Research
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
A large, prospective cohort study conducted among agricultural workers, farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina in the United States reports that there are no associations between glyphosate use and overall cancer risk or with total lymphohematopoietic cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and multiple myeloma.

The long term study updated the previous evaluation of glyphosate with cancer incidence, and is part of the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a large and important project that tracks the health of agricultural workers and their families.

Led by AHS principal investigator Laura Beane Freeman, the study results state that among 54,251 applicators studied, 44,932 (82.8 percent) used glyphosate. "Glyphosate was not statistically significantly associated with cancer at any site," the study said. For the full story, click here.
Published in Seed/Chemical
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
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
Soybean acreage is continuing to expand west into Saskatchewan and Alberta. Many growers already grow glyphosate-resistant canola in rotation and are adding glyphosate-resistant soybeans as another crop in their system. However, managing glyphosate-resistant canola volunteers in glyphosate-resistant soybeans is a challenge.
Published in Soybeans
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
Several efforts are underway to develop new tools and management strategies for blackleg disease in canola. Severe epidemics of blackleg can result in significant yield losses. Researchers have developed a new blackleg yield loss model for canola and an associated set of guidelines and recommendations for farmers and industry to help understand the economic impacts of this significant disease.
Published in Canola
Most experts agree food production will need to double by the time Earth’s population grows to nine billion people by 2050. This is a challenge that motivates scientists the world over and Australian crop scientist and plant nutritionist Peter Kopittke is no exception.

The young scientist spent a few days this past summer in the heart of Canada’s wheat belt working on the problem of aluminum toxicity in acidic soil. It’s a problem that affects wheat growers in many parts of the world although not in Saskatchewan, home to the CLS, where Kopittke spent an intense 36 hours earlier this year.

Globally, it is estimated that acid soils result in more than US$129 billion in lost production annually. In Western Australia, farmers lose A$1.5 billion annually because the aluminum in the soil destroys the root system, killing the plant. For the full story, click here
Published in Soil
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
Real-time DNA sequencing, anywhere, anytime, is one step closer to making the jump from science fiction to science fact, according to researchers at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. A recent paper published in Scientific Reports outlined how the team used a MinION portable DNA sequencer to analyze plant species in the field.
Published in Genetics/Traits
The grain industry is adopting innovation from motor racing specialists when it comes to new technology and materials designed to reduce the risk of fires in headers. READ MORE
Published in Harvesting

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
With large dollars and major tax implications hanging in the balance, farmers need to take the time to carefully weigh financing options for any and every acquisition of farm equipment. Whether you should lease or buy your next major farm purchase cannot be answered with a one-size-fits-all set of rules, says Rick Battistoni, chartered professional accountant, and a partner with MNP, a national accounting, tax and business consulting firm. Rather, he says, one’s financing decisions depend on your farm’s specific needs, priorities and financial reality.
Published in Business Management
When learning from agronomists and farmers about their experience with managing glyphosate resistant Canada fleabane, there is consensus that multiple strategies are needed and that simply tank-mixing another mode of action will not be a good long-term approach. Since 2016 we have evaluated different management tactics for Canada fleabane. READ MORE
Published in Weeds
The availability of labour is critical to the success of many industries in Canada, including agriculture and agri-food.

The Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program's Agriculture Stream supports Canada's economy by permitting employers to hire temporary foreign workers for positions in agriculture and agri-food when qualified Canadians and permanent residents are not available.

Employment and Social Development Canada, in collaboration with Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, recently announced that the Government is looking for research on the primary agricultural sector to support a review of the TFW Program's Primary Agriculture Stream.

Canadians with an interest in primary agriculture, which is work that is performed within the boundaries of a farm, nursery or greenhouse, are being asked to share available, objective and evidence-based research on the primary agricultural sector.

Submitted research can be on a number of issues related to primary agriculture and will inform future changes to the program, including methods for determining wages and labour shortages. For instance, research on why certain populations such as women, youth and Indigenous people are underrepresented in the agriculture industry could help in the development of future recruitment and retention efforts.

Research can be submitted through the call-out on the Consulting with Canadians web page. The call-out will be open until November 24, 2017.

"Our government embraces science and research and we know that evidence is the key to making informed decisions. High-quality research and feedback from Canadians will play an integral role during the Primary Agriculture Review as we continue ensuring the TFW Program works for workers, for employers and for the Canadian economy," said the honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour in a press release.
Published in Corporate News
On Oct. 9 - 13, 100 young agricultural enthusiasts, aged 18-25 and from 49 different countries, gathered in Brussels, Belgium, for the third edition of the Youth Ag-Summit.

Organized by Bayer, together with the two Belgian young farmers associations Groene Kring and Fédération des Jeunes Agriculteurs, the event provided an opportunity for delegates to work on concrete solutions to one of humanity's greatest challenges: How to feed a growing world population in a sustainable manner.

At the Youth-Ag Summit, delegates, including four from Canada, worked throughout the week in groups of 10 to develop their ideas, before pitching to a jury of experts and the audience. The jury and the audience then selected the winners on the basis of criteria such as feasibility, innovativeness and creativity:
  • Third place went to "Imperfect Picks", a group who was assigned to work on SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. These delegates impressed with their cartoon campaign to promote "ugly fruits" to children, and enable a broader cultural shift towards accepting food that appears blemished but is still of good quality. They won €3,000 to further develop and implement their project.
  • Second place went to "Seeds of Change", a group of delegates focusing on SDG 4: Quality Education. They will use their prize of €5,000 to fund a project aimed at promoting agriculture in schools through young agricultural champions, in order to bridge the disconnect between people who consume, and people who produce food.
  • Finally, first place was awarded to the group "AGRIKUA" ("kua" being the Swahili word for "grow"), whose project focuses on promoting Gender Equality (SDG 5) in the agricultural sector. Their plan to create an online professional platform for young Kenyan women seeking opportunities in agriculture impressed the jury and audience alike, and they took home the grand prize of €10,000. On top of this funding, the AGRIKUA delegates will also receive dedicated training and coaching to help make the project a reality. They will also be invited back to Europe to present their project to a relevant industry platform.
Cassie Hayward from Halifax, Nova Scotia, was one of four Canadian delegates to attend the Summit. She was part of the winning AGRIKUA team and feels that this experience has been life-changing.

"I'm very fortunate to have been part of such an amazing team. The outcome we achieved is because of the collaboration and commitment of our group to make a real impact in addressing food security," said Hayward. "Within 24 hours our lives changed. Since my teammates and I arrived at home, various groups have expressed their interest in our project."

Hayward wasn't the only Canadian to garner attention at the Youth Ag-Summit. In fact, all of the top teams had representation from Canada—the only country in attendance to do so.

"We are extremely proud of our Canadian delegates," said Al Driver, president and CEO, Bayer Crop Science. "These four delegates used their diverse experience and backgrounds to find tangible solutions to addressing food security. They should all be proud in the manner they represented their country to the world."

Speaking about this year's crop of winners, Fleur Wilkins, Head of strategic messaging and executive communications for Bayer Crop Science and member of the jury, said, "We were blown away by the level of creativity, intelligence, and diligence shown by each of the delegate groups in the final projects they presented. Bayer is thrilled to be funding three of these for future development, but we are convinced that all of this year's Youth Ag-Summit delegates will continue to champion and contribute to a more sustainable food system."

As well as working in groups to develop their projects, delegates spent the week hearing from world-renowned speakers and partner organisations, who inspired them to each commit to doing "Three Little Things" in their everyday life to foster greater food security.

They also paid a visit to the EU Committee of the Regions, and met with Members of the EU Parliament Tom Vandenkendelaere and Richard Ashworth to discuss agricultural policy. Another highlight of the week was a visit to Hof ten Bosch, a Bayer ForwardFarm nestled in the heart of the Belgian countryside.

Visit www.youthagsummit.com to meet the delegates and to learn more about the Summit.
Published in Corporate News
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
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
Rye’s weed-fighting skills along with its cover crop benefits make it a particularly good companion crop for soybeans.

“Soybeans and rye complement each other really well,” says Mike Ostlie, agronomist at the North Dakota State University’s Carrington Research Extension Center. “Rye adds a lot of things to soybeans that really complete a good production system. You can use rye as a weed-management tool because it suppresses weeds that are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate.” READ MORE
Published in Soybeans
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