Field Crops
Farm Management Canada (FMC) and the Canadian Association of Diploma in Agriculture Programs (CADAP) have announced the selection of the winners of the 2016-2017 Excellence Award for Ag Students Competition. 

FMC and CADAP collected submissions from agricultural students across Canada and selected three winners who will receive scholarships towards furthering their education in agriculture. 

The award is designed to help students develop their communication skills by having the opportunity to voice their opinion on a on a subject related to farm management.

Students were asked to submit a multimedia presentation, a video, a Twitter chat, a blog or a Wiki, responding to the following question:

Certain segments of the general public question the way food is produced, and have misgivings about the use of new technology. What concrete steps would you, as a future member of the agricultural industry, propose to bridge the information and awareness gap?

This year's winners are:

Shanthanu Krishna Kumar
University of Guelph, Ont.

Jasmin Bautz
University of Saskatchewan, Sask.

William Lacasse
Institut de Technologie Agroalimentaire, campus de La Pocatière, Que.

Visit fmc-gac.com for more details on the winners and their competition entries.
Published in Corporate News
In 2016, we conducted field surveys for root rot of pea and lentil in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In Alberta we surveyed 27 lentil and 89 pea fields during flowering, and 67 lentil and 68 pea fields in Saskatchewan.
Published in Diseases
As a response to declining Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark populations across the province, the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) has teamed up with researchers to launch a platform for farmers to record sightings of these two species at risk. GrassLander, a web-based map, gives Ontario farmers the ability to easily collect data on grassland bird behaviour. The data will contribute to a better scientific understanding of population trends that can help to inform science-based decision-making.

GrassLander is designed to be accessible to farmers, whether they’re out in the field or sitting at the kitchen table; the platform is optimized for computer, tablet or smart phone. Completely free, an online tutorial is available to take registrants through the steps of how to use GrassLander. All the information collected through GrassLander is secure; and to protect the privacy of GrassLander participants, the data is aggregated and only you are able to see your individual information.

GrassLander is ideal for producers who work agricultural land that includes pastures, meadows, native grasslands, restored grasslands, hayfields, or any other agricultural grassland spaces. Ontario producers and OSCIA have contributed to grassland bird conservation across the province in a variety of ways, including cost-share programs, research, education, and awareness initiatives; GrassLander is the latest addition to these valuable conservation efforts.

For more information on GrassLander or to get involved and start recording your sightings, visit ontariograsslander.ca.
Published in Corporate News
Canadians now have access to a new level of personal emergency assistance and peace of mind, backed by an organization known for its expertise in finding and caring for critically ill and injured patients.
Published in Corporate News
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
When it comes to the economics of growing winter cereals such as winter wheat and hybrid fall rye, the numbers don’t tell the full story. Looking at the three provincial government crop planning guides published for Prairie producers in 2017, winter wheat and hybrid fall rye land somewhere between the fifth and 16th most profitable crops to be grown in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. But set aside the most profitable crops like pulses, canola, sunflower, corn and beans, and winter wheat profitability looks pretty good compared to spring wheat.
Published in Seeding/Planting
Many winter wheat growers in Western Canada are wondering if the seeding window can be extended. A multi-year, multi-site Prairie study is working towards a tool that will help growers answer that question for their own conditions.
Published in Seeding/Planting
A statement issued by the company On Tuesday, June 13th:

We regularly evaluate all aspects of our business. As part of these activities, we have recently taken the decision to exit the canola seed business. We are no longer selling or promoting our canola hybrids. We will, however, continue to support our existing canola seed portfolio through 2017 seeding and our programs and in-field product support, as per their terms and conditions. This decision is a business decision and we will work with all relevant parties to facilitate an orderly transition.
Published in Corporate News
Canola stubble has traditionally been the preferred stubble for winter wheat plantings because it can capture snow to insulate the overwintering wheat crop, improving winter survivability. However, some high-yielding canola hybrids have later maturities, presenting a challenge for seeding winter wheat at the optimum time.  
Published in Seeding/Planting
Winter wheat can be a great crop to include in your rotation. Winter wheat will typically out yield spring wheat by 20 per cent or more, depending on growing conditions, and is normally harvested several weeks before spring wheat.
Published in Seeding/Planting
There are both environmental and agronomic concerns surrounding the management of livestock manure. The major environmental concerns are: potential risk of nutrient accumulation in soil – particularly nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) – and risk of nutrient movement into surface or groundwater. Poor manure management can also cause accumulation of salts in soil, surface water or groundwater and pathogenic micro-organisms in surface water.
Published in Fertilizer
Like many of you, I spent the winter months attending as many conferences and trade shows as possible, soaking up all the new ideas and proven best practices offered up by industry leaders. I also had the privilege of speaking with many of you about the challenges your farms are facing and the tools and strategies you hope to apply to overcome those challenges in the years ahead.
Published in Corporate News
Japanese brome (Bromus japonicas) exists as a winter annual or summer annual grass weed in the Canadian Prairies.
Published in Weeds
Cereals
Current weather conditions are ideal for fusarium head blight development in winter wheat. Many wheat fields in Southwestern Ontario have applied a T3 fungicide to reduce their risk particularly if they are growing a FHB susceptible variety. T3 fungicide applications further east will begin this week and continuing into next week for Eastern Ontario. A number of fields saw increased stripe rust pressure over the weekend. Growers with fields that were a few days away from a T3 application opted to wait and spray for both stripe rust and fusarium at the T3 timing. Some fields received an early heading fungicide application if they were a week or more away from a T3 fungicide application and growing a stripe rust susceptible variety to reduce the impact from stripe rust. Those fields will then receive a second fungicide application at pollination for protection against fusarium if needed. There have been reports of leaf tip necrosis starting on the flag leaf and moving down in fields. This leaf tip necrosis is likely associated with a specific or group of disease resistant genes and is the plant’s response to the presence of disease such as stripe rust. The yield impact from this is minimal.

Early spring cereal fields are at tillering and continue to look good. All weed control applications should be wrapping up shortly.

Corn
Corn planting is essentially now complete. With the exception of corn silage or some growers in long season regions, most unplanted fields will now likely be switched to soybeans. If corn herbicides have been applied but corn could not be planted, work with your herbicide provider to determine next best cropping steps. Overall corn is progressing well with a large amount of crop at the 2-3 leaf growth stage, with early planted corn beyond that. Minimal corn replants have been reported to date. Some sidedressing is now underway. There have been reports of black cutworm and slug feeding in a number of fields as a result of delayed crop planting and emergence and cool, wet weather conditions. There have also been reports of corn turning purple or white as a result of stress but those fields are expected to grow out of this.

OMAFRA Field Crop staff began tracking soil nitrate levels at a number of sites across the province the first week of May. Initial results suggest that soil nitrate levels are lower this year compared to previous years. Conventional PSNT timing sampling is being completed this week. Results will be posted at Weathercentral.ca under “Corn – GFO Nitrogen Research” as they are made available.

Soybeans
Soybean planting is 80 per cent completed across the province with some areas further behind compared to previous years due to significant rainfall this spring. The crop ranges from the hook stage to unifoliate growth stage. There continues to be weed challenges in a number of fields that did not receive a pre-plant burndown. Weed control during the early stages of soybean growth is critical. When making herbicide spray decisions pay attention to the growth stage of the weed as well as the growth stage of the soybeans.

There have been damage reports and replants particularly in Lambton, Essex, Niagara and Haldimand counties where they have received large amounts of rainfall and crusting became an issue. When doing plant population assessments a stand with 100,000 uniform plants per acre should not be considered for replanting. Research has shown that 100,000 plants per acre has a 98 per cent yield potential on most soil types.

On heavy clay soils 110,000-120,000 plants per acre are necessary for maximum yield potential. Rolling fields after the soybeans have fully emerged compared to rolling immediately after seeding helps alleviate stand losses due to crusting. Rolling can be up done up to the 1st trifoliate stage. There have been reports of seed corn maggot feeding in a number of regions due to the cool, wet weather. Fields planted without Class 12 insecticides that have sufficient stand loss due to certain soil insects including seedcorn maggot may warrant the completion of Inspection of Crop Pest Assessment by a professional pest advisor. If stand loss thresholds for the Class 12 regulations are reached, Class 12 insecticides can be purchased for that farm property. Contact a Professional Pest Advisor and refer here for more information. Bean leaf beetle feeding has also been reported in Essex County. Fields planted with fungicide-only seed should be scouted during the early seedling stages. Spray is warranted if 16 adult beetles per 30 cm of row are found on VC to V2 stage soybeans. If plants are clipped off at the stem, control is warranted if adults are still present and actively feeding.

Forages
First-cut alfalfa has begun in many areas with excellent yields being reported to date. Growers who applied some early season N to forage stands are reporting significant yield boosts. Alfalfa weevil and potato leafhoppers have been present in some areas. 

Canola
Canola emergence has been good to date; however, crop advancement has been slow particularly in northern Ontario. The earliest planted fields are at the 4 leaf stage. Growers in the Timiskaming area are already catching swede midge at this time and are likely going to have to spray sooner than anticipated. Swede midge has also been caught in the Shelburne area but has not yet reached thresholds. Due to the later planted crop and swede midge emergence this year it is anticipated that swede midge feeding will be a significant challenge. There have also been reports of high flea beetle pressure in some fields. 

Edible Beans
Due to the excessive moisture in many areas, edible bean planting is approximately 15 per cent complete. It is expected that the remaining acres will be planted later this week once conditions dry up.
Published in Corporate News
What I’d like to give you is a view from my previous careers working in Europe, New Zealand, and now Australia with regards to disease management. I’d like to give you a flavour of some of my impressions of disease management over the last 35 years with reference to getting the balance right with regard to the disease triangle and integrated disease management. 

Where are we in terms of integrated disease management (IDM)? What is IDM all about? Principally it’s about trying to make sure we use all the tools in the toolbox, integrating genetic resistance with chemical fungicides, cultural control and overall crop agronomy. When we sow the crop and how we look after it with nitrogen can profoundly affect how much disease pressure we’re under.

Getting it just right is never going to be easy. What’s happened in Australia? Before 2002, there wasn’t a huge amount of fungicide usage because it’s a much less responsive environment. Then we had an “exotic incursion.” Stripe rust came in from North America, probably on a grower’s boots. That changed the pendulum, from a dependence on genetic resistance to a reliance on fungicides, because, overnight, a huge proportion of all of the germplasm in Australia became susceptible to stripe rust.

Meanwhile in Europe, there was a totally different swing of the pendulum. It was inspired by a new set of varieties, in this case semi-dwarf varieties. With the new cultivars and more nitrogen, crops stayed greener for longer. Suddenly yields increased enormously in the ’70s. Higher yields and longer growing seasons in Europe drove growers to apply more and more fungicide. If you go to Europe now, it’s all about T1, T2 and T3 – Timing 1, Timing 2, Timing 3 with fungicides as a fixed part of crop agronomy. Up until 2005 in Europe, the pendulum had swung very much to the fungicide side of the IDM pendulum.

Slide 6
However, that’s all changed. In Europe, the profound driver for change has been fungicide resistance. Fungicide resistance influences everything that a European grower now does with fungicides. If there’s one thing that I think is really important to take on, it is that fungicide resistance – if it’s not affecting you now, it will be shortly unless you can moderate your use of fungicides.

What’s gradually happened over time is that we’ve got better products with greater activity, but at the same time fewer products based on limited modes of action. There are fewer products that are more and more environmentally benign, but at the same time at greater risk of resistance development. In other words, we’ve moved from multi-site fungicides that killed the fungus in many different ways to single-site fungicides that do less damage in the environment but actually are much more vulnerable to resistance.

Fungicide insensitivity and resistance
Fungicide insensitivity and resistance has occurred principally in two ways. In Europe in the late 1990s and early 2000s, strobilurins, such as pyraclostrobin and azoxystrobin, came along with the biggest media hype since glyphosate. However, after only three to four years, the pathogen causing powdery mildew and then Septoria tritici (now Zymoseptoria tritici) in wheat developed resistance to stobilurins, and that’s been a real challenge ever since. In two to three years, the strobilurins went from being the best products to control foliar diseases in broad acre cereals to products that wouldn’t work against Septoria, a disease that is widespread in northwest Europe. I think that’s when attitudes really changed and people started asking the question, “Is there a different way to control disease?”

Slide 16
We’re in our infancy with fungicide resistance issues in Australia. We can see it in the field with powdery mildew in barley. Our triazole fungicides such as Tilt (propiconazole), Folicur (tebuconazole), Proline (prothioconazole), Prosaro (prothioconazole and tebuconazole co-formulated) don’t work as effectively to control powdery mildew. With Septoria, we’re not yet seeing reduced activity in the field, but the samples are showing insensitivity in the laboratory, so there is increasing threat that we will see resistance to fungicides in the field. 

Europe and triazole use
What has happened in Europe with the triazoles over the last 20 years is that triazole fungicides have gradually become less effective against key diseases, firstly not working as effectively in the lab and then gradually being noted to be less effective in the field. That’s why with triazoles I think it’s important to talk about “fungicide insensitivity” and not “fungicide resistance.”

For example, it’s taken 20 years of exposing the Septoria pathogen population to the triazoles for them to become less effective. They still have activity but are now only 60 to 70 per cent effective when it used to be 90 to 100 per cent. So in Europe the triazoles and the strobilurins become less effective and ineffective for key diseases in a similar time period, but the triazoles had been gradually degrading in their effectiveness over time. 

Therefore with the terminology we use, I think it’s important to recognize we really have three basic modes of action that we use in broad acre cereal disease control – triazoles, strobilurins, and the new SDHIs [succinate dehydrogenase inhibitors].

With the triazoles I think it is probably more appropriate to call it “insensitivity” rather than resistance, since if you say to a grower, “It’s resistant,” the tendency is to think that it won’t work when in reality it is still partially effective.

With regard to the SDHIs, they’re not actually that new since the family of chemistry has been around for 40 years. But a new branch of SDHI chemistry is now taking Europe by storm, as the strobilurins now have less application because of resistance in key pathogens. But after only three years of commercial use with these new SDHIs, resistance is developing quickly in the net blotch and Septoria pathogens.

It’s really important to recognize that fungicide resistance is changing the way in which growers and advisors elsewhere in the world manage their cereal crops. In Australia, growers and advisors are just beginning on that resistance journey. You’ve already had some exposure in Canada to the fact that the strobilurins are at high risk of resistance development in the pathogen.  It begs the question, “What can you do about it?”

Click here for part two: The importance of multiple modes of action and linking pathology with crop physiology.
Published in Diseases
With many of the intended acres of various crops now in the ground throughout the province, producers should be on the lookout for pests such as cereal leaf beetle, black cutworm, armyworm and flea beetle, according to the latest crop report from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Published in Corporate News
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