies and others to better plan for and proactively respond to drought. The Canadian Drought Monitor tracks a wide range of drought-related information and boils it all down to easy-to-understand, online monthly maps.

“The Canadian Drought Monitor is kind of an early warning system. It provides a clear picture of what is occurring in near real-time. We’re tracking drought conditions continuously so that we know where we’re at and we can respond quicker to problems,” explains Trevor Hadwen, an agroclimate specialist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). AAFC leads the Canadian Drought Monitor initiative, working in close collaboration with Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada.

He notes, “There is a very large process around developing the Drought Monitor maps that is unique to this particular product. It is not as simple as feeding climate data into a computer and having it spit out a map.” That’s because drought is difficult to measure. It can creep up on people as the cumulative effects of ongoing dry conditions gradually mount up. Its effects are often spread over broad areas. And different groups define drought conditions differently, depending on their interests and needs.

So, the Canadian Drought Monitor draws together diverse information like precipitation amounts, water storage levels, and river flow amounts, as well as information about drought impacts on people. And it combines various drought indicators used by the agriculture, forestry and water management sectors into a single composite indicator.

“All that information is put together to create one easy-to-read map product, with just five classes of drought or dryness. Users can get a very clear picture of the areal extent and severity of the drought with one look at the map,” Hadwen says.

Drought classification
The five drought classes are: D0, abnormally dry – an event that occurs once every three to five years; D1, moderate drought – an event that occurs every five to 10 years; D2, severe drought – an event that occurs every 10 to 20 years; D3, extreme drought – an event that occurs every 20 to 25 years; and D4, exceptional drought – an event that occurs every 50 years. The monthly maps are available in an interactive form that allows users to see the changes in drought location, extent and severity over time.

The Canadian Drought Monitor provides useful information for people in many sectors. Hadwen gives some examples: “For agriculture, the information helps with things like where people might want to market grains, where there might be shortages, where there might be areas of good pasture, where livestock reductions might be taking place, all those types of things. The information is also very valuable outside of agriculture, in terms of water supplies, recreational use, forest fires – the list can go on for quite a while.”

The Canadian Drought Monitor maps feed into the North American Drought Monitor maps. “The North American Drought Monitor initiative started about 12 years ago. The U.S. had been doing the U.S. Drought Monitor project for a number of years, and Mexico and Canada were interested in doing similar projects,” Hadwen notes. “So we joined forces to create a Drought Monitor for the continent.” All three countries use the same procedures to monitor, analyze and present drought-related information.

The continent-wide collaboration provides a couple of big benefits. “Number one, drought doesn’t stop at the borders,” he says. The North American initiative provides an integrated view of drought conditions across the continent.

“Also, the Drought Monitor is extremely powerful in terms of the partnerships that have developed and the linkages to some of the best scientists in North America. We share ideas and build off each other, developing better and more accurate ways of assessing drought. We can utilize some of the information generated from U.S. agencies, like NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and the National Drought Mitigation Center, and agencies in Mexico. This collaboration effort helps increase the efficiency of the science and the technical aspect of drought monitoring.”

According to Hadwen, the continental collaboration has been really helpful in building Canadian agroclimate monitoring capacity. “Over the last decade or so we have certainly matured a lot, and we’ve started to develop some really interesting tools and applications for Canadian producers and agricultural businesses to help deal with some of the climate threats to the farming industry, including droughts, floods, and everything else,” Hadwen says.

AAFC’s Drought Watch website (agr.gc.ca/drought) provides access to the Canadian Drought Monitor maps and to 
other agroclimate tools such as maps showing current and past information on precipitation, temperature and various drought indices, and the Agroclimate Impact Reporter (scroll down for "When complaining about the weather makes a difference").

 WTCJune16 drought

When complaining about the weather makes a difference
If you love to talk about the weather's impacts on your farming operation, the Agroclimate Impact Reporter (AIR) could be for you. If you want your comments about these impacts to make a difference, then AIR is definitely for you. And if you want to find out how the weather is impacting agriculture in your rural municipality, your province, or anywhere in Canada, then AIR is also for you.

AIR is a cool online tool developed by AAFC that grew out of a previous program to collect information on some drought impacts. "We have had a program in place to monitor forage production and farm water supplies in the Prairies for well over 15 years. Then about three years ago, we started to develop a tool to replace that program – a tool that would be national in scope and that could gather information on a whole range of agroclimate impacts," Hadwen explains.

AIR taps into a volunteer network of producers, AAFC staff, agribusiness people and others. "We use crowd-source data for this, gathering information from a whole wide variety of people. Some of them we know through our registered network, and others have a subscription to our email box and provide comments to us on a monthly basis," he says.

"We're trying to gather as much information from as many people as possible on how weather is impacting their farming operations. We ask the participants to do a short [anonymous] monthly survey, usually about 25 quick multiple choice questions, to let us know how things are going."

AIR is collecting impact information in several categories including: drought, excess moisture, heat stress, frost, and severe weather (like tornadoes and hail storms).

"We plot that information and produce a whole bunch of individual maps showing very subject-specific information from each survey question," Hadwen notes. "We also have a searchable online geographic database. On a map of Canada, you can zoom in on different regions and see where we're getting reports of a large number of impacts or not as many impacts. You can even drill down into that map and see the exact comments that we are getting from [the different types of respondents, in each rural municipality]."

The information collected through AIR provides important additional insights into the weather conditions and related issues and risks. He says, "Sometimes the data we have in Canada isn't as fulsome as we would like, and sometimes it doesn't tell the whole story. For instance, the data [from weather stations in a particular area] might show that it didn't rain for a very long period and the area is in a very bad drought, but the producers in the area are telling us that they got some timely rains through that dry period that helped their crops continue to grow. Or, the data might show that we received a lot of rain in a season – like we did in 2015, if you look at the overall trend – but the farmers are telling us that there were big problems in the spring. So, combining both those types of information certainly helps draw the whole story together a little better."

AIR information feeds into the Canadian Drought Monitor to help in assessing the severity of drought conditions. As well, the AAFC's Agroclimate group incorporates AIR information into its regular updates to AAFC's Minister and senior policy people; it helps them to better understand what is happening on the land, and that knowledge can help in developing policies and targeting programs.

Information from AIR is also valuable for businesses that work with producers, such as railroad companies wondering about regional crop yields and where to place their rail cars, and agricultural input companies wondering if they need to bring in extra feed or fertilizer.

AAFC is in the process building AIR into a national program. "We want to collect agroclimate impact information from right across the country. We have a history in the Prairie region, so we have more Prairie producers providing information. We've made inroads into B.C., so we're getting some reports from there already," Hadwen says. "[Now] we're going out to Atlantic Canada and Ontario. And over the next couple of years, we'll be expanding AIR right across the country."

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer AIR reporter, visit www.agr.gc.ca/air.


This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of
Top Crop Manager West.
Published in Business Management

In recent decades, Prairie producers have taken steps – such as using minimum tillage, improving water supplies for livestock, and storing extra feed – that enable them to survive short droughts. But the Prairie climate in the coming decades could include droughts that last five, 10 or more years, as well as extreme swings between really wet and really dry conditions. So Prairie people are starting to come together to plan and prepare for whatever the future might hold.

Many people on the Prairies have experienced dramatic shifts between extremely dry and extremely wet periods in the last few years. “For instance, from April to June in 2015, Regina had 43 millimetres of rain. Normally it would see about 147. Looking at the records that go back to the 1880s, it turns out to be the third driest such period in 120 years. But the previous April to June was the wettest on record for Regina. That is the kind of weather whiplash that farmers are dealing with. The weather has a Jekyll and Hyde personality,” David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, says.

He adds, “Farmers build into their strategies dealing with things like too wet to seed and too dry to grow – those things happen when you’re in farming. But when you get back-to-back weather conditions you would expect to see only once in a career of 40 or 50 years of farming, how can you deal with that?”

Looking at the period from 2009 to 2011, University of Manitoba atmospheric scientist John Hanesiak and his colleagues found that precipitation ranged “between record drought and unprecedented flooding.” In some instances, drought and very heavy rains occurred at the same time in different parts of the Prairies. And some locations experienced both weather extremes within those three years; for example, some southern Manitoba farmers had insurance claims for both flooding and drought in the 2009 growing season.

This type of wild variability is predicted to be part of the future climate. “We are expecting to see greater variability from year to year, going from droughts to really wet periods. Even the older climate models were telling us 10 or 15 years ago to expect that kind of a pattern,” Hanesiak says.

The current variability in the Prairie weather may be one indication that the predicted patterns in the atmosphere are starting to become a reality. “Recently some articles have suggested that we’re on the verge of seeing these things happening now, where the wave in the jet stream tends to meander a little more. That potentially could create a more stagnant pattern, where you get longer periods of drought and longer periods of wet, depending on where you are on that wave,” Hanesiak explains.

Studies of past climate patterns show that such weather extremes are not new to the Prairies. Research by Dave Sauchyn of the University of Regina has found that multi-year and multi-decade Prairie droughts have occurred during the past 1,000 years.

“We tend to get caught off-guard [by extreme weather] and we use the excuse that ‘we couldn’t have anticipated it because it has never happened before.’ We’re implying that it has never happened in our lifetime because we all think in terms of our own situation,” Sauchyn says. “But if you get outside your own local experience and look at the longer records, you find that it has happened over and over again.”

Adapting as individuals and groups
Sauchyn has been sharing the results of his climate research with Prairie people who need the information, and he has been learning from them about their drought adaptation strategies. For example, in October 2015, Sauchyn and his research group met in southwestern Saskatchewan with local people including farmers, ranchers and government officials.

“They told us that much of what they have already done over the decades, and especially the last few decades, is putting them in good shape because, in general, agricultural practices are more sustainable than they were in the past. That is reflected in less soil erosion and more resilient agricultural ecosystems. In general, if you maintain a healthy and resilient agro-ecosystem and take proper care of pastures, crops, soil and water, then agriculture will be less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change,” he says.

“But they also told us that individual farmers and ranchers can only do so much, especially if drought exceeds more than one or two years. They can store water for a couple of years. There is an extensive water storage and diversion infrastructure on the Prairies, especially in the drier parts, and it has been very effective in withstanding one- or two-year droughts. Beyond that, there is only so much water that can be stored. Similarly, feed can be stored for one or two years. But they tell us that after a couple of years of drought, the local options are pretty much exhausted.”

At that stage, people turn to their social capital. Sauchyn explains, “We’re all familiar with concepts like ‘fiscal capital,’ money, and ‘natural capital,’ ecosystem goods; there is also ‘social capital,’ maintaining good relations among neighbours. Especially when people are faced with climate extremes like flooding and drought, they rely very much on that social capital.”

He notes, “One of the most effective ways to adapt to a changing climate is to work collectively, with your neighbours within your watershed. Local organizations such as watershed stewardship groups are especially effective.”

Preparing for extreme
One example of a Prairie watershed agency working to prepare for climate variability is the Battle River Watershed Alliance (BRWA). The Battle River has its origins in east-central Alberta and flows into Saskatchewan where it joins the North Saskatchewan River. The BRWA is an Alberta group created in 2006 and it operates in the Alberta portion of the Battle River and Sounding Creek watersheds. The BRWA describes itself as “an inclusive, collaborative and consensus-based community partnership that is working to guide, support and deliver actions to sustain or improve the health of the Battle River watershed.”

BRWA research and stewardship coordinator Susanna Bruneau outlines how the Alliance is approaching climate variability. “At conferences, they talk about preparing for extremes, where you could get really wet events, like the flood in Calgary a couple of years ago, or a multi-year drought. We’ve been trying to work on things that can help in managing both those extremes, especially natural infrastructure like wetlands and riparian areas and even shelterbelts.” Those types of features can have benefits like reducing flood peaks, capturing water in case of drought, and protecting water quality.

She notes, “Another part of how we approach things is trying to have our systems – whether it’s our social support systems, agriculture systems or water infrastructure systems – made in a way that can be adaptive to whatever comes our way.” She explains that the BRWA recognizes the complexity and uncertainty in these systems so it works to continually learn from experience and adjust its plans and actions to more effectively deal with emerging realities. If the BRWA finds that an approach is not working, then it evaluates the approach, asks stakeholders what should be done differently, and modifies the approach to make it work better.

Drought planning a priority
In a watershed-wide consultation process, local people identified drought planning as a top priority for the BRWA. So it developed drought guidelines and policies, which were released in 2012. These documents provide a framework to help agencies in the watershed when developing drought plans for their own area of responsibility. The guidelines relate to agriculture, social issues, natural areas, and water quantity and quality, and consider the social, economic and ecological impacts of drought.

The BRWA’s drought guidelines cover both “drought adaptation,” preparation for future droughts, and “drought management,” responses during a drought. A few examples of the drought adaptation options for agriculture include: actions that research agencies could take, such as developing drought-tolerant crop varieties; actions that governments could take, such as monitoring water supplies, developing drought plans and policies and modifying crop insurance programs; and actions that producers could take, such as choosing crops adapted to drier conditions, developing drought farm plans, managing grazing rates, conserving wetlands and riparian areas and diversifying farm income. The drought management guidelines for agriculture include actions like implementing drought plans, and sharing drought monitoring information.

Although people in the Battle River watershed are aware of the need for drought planning and preparedness, it is a challenge for local agencies to direct their limited human and financial resources towards this task. Bruneau doesn’t know of any agencies in the watershed that are currently using the BRWA’s guidelines to develop their own drought plans, but she’s hoping that will change.

“Drought is part of the climate cycles here on the Prairies. Drought is going to happen, no matter what happens with climate change. There is a lot we can do to mitigate the impacts of drought if we plan and adapt before a drought happens,” Bruneau says.

“Drought is not like a flood or an earthquake; it’s not a sudden crisis where you have to deal with things in the heat of the moment. Drought is sly and it sneaks up on you. Unless you are paying attention you’ll get caught. But we have opportunities to prepare for drought, and when we see drought coming or just less than normal precipitation, there are things we can do.”

Published in Seeding/Planting
AccuWeather reports an active wildfire season is in store for the Canadian Prairies this summer, especially northern Alberta, as hot, dry weather dominates.

Meanwhile, Ontario will face rounds of thunderstorms with the threat for severe weather increasing in July and August.

Hot, dry conditions to heighten wildfire threat in the Prairies

The hottest weather of the summer will focus on Central and Western Canada, leading to an increasing drought as the season progresses.

"The drought may become much more widespread across the western Prairies during the middle and end of summer," says AccuWeather Canadian weather expert Brett Anderson.

The hot, dry weather will also contribute to a heightened risk of wildfires across the region, especially in July and August.

"If there is a region where there may be a significant increase in wildfire activity later in the summer, it would be the northern half of Alberta," Anderson said.

This part of Alberta endured massive wildfires last summer, forcing the evacuation of Fort McMurray.

While hot, dry weather will be the theme for much of central and western Canada, areas close to the Pacific coast will have temperatures that are closer to normal.

"Ocean water surface temperatures off the coast are running cooler compared to previous years, and this should keep temperatures close to normal along the coast."

This includes Vancouver, which experienced a warmer-than-normal summer in 2016.

The Canadian Rockies will also have breaks from the heat as thunderstorms frequent the mountains.

"I think there will be more thunderstorms than usual the second half of the summer [over the Rockies]," Anderson says.

While the thunderstorms will bring rainfall and limit the heat, lightning could spark wildfires if the storms develop near unusually dry areas.

Warm, stormy summer to unfold around Great Lakes, Montreal

This summer is shaping up to bring typical warmth to much of Ontario and southern Quebec, while unbearable humidity remains at bay.

"The summer will be less humid than usual [in these areas]," Anderson says. This is due to cold fronts passing through the region on a regular basis.

The fronts will also bring many opportunities for thunderstorms, some of which may be severe.

"There is the potential for a few severe thunderstorm outbreaks in Ontario, especially from July into mid-August," Anderson says.

This includes major cities such as Ottawa and Windsor, Ontario.

Cool, wet weather on tap across Atlantic Canada

While summer heat dominates much of Canada, a much different weather pattern will set up over Atlantic Canada. Cool and wet conditions will dominate the weather pattern for much of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, Labrador and northern Quebec through August.

"This summer is not expected to be unusually hot, but humidity may be higher than usual the second half of the season," Anderson says.

The higher humidity will fuel showers and thunderstorms throughout the summer months, especially areas farther inland away from the comparatively cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

"Coastal areas may be especially cool due to below-normal sea-surface temperatures and a greater number of days with fog," Anderson says.

Click here to see what was predicited for the spring – did it play out accordingly in your area?
Published in Corporate News
By 2050, we will need to feed 2 billion more people on less land. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide levels are predicted to hit 600 parts per million –a 50 per cent increase over today’s levels – and 2050 temperatures are expected to frequently match the top 5 per cent hottest days from 1950-1979. In a three-year field study, researchers proved engineered soybeans yield more than conventional soybeans in 2050’s predicted climatic conditions.| READ MORE
Published in Plant Breeding
Scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have found that the overall health of honeybee hives actually improves in the presence of agricultural production.

The study, “Agricultural Landscape and Pesticide Effects on Honey Bee Biological Traits,” which was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology, evaluated the impacts of row-crop agriculture, including the traditional use of pesticides, on honeybee health. Results indicated that hive health was positively correlated to the presence of agriculture. According to the study, colonies in a non-agricultural area struggled to find adequate food resources and produced fewer offspring.

“We’re not saying that pesticides are not a factor in honeybee health. There were a few events during the season where insecticide applications caused the death of some foraging bees,” says Mohamed Alburaki, lead author and post-doctoral fellow with the University of Tennessee Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology (EPP). “However, our study suggests that the benefits of better nutrition sources and nectar yields found in agricultural areas outweigh the risks of exposure to agricultural pesticides.”

A​ccording to the study, hives located in areas with high to moderate agricultural vegetation grew faster and larger than those in low or non-agricultural areas. Researchers suggest the greater population sizes enabled better colony thermoregulation in these hives, as well.

Meanwhile, bees located in a non-agricultural environment were challenged to find food. Although fewer pesticide contaminants were reported in these areas, the landscape did not provide sustainable forage. In fact, during the observations, two colonies in the non-agricultural areas collapsed due to starvation.

Disruptions and fluctuations in brood rearing were also more notable in a non-agricultural environment. Interestingly, brood production was highest in the location that exhibited a more evenly distributed mix of agricultural production, forests and urban activity.

“One possible explanation for this finding could be the elevated urban activity in this location,” says Alburaki. “Ornamental plantings around homes or businesses, or backyard gardens are examples of urban activity that increase the diversity of pollen in an area. Greater pollen diversity has been credited with enhancing colony development.”

Researchers also evaluated trapped pollen from each colony for pesticide residues. Low concentrations of fungicides, herbicides and insecticides were identified, but at levels well below the lethal dose for honey bees. Imidacloprid was the only neonicotinoid detected, also at sub-lethal levels.

Agricultural pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, are considered by some to be a key factor in declining honeybee populations. The UTIA study found that higher exposure to pesticides in agricultural environments did not result in measurable impacts on colony productivity.

This study was supported in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service Pest Management Program.
Published in Corporate News
Health Canada has published the final re-evaluation decision on glyphosate. Following a rigorous science-based assessment, Health Canada has determined that when used according to the label, products containing glyphosate are not a concern to human health and the environment.

Based on this re-evaluation, Health Canada will continue the registration of products that contain glyphosate, but will require updates to product labels. By April 2019, manufacturers will be required to ensure that all commercial labels on pesticides containing glyphosate include the following:

·      A statement indicating that re-entry into the sprayed areas should be restricted to 12 hours after application in agricultural areas where glyphosate products were used.

·      A statement indicating that the product is to be applied only when the potential to spread to areas of human activity, such as houses, cottages, schools and recreational areas, is minimal.

·      Instructions for spray buffer zones to protect non-targeted areas and aquatic habitats from unintended exposure.

·      Precautionary statements to reduce the potential for runoff of glyphosate into aquatic areas.

Health Canada will continue monitoring research on potential impacts of glyphosate products to ensure the safety and security of Canadians and the environment. The department also says they are committed to working closely with its international counterparts on evidence-based approaches to pesticide regulations.

Don't forget, the Pesticide Label Search App can help you find the latest detailed instructions, first aid statements and warnings on the label.
Published in Corporate News
Results from a flurry of studies over the past decade indicate certain plant-associated bacteria and other biological particles can play a part in ice formation in clouds, leading to precipitation. One possible implication is that in the future, farmers might grow specific crops to produce those particles in order to increase rainfall in drought-affected areas – although many questions would need to be answered before this could become a reality.
Published in Corporate News
Largely overlooked and previously not studied a lot in Canada, weed seed predation provides the second-largest loss of weed seeds from the seed bank, second only to germination. Although research has been almost exclusively carried out in Europe and the United States, recent research at the University of Saskatchewan proves weed seed predation is occurring in western Canadian cropping systems and can be measured.
Published in Weeds
Urban sprawl has some Ontario farmers, agricultural organizations and even politicians looking to the north as the future for agriculture in the province. It is, after all, where producers can find cheaper land – typically priced between $1,000 to $1,500 per acre – and lots of it.
Published in Emerging Trends
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has found traces of the controversial herbicide glyphosate in nearly 30 per cent of about 3,200 food products it tested, and residue levels above the acceptable limits in 1.3 per cent of the samples. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
It’s official: 2016 was the warmest year on record. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports the average global surface temperature reached 14.83 C – the warmest it’s been since modern temperature records began in 1880.
Published in Corporate News
Parts of Canada’s prairies will be wetter than normal in the last two weeks of April, costing farmers “significant” field work delays at the start of planting, says Joel Widenor, an agricultural meteorologist with Commodity Weather Group in Bethesda, Maryland. | READ MORE
Published in Seeding/Planting
Just over 20 years ago, researchers initiated the first bioherbicide research and development program in the country at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in Saskatoon. Led by Karen Bailey (who recently retired), the program has made significant advancements in bioherbicide development for horticulture and turf crops, and more recently, promising solutions for agriculture. Bioherbicide product development is a welcome addition to the integrated weed management toolbox for crop production. Biopesticides are classified as “reduced-risk” products by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).
Published in Herbicides
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