Protection
Join us March 13, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern for an interactive webinar for updates on a special crop sequencing study in Saskatchewan.
Published in Webinars
Bees can provide a helping hand to farmers with a new green technology to fight against major fungal diseases such as sunflower head rot and grey mould.
Published in Diseases
A new computer-generated hydrology model of the southern Saskatchewan River basin is giving researchers a better understanding of this unpredictable, and at times deadly, water system.

The model not only takes into account water movement through the river itself, but also how water drains through the surrounding landscape and moves from one point to another on its way to the river. The program can not only account for weather events, prevailing winds, but also evapo-transportation, the affects of prolonged drought and how the different kinds of soil or cropland, down to the bedrock level, create the flow of ground and surface water toward its eventual migration down to the river. For the full story, click here.
Published in Corporate News
The federal government has proposed tighter restrictions around the two insecticides: clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

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

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

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

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

For more information on FMC Canada crop protection products, visit www.FMCcrop.ca.
Published in Pulses
Overshadowed by variable rate nitrogen (N), variable rate phosphate (P) is coming to the forefront to help farmers get the biggest bang for the fertilizer dollar, as soils on the Prairies continue to decline in P fertility.
Plant-parasitic nematodes are hidden yield robbers. But research and monitoring efforts are helping to uncover their secrets. Plant pathologist Albert Tenuta conducted a survey of soil-dwelling nematode species in Ontario crops and his ongoing collaborative research looks to improve management strategies for these microscopic, worm-like pests.  
Published in Insect Pests
The Herbicide Resistance Summit is a bi-annual conference brought to you by Top Crop Manager (TCM) and a group of generous sponsors that aims to facilitate a more unified understanding of herbicide resistance and promote awareness that all industry members have a role to play in managing the growing threat of herbicide resistance.
Published in Herbicides
Prairie farmers continue to insure their crops for hail damage at near record levels. 2017 recorded one of the lightest hail claim years since 2009. Claims produced insurance payouts of $96 million on just over 8,600 claims in Western Canada. Producer premiums totaled just over $286 million for an industry loss ratio of 33.8 per cent.

Dry spring conditions, combined with 2016 unharvested acres, and some continued industry rate declines resulted in a five per cent decrease in producer paid premiums for 2017.

With the lack of moisture much of the western prairies received little in the way of convective storm activity resulting in hail losses.

Hardest hit was Manitoba with a loss ratio of 45.9 per cent, a figure still well below a record 2016 loss ratio of 158.9 per cent. Alberta followed with a loss ratio of 33.7 per cent, compared to 83.6 per cent in 2016. Saskatchewan reported a 30 per cent loss ratio compared to 73 per cent in 2016.

Another year of contrasts and challenges emerged for producers. Dry conditions followed what looked to be a promising planting season. The dry conditions were wide spread across the western prairies. While welcomed by some after excess moisture in 2016, record and near record dry was reported through a large portion of Saskatchewan and parts of Alberta. Manitoba producers appeared to receive more timely precipitation. In spite of the dry conditions producers were presently surprised come harvest with yield and quality.

The storm season was spread across mostly July and August. All months of June thru October reported hail, however all months showed a decrease in storm frequency from the five year average. Claim frequency or claim to policy ratio was down about 30 per cent from the five year average. Storm severity or average per claim was down about 16 per cent from the five year average.

Alberta hail claim payments decline 60 per cent from 2016

Alberta’s quiet storm activity resulted in lighter than average loss activity for the industry. The first storms were reported as early as May 13th. The dry southern Alberta crops advanced quickly with an early harvest ensuing. Areas of central and northern Alberta were still recovering from excess moisture and late seeding due to a carry-over of the 2016 harvest. This resulted in some of those areas having the current fall harvest delayed compared to their southern producers. Fall conditions allowed for nearly all crop to be harvested in 2017.

Early storms were localized to small areas. By mid-June larger more organized storms became prevalent for the summer hail season. Alberta’s most expensive storm date(s) were July 23rd costing companies over $19,000 per claim and July 27th damaging over 33,000 acres and costing in excess of $2.2 million.

Total hail payments were reported just over $25 million as compared to over $60 million in 2016. Storm severity decreased by about 25 per cent, while the storm frequency was down about 40 per cent from the five year average. The overall reported loss ratio was 33.7 per cent.

Total sums insured were down from 2016, with average charged rates showing a slight increase from 2016 after a less than stellar loss result last year. The decrease in sums insured resulted in a premium declined of four per cent.

Saskatchewan reported lower than average losses

The west central part of the province began the season with early moisture and delayed
seeding. The north east part of the province meanwhile still was trying to clean up 2016 harvest due to excess fall moisture and early winter. Meanwhile the southern part of the province awaited moisture to help start the crops.

The dry conditions gave way to some areas receiving timely mid-June moisture. Some southern areas not so lucky had spotty germination and continued drought concerns. Regardless most areas in the province produced average to above average crops with good quality.

Saskatchewan’s hail season began in early June with storms on the 2nd and 9th. Hail frequency was down about 44 per cent based on the five year average. The five year hail severity was decreased by roughly 10 per cent. Saskatchewan’s most expensive storm date(s) was July 20 and 21, costing companies $14.9 million on over 1100 claims. Total hail payments were just over $48 million compared to $125 million in 2016, a decrease of 61 per cent from a year earlier. The overall reported loss ratio was 30 per cent.

Provincial total sums insured decreased in 2017. The average charged rates also decrease for the year. Continued average industry loss results and competitive pressures likely contribute to the continued rate decline. These combined changes resulted in a five per cent decline to premiums for the year.

Manitoba recovers after a record hail year in 2016

Seeding was mostly complete by early June. Timely rains helped negate the dry conditions suffered in southern Saskatchewan and Alberta. With below average precipitation through June crops were still in good condition from spring moisture. Seasonal moisture provided great conditions throughout the growing season. This along with good harvest conditions provided Manitoba with average to above average yield and crop quality.

Manitoba’s hail season started in early June as well. With most crops still in the early stages minimal damage was recorded. The results from hail damage in Manitoba mirrored her sister prairie provinces. Manitoba’s most expensive hail day(s) appear to be July 21 and 22 costing companies over $11,000 per claim.

Hail frequency was down about 19 per cent from the five year average. Claim Severity was down about 17 per cent from the five year average. Total hail payments were just over $23 million compared to over $74 million in 2016. 2017 reported a stellar loss ratio of 46 per cent, compared to last year’s record 158 per cent loss ratio.

Total provincial sums insured had a marginal increase of three pre cent. This could be contributed to the large hail loss last year. Average charged rates also saw a minimal increase, likely from the historic loss results in 2016. These two factors would help contribute to a six per cent increase in premium for the year.
Published in Corporate News
A need for accurate, current weather data was the reason behind the development of a new weather system that gives farmers access to real-time information.

The AGGrower Daily Dashboard is powered by a network of 80 weather stations in southwestern Ontario that capture rain fall, relative humidity, and wind speed and direction data minute by minute and push it to a farmer-accessible website every 15 minutes.

Project collaborators AGRIS Co-operative, Wanstead Farmers’ Co-op and Haggerty Creek realized a need among their customers for a web-based, field-specific risk management tool based on real-time weather data.

“We talk about weather so much in agriculture – both the forecast and the weather that just occurred play into management decisions,” explains Dale Cowan, Senior Agronomist with AGRIS and Wanstead Cooperatives. “So we got together and decided to build this network to push real time weather data out to customers. We are trying to make extension advice real-time.”

The dashboard lets farmers plot individual fields and remotely access wind and rainfall data from each station to help make decisions about spraying and nutrient management, as well as establishing crop maturity and insect or disease pressure.

“There’s a lot of management advice that comes with the impacts of weather and the growth stages of the crop. We can predict when tasseling is going to occur, for example, and what management should be considered at that time for plant health and nutrition,” Cowan says.

Interest in the subscription-based system has been high, with uptake varied by what farmers want to know. Rain fall and wind data have been big in 2017. Precipitation has been extremely spotty and then very intense in some regions and wind has made spraying a challenge.

Dave Gillespie grows corn, soybeans and wheat in the Thamesville area. His home farm is a weather station host and he is an avid user of the dashboard. This year, it was particularly helpful in managing spraying.

“Often times I need data when I’m out in the field making minute by minute management decisions and now, instead of just seeing what the predicted wind speed and direction is, I can actually login and see what conditions are being logged on the specific fields,” he explains, adding this lets him react quickly to avoid unsuitable spraying conditions.

“We’ve always known there’s a difference in conditions from here to Ridgetown, but now we know exactly how much the difference can be between two spots that are only 10 to 15 km apart,” Gillespie says.

The collaborators accessed Growing Forward 2 funding for both phases of the project – an investigation into feasibility and execution, as well as the actual implementation, which included establishing the weather stations and working with participating farmers to connect them to the network and get them working with the available data.

“If we didn’t have the funding, we likely wouldn’t have started with this venture at all. It was a great tool for de-risking the venture by having assistance up front to help get it developed,” Cowan says.

This project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2­ in Ontario.
Published in Precision Ag
In the Peace River region where production of creeping red fescue, alsike clover and red clover has been a mainstay for many farmers, tighter canola rotations have gradually displaced forage seed production. While this threatens the sustainability of the seed industry, more intense canola rotations may be costing farmers profit as well. That is the finding of a crop rotation study conducted by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) at Beaverlodge, Alta.  
Published in Other Crops
Two innovative research centres at the University of Saskatchewan will bolster their expertise in water security and agricultural technologies thanks to an investment of over $2.7 million from the Government of Canada.

The Global Institute for Water Security will receive more than $1.3 million to establish the Smart Water Systems Laboratory to deliver transformative technological capabilities for water-related observation and data collection. 

The Global Institute for Food Security will receive more than $1.3 million for the creation of the Omics and Precision Agriculture Laboratory (OPAL), which supports state-of-the-art precision agriculture using high-throughput digital phenotyping of crops integrated with genomics data and analysis expertise. For the full story, click here
Published in Corporate News
Crop growth and yield are strongly affected by sunlight, temperature and growing season precipitation. From a farmer’s perspective, temperature and water availability are the two most important environmental factors that affect crop production.
"If a drought occurs, you’re looking at more than 20 to 30 per cent losses in any crop. A drought-tolerant crop variety is almost like crop insurance. If you’re hit with a major drought every one out of three years, and you have drought tolerance as an added trait – along with the multiple traits in your elite canola variety – then that’s like insurance that will help protect you,” says Marcus Samuel, an associate professor at the University of Calgary.
Published in Canola
Two years ago, an unusually warm, dry, long fall across much of Ontario meant that wheat grew unusually big before winter freeze-up. Strong fall growth brings with it both pros and cons. While vigorous early growth can ultimately produce high yields, it also leaves plants susceptible to lodging.
Published in Cereals
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
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
Two of the most commonly used insecticides around the world are imidacloprid (neonicotinoid) and chlorpyrifos (organophosphate). In a new paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, they have been found to be toxic to seed-eating songbirds, even affecting their migration. 

University of Saskatchewan biology professor Christy Morrissey stated in a press release, “Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is not just bees that are being affected by these insecticides.” | READ MORE
Published in Insecticides
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
Bayer has announced the launch of Prosaro® XTR, a powerful cereal fungicide that allows growers to strive for their best yield yet, while maintaining superior quality and disease control.

The latest innovation to join Bayer’s leading fungicide family, Prosaro XTR offers high protection for grain quality like Prosaro (retaining prothioconazole and tebuconazole), with an enhanced formula to help plants metabolize and remove stressors faster, delivering a healthier and higher yielding crop.

“At Bayer, we are committed to supporting growers in their efforts to safeguard the world’s food supply. Achieving maximum yield potential, without compromising on quality and disease control is a priority,” said James Humphris, Crop Manager, Cereals at Bayer. “Prosaro XTR delivers the high protection for grain quality that growers trust in Prosaro, in a new enhanced formulation that delivers increased yield.”

Recent Prosaro XTR trials in wheat demonstrated an impressive +2.0 bu./ac. yield advantage over the industry leading Prosaro and a +2.6 bu./ac. increase in barley. Ten years of field-scale cereal fungicide trials continue to show that application at head timing delivers the best results in terms of yield and quality.

“Prosaro XTR delivers exceptional foliar and head disease control,” said Humphris. “Application at head timing continues to offer growers the best of both worlds: protection of the flag leaf and of the head during the critical grain fill period, and peace of mind they are doing the most to protect the yield and quality of their crop.”

Prosaro XTR delivers the same performance, handling and stability attributes of the current Prosaro formulation. In addition to being registered on wheat, barley and oats, growers will be able to apply Prosaro XTR on rye, triticale and canary seed.

For more information regarding Prosaro XTR, growers are encouraged to talk to their local retailer or visit cropscience.bayer.ca/ProsaroXTR
Published in Corporate News
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