Field Crops
Many farmers grow corn and soybean in rotation to avoid the continuous corn yield penalty, but now there’s another reason to rotate. Scientists at the University of Illinois have provided further evidence that rotating crops increases yield and lowers greenhouse gas emissions compared to continuous corn or soybean. | READ MORE
Published in Agronomy

Planting conditions have been good in many parts of the province; however, there are some areas that have been too wet, resulting in delayed planting. Areas affected include the heavy clay soils in Essex, Chatham-Kent, Lambton, Elgin, Haldimand and Niagara. Corn, soybean and canola planting have also been delayed in many parts of northern Ontario due to late spring and poor drying conditions. As conditions improve in these areas, growers who are anxious to get back into the field need to remember to be safe on the farm and the roads.

Published in Seeding/Planting

Seeding progress has doubled in Saskatchewan thanks to relatively good conditions, according to the latest Saskatchewan Crop Report. Seventy per cent of the crop is now in the ground, up from 35 per cent last week and well ahead of the five-year (2013-2017) seeding average of 55 per cent for this time of year.

The southeast region is the most advanced with 82 per cent of the crop seeded. Seventy-seven per cent is seeded in the northeast, 72 per cent in the southwest, 66 in the west-central region, 65 per cent in the northwest and 53 per cent in the east-central region.

Rainfall was reported in some areas, ranging from trace amounts to 28 millimetres in the Biggar area. The majority of the province remains in need of rain to replenish the topsoil as warm temperatures and strong winds continue to dry fields. Provincially, topsoil moisture conditions on crop land are rated as 47 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and 14 per cent very short. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture is rated as 31 per cent adequate, 46 per cent short and 23 per cent very short.

Crops are slowly emerging but are mostly in good condition despite damage from strong winds and lack of moisture. The majority are either at or behind normal developmental stages for this time of year.

Pastures and hay land remain dry and growth has been slow. Pasture conditions are rated as 22 cent good, 40 per cent fair, 28 per cent poor and 10 per cent very poor.

SaskPower reports 34 cases of farm machinery contacting electrical equipment in the last week, bringing the total in May to 119. SaskPower reminds producers that most farm-related incidents happen during the spring. Please check for overhead power lines and plan ahead when moving equipment. More safety information is available at

Published in Seeding/Planting
Provincially, seeding progress in Manitoba is estimated at 80 per cent complete, according to the latest Manitoba Crop Report. Winter injury resulted in some reseeding of winter wheat in the central, eastern, and Interlake regions. Dry conditions have resulted in slow growth and difficulties assessing injury. | READ MORE
Published in Seeding/Planting
Soybean seeding is nearing completion in most areas of Manitoba, with germination and emergence of soybean crops well underway. Dry bean planting is approximately 30 per cent complete, and field pea planting is now wrapped up, according to the Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers Bean Report. | READ MORE
Published in Soybeans
Early weed control has many benefits as weeds compete with crops for nutrients, water, and light. “Research on weeds germinating before the crop emerges as compared to crop emerging before the weeds shows a very significant drop in yield loss when the crop emerges prior to the weeds,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “A pre-seed burn-off with a herbicide or final cultivation should be as close to the seeding activity as possible to prevent weeds getting the jump on the crop.”

All crops have a critical weed control period, which is the time when the crop is susceptible to significant yield loss from weed competition. The critical weed control period for canola is around 17 to 38 days after emergence. Peas can be as early as two weeks after emergence. “Other, more competitive crops, like the cereals, have a less defined critical period,” Brook says. “Corn’s critical period depends more on nitrogen availability than anything else. If you can keep the weed pressure down until the critical period is passed, you minimize yield losses from weed competition.”

Field scouting is essential to giving an edge battling weeds, notes Brook. “Field scouting tells you what weeds are present and their density. Once a field has been scouted and a weed problem identified, the degree of threat needs to be assessed. An example of an early, non- yield threatening weed is whitlow grass. It’s a very slow growing, small plant that bolts and goes to seed, usually before seeding. It’s not a direct threat to the crop. However, if other weedy plants are also present in sufficient numbers and are a threat to yield, you can choose an appropriate control measure.”

Winter annual weeds like stinkweed, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, shepherd’s purse, scentless chamomile, and many others can start growing in the fall. They overwinter as a small rosette but are then quickly able to go to seed once spring arrives. “Control of them in the spring requires very early action. You need to know the weeds present to choose the best control method. Crop volunteers from previous years are also an increasingly problematic weed obstacle. Volunteer canola is one of our top weed control issues every year. These and other problem weeds will require additional products when applying a spring burn-off with glyphosate.”

To get the best result from any early herbicide application, Brook says the herbicide must be applied when the weeds are actively growing. “Under cool or cold conditions you can expect poor results from the spray as the target weeds are either dormant or growing too slowly. They cannot absorb and translocate enough active ingredient to kill them. Weeds also have to be large enough to absorb enough herbicide to be killed, yet not too large to have already affect crop yield from competition. Low spray volumes and coarse sprays can lead to insufficient herbicide landing on the plants. Best temperatures for application should ideally be above 12 to 15 C, when the plants are actively photosynthesizing. If it was frosty in the morning, waiting until a warm afternoon will improve efficacy.”

Another tool in the weed control toolbox is the competitive nature of the crop itself. “Highly competitive crops can reduce the effects of weeds on yield. Once a crop canopy has covered the soil, sunlight no longer can penetrate to the ground and weeds stop germinating,” adds Brook. “Heavier seeding rates can also squeeze out weeds. Hybrid canola and barley are our two most competitive crops. You still have to choose a competitive variety. Semi-dwarf barleys are less competitive than regular barleys. Heavier seeding rates always increase the crop’s competitive nature against weeds. Thin crops allow light to hit the ground, stimulating more weed growth.”

For more information, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
Published in Weeds
Kier Miller of Sussex Corner, N.B., said he was “speechless” when he found out the New Brunswick Soil and Crop Improvement Association had named his operation the province’s 2017 farm of the year. Miller Farms comprises 23 acres, nine of which are cleared, with the remainder in woodland. They also lease 180 acres. On top of that, the Millers do custom planting of corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, and barley for other area farmers each year totalling about 1,200-1,500 acres. In the fall, they do about 1,500 acres of combining for others, although not necessarily the same crops they planted. | READ MORE
Published in Agronomy
The average price of farmland in Canada has more than doubled in the last 10 years, leading to concerns about the future of agriculture in this country as a large group of farmers retires over the next decade. | READ MORE
Published in Business & Policy
While applying fertilizer at the time of seeding has many benefits, it is important to use the right amount. Mark Cutts, crop specialist at the Alberta Ag-Info Centre, evaluates placement, impact, and types of fertilizer. “Applying too much fertilizer with the seed can impact crop emergence,” says Cutts. “To ensure seed-placed fertilizers are being managed properly, producers need to understand the factors that influence their impact.”
Pastures and hayland were stressed last year due to dry conditions, grasshoppers, over grazing, and a long winter. Barry Yaremcio, beef and forage specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry looks at how producers can plan this spring to avoid a feed shortage next winter. “It is difficult to estimate how the stands will respond this spring or what the yield potential is for this year,” Yaremcio says. “With many feed yards and silage pits nearly empty or empty, the amount of carryover feed for the winter of 2018-19 is minimal.”
Published in Other Crops
Field activity has ramped up with the warmer temperatures and many areas receiving spotty rains allowing soils to dry up. There is tremendous capacity in the country side from the input suppliers to growers with the ability to plant a significant acreage in a day. If the weather holds what started out as a slow spring will finish up close to normal timing.

The winter wheat crop has put on significant growth in the last week with the warm temperatures. The most advanced wheat, in south Essex County, is at the flag leaf emerging stage (Z37). The wheat in the rest of the province ranges from Z30 to Z32. Almost all of the nitrogen has been applied to the crop. Herbicide applications have begun as annual weeds like common ragweed have emerged. Some early fungicide applications have been made. To date, disease pressure has been very low in Ontario although stripe rust has been confirmed in Kentucky and southern Illinois and this week has begun to increase in very susceptible varieties in those states. Storm fronts could move strip rust spores into Southern Ontario. In the past few years, stripe rust has been detected around the third week of May in southern Ontario so continue to scout susceptible varieties especially over the next two weeks.

Less than 10 per cent of wheat fields have not progressed in the last week and will need careful observation as to whether they should be terminated and planted to another crop. Generally, a stand of five healthy plants per foot of row will provide about 80 per cent of your anticipated yield potential.

Spring cereals
The majority of the crop has been planted.

Pasture and hay fields have had a slow start, with very little grass growth until the recent warmer temperatures. Management is critical to minimize damaging wet pastures: daily moves can reduce pugging damage.

There are some concerns about alfalfa winter injury, particularly on fields that were cut late in the fall or had late manure application. Wet conditions and potato leafhopper damage also increased injury risk on new seedings. Poorer stands can be supplemented by adding Italian ryegrass and other grasses to maintain yields if the field must be kept.

Fertility is often a concern on forage fields. Generally, potash is the most limiting nutrient. Use a soil test to ensure the crop has adequate P and K before worrying about secondary nutrients like sulphur and boron. The window for producers applying Priaxor fungicide to alfalfa is rapidly closing, as preliminary research suggests the biggest yield boost when applied 21 days before harvest (PHI is 14 days), and when the crop is four to eight inches high.

A significant percentage of the corn planting on the lighter soils is complete. The spotty rains and warmer temperatures have allowed planting to begin on the loam and clay soils. As of May 10, about 20 per cent of the crop is planted. Planting date and yield potential research by Dave Hooker, U of G, Ridgetown Campus, found that one can expect 95 per cent of corn yield at Elora when planted May 20, Exeter at May 25 and Ridgetown at May 30.

A few soybean fields have been planted but it will likely be another week before soybean planting ramps up as growers complete corn planting.

Canada fleabane rosettes, with the increase in air temperatures, are beginning to grow quickly. Delays in controlling such weeds will increase the probability of poor control. The pre-plant tank-mix of glyphosate plus Sencor 75DF (220 g/ac) plus Eragon LQ plus Merge has been the most effective way to control glyphosate resistant populations of this weed (University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus). If growing Xtend soybeans (dicamba and glyphosate resistant), pre-plant applications of Engenia or Xtendimax at their highest label rate are also effective.

Despite the slow start to spring, we are now accumulating growing degree days (GDDs) quickly, especially due to the warmer nights. Crops already growing are soon to see some insect activity. Locations in the southwest have accumulated enough GDDs to start experiencing alfalfa weevil larvae and cereal leaf beetle (both adults and young larvae) feeding. If temperatures continue as is, central and eastern locations will start to see activity in a week or so.

For crops like corn that are still being planted, the insects are getting the head start. Black cutworm moth migration in Ontario has increased due to the recent storm fronts. With GDDs accumulating quickly, larvae from their eggs will develop quickly. They will feed on weeds or cover crops until the corn plants start to emerge. Fields in southwestern Ontario could to see emerging corn plants being cut as early as later next week.

Weed control
The increase in air and soil temperatures saw a significant amount of annual weeds emerge in the past week. Glyphosate should be applied to emerged weeds before they are 10 centimetres tall to maximize control. Most other post-emergence herbicides must be applied to emerged weeds prior to them reaching the eight-leaf stage of growth, otherwise control is significantly reduced.
Published in Seeding/Planting
Monsanto Canada has plans to commercialize TruFlex canola with Roundup Ready Technology in 2019.

TruFlex canola will be Monsanto’s next-generation canola trait and Monsanto’s first new biotech trait in canola since Roundup Ready canola was introduced to Canadian growers in 1996. TruFlex canola will serve as the base platform on which all future Monsanto pipeline traits in canola will be stacked.

TruFlex canola will be part of an improved canola system designed for a range of growing conditions. The company says TruFlex will offer farmers several benefits, including improved control of tough weeds, flexibility in spray rates and timing and higher yield potential through genetics.
TruFlex canola will also allow farmers the option to apply Roundup WeatherMAX in-crop at a rate of 1.33 litres/acre for a single application or 0.67 litres/acre for two applications, controlling 24 new weed species. 

Stewarded plot trials and field demonstrations will take place at several locations across Western Canada in 2018 to allow farmers to see the performance of TruFlex canola in the field.  

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and Health Canada granted full food, feed and environmental safety approval of TruFlex canola in June 2012 and the product has been approved for import in several export markets. Import approval from China is pending.  
Published in Corporate News
Preliminary findings indicate Prairie winter wheat seems to have survived periods of extreme cold and low snowfall, according to Farm Credit Canada. “Across the Prairies, the recovery has been anywhere from excellent to fair,” says Janine Paly, an agronomist withn the Western Winter Wheat Initiative. | READ MORE
Published in Cereals
With planting delayed briefly due to rain, it is the perfect time to get out and set up some wireworm bait stations. Soil temperatures are quite warm now and recent University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus research has found that spring is the better time to successfully bait for wireworms. Tracey Baute, OMAFRA field crop entomologist, has further directions on | READ MORE
Published in Insect Pests
Like most crop diseases in 2017, infestation levels and severity of stripe rust were low, because of the warm, dry weather that occurred in many parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Going into 2018, the risk of stripe rust developing in Alberta will depend on the spores blowing up from the United States.
Published in Diseases
Until recently, iron (Fe) deficiencies in field crops in the prairies were mostly unheard of until soybean acreages began to expand. In Saskatchewan, with the growing acreage of soybeans, iron deficiency chlorosis (IDC) began to show up in some soybean fields under certain soil and environmental conditions.
Published in Soybeans
In Western Canada, more phosphorus (P) continues to be removed in cropping systems than is being replaced. On average only about 75 per cent of P is being replaced every year, and although the gap is closing, it is probably not quick enough.
Published in Fertilizer
Rust is one of the issues targeted in a major project to advance disease management in fall rye. Not only is this project breaking new ground by breeding for rust resistance in western Canadian rye cultivars, but the research could also help shed light on some of the basics about this little-studied disease problem on the Prairies.
Published in Diseases
Fusarium head blight (FHB) on canaryseed is on the radar for growers and researchers.  Although it was only recently confirmed at the University of Saskatchewan by Paulina Cholango Martinez and Randy Kutcher, Kevin Hursh, executive director of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan, says that Fusarium has been showing up in seed tested for germination when a disease screening was also conducted.  
Published in Diseases
High-yielding crops require large amounts of water during the growing season. A healthy, high-yielding wheat or canola crop requires up to 480 millimetres (mm) or 19 inches of water during the growing season. A good, average crop will take up 300 mm (12 inches) of water from the soil over the course of the growing season, which works out to about 2,718,000 lb/ac of water over the growing season.
Published in Soil
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