Field Crops
Montreal-based Inocucor Technologies Inc., one of Canada's leading agri-tech companies, has received approval for up to $7.7 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), an arm's-length foundation of the Government of Canada that works with Canadian companies to bring early-stage clean technologies to market. The funding will support the development of Inocucor's second product, Synergro Free.

Synergro Free is a bio-fertilizer that naturally increases yields in commodity row crops such as soybean, corn and wheat. The SDTC funding will support improvements in manufacturing efficiencies as well as production scale-up and marketing of Synergro Free to large-scale farmers in Canada and the U.S. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
Narrow row spacing is considered the accepted practice for maximizing grain yields for the majority of crops under most circumstances. However, wider row spacing offers advantages for dealing with heavier and taller crop residues, and reducing equipment costs and maintenance. But how wide is too wide before yield is compromised?
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
On November 15, the Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, announced a partnership with Deveron UAS Corp., that will deliver farmers advanced aerial imagery data combined with powerful analytics through the Climate Corporation’s industry-leading Climate FieldView™ digital agriculture platform. The addition of Deveron supports Climate’s commitment to deliver a true digital ag ecosystem where farmers can access a broad, interconnected set of tools, services and data to optimize all of their farm management decisions.

“As remote sensing through advanced imagery continues its fast-paced development, drones are increasingly playing an important role to help farmers gain deeper insights into crop performance at scale,” said Mark Young, chief technology officer for The Climate Corporation. “Deveron has built a broad network of drones and sensors across North America to provide farmers with more data solutions to manage field variability, and we look forward to working with them to equip more farmers with data-rich imagery insights to make the best decisions for their operations.”

Based in Canada, Deveron is a leading full-service enterprise drone data company with a growing fleet of drones that can each conduct five to eight flights per day to collect, analyze and deliver farmers data-driven insights to help them make more informed decisions, reduce costs and increase yields. Deveron services are currently offered to farmers across core growing regions of Canada, and the company will be expanding its capabilities to the U.S. Corn Belt in the near-term.

During the 2017 growing season, Deveron and Climate completed a successful pilot program in Ontario, allowing farmers to visualize Deveron imagery within their Climate FieldView account. For the 2018 growing season, this partnership will enable aerial imagery data to seamlessly flow into a farmer’s Climate FieldView account at the farmer’s request, allowing them to experience deeper analysis of how their crops are performing in-season, alongside important field data layers such as planting and yield data. Recently, Climate announced the expansion of the Climate FieldView platform into Western Canada, with the platform on nearly one million acres in Eastern Canada.

“The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView platform aligns closely with our mission of delivering farmers a simple data collection solution, coupled with advanced analytics, to help farmers more precisely monitor their crops,” said David MacMillan, president and chief executive officer for Deveron. “Partnering with the Climate FieldView platform will further our ability to bring low cost, high-resolution imagery to more farmers so they can zero in on exactly what’s happening in their fields and gain actionable insights to help them achieve the highest return on investment.”

The Climate FieldView platform already offers advanced satellite imagery tools to help farmers protect their crops by identifying issues in the field before they impact yield. Innovative aerial imagery technologies like Deveron can provide farmers imagery at a higher resolution and frequency than satellite imagery, delivering on-demand information that can be used in digital ag tools to help farmers make more informed, data-driven agronomic decisions.

In 2016, The Climate Corporation announced the extension of the Climate FieldView platform and has since announced a variety of partnerships, including several advanced aerial imagery providers. Climate’s platform strategy unlocks a stronger and quicker path to market for third-party ag innovators, simplifying the complex digital ag landscape for farmers and making it easier for other innovators to bring valuable new technologies to farmers faster. Launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is on more than 120 million acres with more than 100,000 users across the United States, Brazil and Canada. It has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the industry and continues to expand into new global regions. Earlier this week, the company announced the pre-commercial launch of the Climate FieldView platform into regions of Europe.

As innovation in the digital agriculture space continues to accelerate rapidly around the globe, Climate continues to explore partnership opportunities to provide farmers with the insights they need to improve their productivity. If you are interested in partnering with The Climate Corporation, please visit www.climate.com/partners.

For more information about the Climate FieldView platform in Canada, contact Climate Support at 1.888.924.7475 or visit www.climatefieldview.ca. For more information about Deveron, visit www.deveronuas.com.

Published in Corporate News
The Canadian Grain Commission has launched a weekly statistical report on the allocation of producer cars. The publication of these statistics enhances the transparency of commercial grain handlings and supports the marketing of Canadian grain. The report is available on both the Canadian Grain Commission's web site and the Government of Canada's Open Data site and will be updated weekly.

Each week's publication reflects the cumulative number of producer cars allocated from the start of the crop year to the end of the shipping week. Reports within the publication break down the allocation numbers by the type of grain shipped, province of origin, and the grain's destination.

By making data such as this available publicly, the Canadian Grain Commission is supporting the Government of Canada's commitment to making data open and available to all Canadians.

Previously, statistics about producer railway cars were only available via email. They were distributed for free, but only went to a small number of stakeholders. Not all stakeholders were aware they could receive these reports, which didn't align with the Government of Canada's policy on open data.

The Canadian Grain Commission will now be publishing producer railway car statistics online to align with the Government of Canada's open data policy and to make these statistics available to all stakeholders.

Because the Canadian Grain Commission is publishing its producer railway car statistics online in more accessible formats, users will be able to compile the data to meet their specific needs.

Rather than using the categories wheat, durum, oats, barley, rye, flaxseed, canola and other to display grain movement by grain type, the new online content doesn't use an "other" category. Instead, statistics are displayed by grain type, even if the number of railway cars shipping that grain type is relatively low.

Also, the destination category now includes producer railway cars going into the licensed Canadian system (terminal and process elevators by region); the unlicensed Canadian system (by western or eastern region; processors; container facilities; seed or feed facilities); United States; and Mexico.

The online statistical reports include:
  • Glossary
  • Summary – cumulative and weekly totals by grain type and cumulative totals by country and grain
  • Cumulative by province and by grain
  • Cumulative by destination

History of producer railway car statistics
Producer railway car statistics have been published since the 1910 to 1911 crop year. Each year, producer railway car statistics (referred to back then as platform loadings) appeared in the Report of the Department of Trade and Commerce Part V Statistics.

In the 1942 to 1943 crop year, the Canadian Grain Commission began publishing weekly producer railway car statistics as part of the Board of Grain Commissioners for Canada Visible Supply of Canadian Grain report. Eventually, this report became Grain Statistics Weekly which is published weekly online.

The Canadian Grain Commission prepares 3 railway car statistical reports: weekly, monthly and annual. The weekly report is one page and includes cumulative data by type of grain and a weekly summary of the number of railway cars by port. The monthly report and the annual report are made up of 5 tables of producer railway car shipments as follows: by grain; by province and grain; by train run; by train run and grain; and by destination.
Published in Corporate News
When researchers at the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) heard that some producers were looking toward the practice of straight cutting shatter-resistant canola varieties, they set out to find the true post-harvest comparison of straight cut or swath.
Published in Canola
Last year, Ontario had its first-ever detection of clubroot symptoms in canola. On the heels of that discovery came an even more unsettling surprise – a survey found the pathogen scattered across the province’s main canola-growing areas and this year, the symptoms are showing up in more fields.
Published in Canola
A surprise late-season rally has rescued Southwestern Ontario’s vital corn crop. But not everyone has done well in the region, one of the nation’s richest farm belts and one where corn is one of the biggest crops.

Some areas, especially north of London, have lower yields and quality problems due to the shortened season and not enough rain.

An agronomist says about half of the corn crop has been harvested but the first snow of the season last Thursday idled the combines especially in areas north and west of London. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Soil characteristics like organic matter content and moisture play a vital role in helping plants flourish. It turns out that soil temperature is just as important. Every plant needs a certain soil temperature to thrive. If the temperature changes too quickly, plants won’t do well. Their seeds won’t germinate or their roots will die.

“Most plants are sensitive to extreme changes in soil temperature,” said Samuel Haruna, a researcher at Middle Tennessee State University. “You don’t want it to change too quickly because the plants can’t cope with it.”

Many factors influence the ability of soil to buffer against temperature changes. For example, when soil is compacted the soil temperature can change quickly. That’s because soil particles transfer temperatures much faster when they are squished together. When farmers drag heavy machinery over the soil, the soil particles compact. Soil temperature is also affected by moisture: more moisture keeps soils from heating too quickly.

Research has shown that both cover crops and perennial biofuel crops can relieve soil compaction. Cover crops are generally planted between cash crops such as corn and soybeans to protect the bare soil. They shade the soil and help reduce soil water evaporation. Their roots also add organic matter to the soil and prevent soil erosion. This also keeps the soil spongy, helping it retain water.

But Haruna wanted to know if perennial biofuel and cover crops could also help soils protect themselves from fluctuating temperatures. Haruna and a team of researchers grew several types of cover and perennial biofuel crops in the field. Afterwards, they tested the soils in the lab for their ability to regulate temperature.

“I was amazed at the results,” Haruna said. He found both perennial biofuel and cover crops help soils shield against extreme temperatures. They do this by slowing down how quickly temperatures spread through the soil. Their roots break up the soil, preventing soil molecules from clumping together and heating or cooling quickly. The roots of both crops also add organic matter to the soil, which helps regulate temperature.

Additionally, perennial biofuel and cover crops help the soil retain moisture. “Water generally has a high ability to buffer against temperature changes,” said Haruna. “So if soil has a high water content it has a greater ability to protect the soil.”

Although Haruna advocates for more use of cover crops, he said it’s not always easy to incorporate them into farms. “These crops require more work, more financial investment, and more knowledge,” he said. “But they can do much for soil health.” Including, as Haruna’s research shows, shielding plants from extreme temperature changes.

“Climate change can cause temperature fluctuations, and if not curtailed, may affect crop productivity in the future,” he said. “And we need to buffer against these extreme changes within the soil.”

Haruna hopes to take his research from the lab and into the field. He says a field experiment will help him and his team collect more data and flesh out his findings

Read more about Haruna’s research in Soil Science Society of America Journal. A USDA-NIFA grant funded this research (Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Corn-based Cropping Systems).
Published in Seeding/Planting

In an effort to shine a light on the current status of herbicide resistance in Canada, Top Crop Manager (TCM) has launched the Herbicide Use Survey!

As an industry leader providing up-to-date information and research, TCM is looking to gather input from producers across the country in order to develop a more thorough understanding of the state of herbicide resistance in Canada.

TCM’s Herbicide Use Survey will offer participants the ability to help tell the story of these important crop protection tools by having farmers like you share how herbicides are being used.

The survey takes less than 10 minutes to complete, and will ask details like soil and farm acreage, types of weeds being targeted, as well as management practices. All submissions will remain anonymous.

Those who complete the survey will be entered into a random draw for a $500 visa card! Complete the survey here.

The Herbicide Use Survey ends December 8th. Results will be collected and presented at the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit in Saskatoon, Sask., on February 27 and 28.
Don't forget to Sign up for the TCM E-Newsletter to stay informed. 

Published in Corporate News
The latest calculator was released in January and is an update on a tool called CROPPLAN Financial Analysis. It was designed by two farm management specialists from Manitoba, Roy Arnott of Killarney and Darren Bond of Teulon.
Published in Business Management
It doesn’t matter how you look at it, clubroot is an ugly threat to the Canadian canola industry.

The disease does unsightly things to the plant, producing galls and deformities that will effectively choke it to death.

The effect of clubroot on yield is just plain nasty — yields can be reduced to zero.

Plus, the fact that the only effective control is abstinence from growing canola, which is typically one of the biggest cash earners on Prairie farms, is causing some ugly confrontations between farmers and their local governments. For the full story, click here
Published in Diseases
Winter wheat is a low-input, low-yield crop. True or False?

There’s no market for winter wheat. True or False?

No varieties of winter wheat are suitable here. True or False?

False, to all of them, answers Ken Gross, agronomist at Brandon, Man., for the Western Winter Wheat Initiative (WWWI) and Ducks Unlimited Canada. Those are just three of many myths associated with the fall-seeded, high-potential wheat. Gross runs into myths frequently among growers and at meetings – and likes to bust them with facts. For the full story, click here
Published in Cereals
OMAFRA recently released 'New Horizons: Ontario's Draft Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy' for public input.

Soil is a vital natural resource and the foundation of agricultural production. The many benefits of a healthy soil are important - underpinning the long-term sustainability of the farm operation, our agri-food sector and our environment.

What is a healthy agricultural soil? Essentially it refers to a soil's ability to support crop growth without becoming degraded or otherwise harming the environment.

While a soil can be degraded through particular practices, the good news is that many best management practices (BMPs) can build back and safeguard soil health.

The draft strategy builds on the vision, goals, objectives and concepts presented in the 2016 'Sustaining Ontario's Agricultural Soils: Towards a Shared Vision' discussion document.

It also builds on the extensive soil health efforts of agricultural organizations and OMAFRA. It was developed in collaboration with the agricultural sector, and it reflects feedback received during public engagement on the discussion document, from farmers, Indigenous participants and other interested groups and individuals.

OMAFRA would like to hear your thoughts and feedback on the draft strategy. Your input will help guide the development of a final Soil Health and Conservation Strategy for Ontario which will be released in spring 2018.

For more information, click here
Published in Soil
In 2016 the milder winter conditions resulted in early leaf and stripe rust infections in Tennessee and Kentucky. This resulted in rust spores being blown into Ontario earlier than we typically see. By mid-May 2016, stripe rust was prevalent in most areas of southwestern Ontario.

Growers who selected tolerant varieties or applied a foliar fungicide were able to keep the disease at bay. However, growers that selected susceptible varieties and did not apply a foliar fungicide saw significant yield reductions where the disease was present.

In 2017, stripe rust again arrived early in southwestern Ontario and was found in one field in Essex County the first week of May. Although we have not historically seen stripe rust at significant levels in Ontario in the past, it is important to have a plan in place in 2018 for managing this disease. For the full story, click here
Published in Diseases
Trelleborg announces the launch of its latest innovation – the PneuTrac, a solution that combines the advantages both of radial argicultural tires and tracks.

Vineyards and orchards form two critical parts of agricultural production and both face unique challenges, notably in root protection and terrain. Vineyards often incorporate steep terrain and along with orchards, typically have narrow row operations with small spaces between vines or trees.

Tracked applications can often be too wide to pass between rows with a comfortable margin for error.

“PneuTrac delivers unbeatable performance on both steep slopes and muddy terrain, reducing downtime to zero in demanding conditions. PneuTrac combines the advantages of a radial agricultural tire in terms of fuel efficiency, comfort and handling, with the footprint and traction benefits of a track.." said Lorenzo Ciferri, VP marketing and communications at Trelleborg Wheel Systems.

PneuTrac contains the best-in-class features of Trelleborg agricultural tires along with a new sidewall utilizing CupWheel Technology by Galileo Wheel Ltd. The innovative “Omega” design of the sidewall helps the carcass to sustain load, simultaneously providing flexibility and an extra-wide footprint, resulting in very low soil compaction.

This new design allows the tread to work at 100 per cent of its potential efficiency. The Progressive Traction technology on the tread itself enhances traction whilst the inter-lug terraces improve the self-cleaning capability of the tire. The wide lug bases combined with a robust shoulder feature, increase lateral stability, especially on slopes.

“When designing the PneuTrac we focused on the specialist requirements of key producers. For example, the roots of vines are incredibly precious and susceptible to damage. As with conventional agriculture, the top soil needs to be protected and machine slippage could easily be a disaster for both the soil and roots," Ciferri said. “We firmly believe that PneuTrac is a game changing innovation and that it again demonstrates our commitment to sustainable farming, helping to protect some of our most valuable agricultural assets.”

PneuTrac will be on display at Agritechnica 2017, November 12 to 18 in Hannover, Germany. 
Published in Corporate News
The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company, recently announced at the Farms.com Precision Agriculture Conference, the launch of the Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform into Western Canada for the 2018 growing season.

With Climate’s analytics-based digital tools, more Canadian farmers will be able to harness their data in one connected platform to identify and more efficiently manage variability in their fields, tailoring crop inputs to optimize yield and maximize their return on every acre.

In September 2016, the company first announced the introduction of the Climate FieldView platform in Eastern Canada, where hundreds of farmers across nearly one million acres have been experiencing the value of data-driven, digital tools on their operations.

Now, farmers in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta will have the ability to use the Climate FieldView platform to uncover personalized field insights to support the many crucial decisions they make each season to enhance crop productivity.

“The Climate FieldView platform is a one-stop shop for simple field data management, helping Canadian farmers get the most out of every acre,” said Denise Hockaday, Canada business lead for The Climate Corporation. “Through the delivery of the platform’s powerful data analytics and customized field insights, farmers across Canada have the power to tailor their agronomic practices more precisely than ever before, fine tuning their action plans for the best outcome at the end of the season.”

Over the past year, the Climate FieldView platform had a strong testing effort across many farm operations in Western Canada, enabling the Climate team to further develop the platform’s compatibility with all types of farm equipment and crops, including canola and wheat, to collect and analyze field data from multiple sources.

“Part of the challenge with data is managing all of the numbers and having an adequate cloud system to store and effectively analyze the information,” said farmer D’Arcy Hilgartner of Alberta, who participated in testing the Climate FieldView platform on his operation this season. “The Climate FieldView platform instantly transfers the field data gathered from my farm equipment into my Climate FieldView account, which is especially useful during harvest season because I’m able to see where various crop inputs were used and analyze the corresponding yield. I’ve really enjoyed having this digital platform at my disposal, and I’m excited to see the positive impacts on my business this coming year.”

As Climate continues to expand its digital technologies to help more farmers access advanced agronomic insights, additional new data layers will feed the company’s unmatched R&D engine, ultimately enabling the development of valuable new features for farmers in the Climate FieldView platform.

In August 2017, the company announced the acceleration of R&D advancements through the company’s robust innovation pipeline, along with new product features and enhancements to help farmers manage their field variability more precisely than ever before.

Launched in 2015, the Climate FieldView platform is on more than 120 million acres with more than 100,000 users across the United States, Canada and Brazil. It has quickly become the most broadly connected platform in the industry and continues to expand into new global regions.

Climate FieldView Platform Offering in Western Canada

  • Data Connectivity - Farmers can collect, store and visualize their field data in one easy-to-use digital platform through the Climate FieldView Drive, a device that easily streams field data directly into the Climate FieldView platform. FieldView Drive works with many tractors and combines across Canada, in addition to anhydrous applicators and air seeders, helping farmers easily collect field data for the agronomic inputs they manage throughout the season. Recently, The Climate Corporation announced a new data connectivity agreement with AGCO, providing more farmers even more options to connect their equipment to the Climate FieldView platform. In addition to the FieldView Drive, farmers can connect their field data to their Climate FieldView account through Precision Planting LLC's monitors, cloud-to-cloud connection with other agricultural software systems such as the John Deere Operations Center, and through manual file upload.
  • Yield Analysis Tools - With Climate’s seed performance and analysis tools, farmers can see what worked and what didn’t at the field level or by field zone, and apply those insights to better understand field variability by quickly and easily comparing digital field maps side-by-side. Farmers can save regions of their fields in a yield-by-region report and can also save and record a field region report through enhanced drawing and note taking tools, retrieving the report at a later date for easy analysis on any portion of their field to better understand how their crops are performing.
  • Advanced Field Health Imagery - Through frequent and consistent, high-quality satellite imagery, farmers can instantly visualize and analyze crop performance, helping them identify issues early, prioritize scouting and take action early to protect yield. Climate's proprietary imagery process provides consistent imagery quality and frequency by using high-resolution imagery with vegetative data from multiple images, in addition to advanced cloud identification. Farmers can also drop geo-located scouting pins on field health images and navigate back to those spots for a closer look, or share with agronomic partners.
  • Seeding and Fertility Scripting - Farmers can manage their inputs to optimize yield in every part of their field with manual variable rate seed and fertility scripting tools. Through Climate’s manual seed scripting tools, farmers can easily create detailed planting plans for their fields to build a hybrid specific prescription tailored to their unique goals, saving time and improving productivity. Additionally, Climate offers a manual fertility scripting tool, enabling farmers the ability to optimize their inputs with a customized management plan for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and lime tailored to their unique goals.

2018 Availability and Pricing

The Climate FieldView platform is currently available for purchase in Western Canada on a per-acre basis so that farmers can begin using it on their farms in time for the 2018 growing season. To experience the complete value of the platform throughout the entire growing season, farmers should sign up for a Climate FieldView account by Jan. 1, 2018. For more information about the Climate FieldView platform and pricing, contact Climate Support at 1.888.924.7475 or visit www.climatefieldview.ca.
Published in Precision Ag
The harvest of 2016 left many fields deeply rutted from combines and grain carts running over wet land. Many farmers had little choice but to till those direct-seeded fields in an attempt to fill in the ruts and smooth out the ground. But where it was once heresy to till a long-term no-till field, a few tillage passes won’t necessarily result in disastrous consequences.
Published in Tillage
Soil health is the basis of successful crop production. This is why more and more growers are doing the groundwork to preserve and improve this vital part of their operations. Some, however, still avoid it because they perceive it as an economic issue – soil improvement costs money, it doesn’t make money. Not so, say Ontario soil specialists. Crop rotation trials prove if growers take a longer-term view of their operation, there will be economic rewards, yield bumps and an improved crop production environment.
Published in Soil
Earlier this summer (Week 14), true armyworm, Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Mythimna unipuncta, was reported on the lower west coast and a summary was provided by Tracy Hueppelsheuser from the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture.

Hueppeisheuser kindly provided an update to the situation.... The initial true armyworm damage reported earlier did not relent and a second generation of voracious larvae continued to cause damage in late August through to late September in southwestern British Columbia. READ MORE
Published in Insect Pests
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