Research
A research project in southwestern Ontario exploring the benefits of strip tilling is showing promising results in better managing fertilizer and improving crop yields by ensuring the fertilizer stays where it is most needed – with the plant.
Published in Tillage
Inspired by NASA's experiments to grow wheat in space, Australian scientists have developed the world's first 'speed breeding' technique that can boost the production of the crop by up to three times.

The NASA experiments involved using continuous light on wheat which triggered early reproduction in the plants. | READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Scientists working to increase soybean oil content tend to focus their efforts on genes known to impact the plant’s seeds, but a Purdue University study shows that genes affecting other plant parts deserve more attention.

Wild-type soybeans contain bloom, a powdery substance originating in the pod that can coat seeds. This trait makes the seeds less visible and is believed to be advantageous for their long-term survival in natural environments. But the bloom is enriched with allergens and can be harmful for animals and people if ingested. People domesticating soybeans selected a naturally occurring mutation that makes soybean seeds shiny through eliminating bloom. For the full story, click here
Published in Soybeans
A crop related research project will look at how to better manage the production of oats in Saskatchewan.

Northeast Agriculture Research Foundation (NARF), located at Melfort, received $80,255 in funding from the province’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF) for the three-year study that will start this spring. Western Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission and Saskatchewan Oat Development Commission are also dedicating a combined $110,255 to the project.

Research manager Jessica Pratchler said specifically she will look at not just relying on fungicides for disease control in oats. For the full story, click here
Published in Harvesting
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, on behalf of Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Lawrence MacAulay, and Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister, Lyle Stewart, recently announced $7.7 million in funding for 30 crop-related research projects through Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Development Fund (ADF).

In addition, the governments are committing $6.25 million in operating funds to the Crop Development Centre (CDC) at the University of Saskatchewan over five years through the Agriculture Development Fund.

This year’s projects are diverse and focus on issues important to Saskatchewan agriculture. Some examples include: research to develop more clubroot resistant canola varieties; improve fusarium head blight resistance in durum wheat; better control of root rot in pea and lentils crops; and increasing the use of faba beans in pet food and fish feed to create another value-added use for a Saskatchewan pulse crop.

The Agriculture Development Fund announcement into the 30 research projects leverages significant additional funding from industry partners, in addition to government funding. More than $3.1 million has been committed from the following partners: the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission, the Saskatchewan Canola Development Commission, the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, the Saskatchewan Flax Development Commission and the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission.

“Investing in these innovative, crop-related projects not only provides Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers with the very latest in research and development, but it allows our province to be competitive on the world stage and helps us keep attracting some of the best researchers in the industry. We’re very proud to invest in Agriculture Development Fund year after year as it creates future growth opportunities and results in enhanced knowledge, information and technology for producers and food processors," said Lyle Stewart, Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture in a press release. 
Published in Corporate News
Harvest quality of milling oats is very important, and growers sometimes utilize harvest aids such as pre-harvest glyphosate. A properly timed application can help growers control perennial weeds and improve crop harvestability, while meeting maximum residue limit (MRL) requirements. However, some buyers have placed restrictions on the use of pre-harvest glyphosate on oats they purchase.


Christian Willenborg, associate professor with the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at the University of Saskatchewan, initiated a small study in 2015 to collect some initial research data and find a way to lend science to the decision-making process.

“We were surprised at the announcement that some milling quality oats would not be accepted if treated with glyphosate, and frankly, this didn’t sit well with me. But there was no science on this and so we immediately established a one-season ‘look-see’ trial in 2015 at two locations near Saskatoon to compare different harvest systems and their effects on quality of milling oats,” he says. “We compared two different oat cultivars: CDC Dancer, a medium maturity cultivar, and AC Pinnacle, a later maturing cultivar. The oats were managed using typical agronomy practices, including a seeding rate of 300 seeds per square metre (seeds/m2) targeting 250 plants per square metre (plants/m2) and fertilized for a target yield of 150 bushels per acre.”

The second factor was a comparison of three different harvest systems, including swathing at the optimum timing of 35 per cent moisture, direct combined (at approximately nine per cent seed moisture content alone and direct combined with a pre-harvest glyphosate application. The pre-harvest glyphosate was applied according to label requirements at 30 per cent seed moisture content using the recommended label rate. The project compared various harvest quality parameters, as well as functional quality characteristics and residue testing across the different treatments.

Through funding from the Prairie Oat Growers Association and the Saskatchewan Agriculture Development Fund, the initial 2015 trial has been expanded into a fully funded, much larger three-year project that will involve several additional experiments.

“We gained some very good insights in the initial trial, but these very preliminary results will be compared again in this larger expanded trial over the next three years. Until we get the final results at the end of 2018, these early one-season informational highlights have to be considered very preliminary,” Willenborg says.

The 2015 preliminary results showed that, as expected, cultivar had an impact on all of the quality parameters, such as yield, plump kernels, 1,000 kernel weight and test weight. However, there was no cultivar by harvest system interaction – the effects of the harvest system were consistent regardless of which cultivar was planted.

“The harvest system did have an impact on several of the quality parameters, however the preliminary results did not show any negative effects of a pre-harvest glyphosate application,” Willenborg explains. “In terms of yield, swathing resulted in a 15 to 18 per cent yield reduction compared to direct harvest, however some of that reduction may be a function of our plot harvesting equipment, and this may be different with field-scale grower systems. The direct harvested plots, with and without a pre-harvest glyphosate treatment, had virtually equal yield. Swathing produced the highest test weight, with direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate equal to the swathing treatment; direct harvest with no glyphosate had a significant lower test weight.”

The swathing treatment also produced the highest percentage of thin kernels, with direct harvest and no glyphosate intermediate and the lowest percentage of thin kernels with direct harvest plus glyphosate treatment. On the other hand, the percentage of plump kernels was the same in both direct harvest treatments, but slightly lower for the swathing treatment. Overall, the pre-harvest glyphosate reduced the percentage of thin kernels in the sample, which is a benefit for growers.

“For the initial and longer term project, we partnered with Dr. Nancy Ames at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada to compare the functional aspects of the oat cultivars under the different treatments,” Willenborg says. “Her preliminary functional test results were similar to the seed quality results, with no major impacts on functional quality among the treatments. For the glyphosate testing, we partnered with Dr. Sheryl Tittlemier at the Canadian Grain Commission to develop a glyphosate residue test for oat. Her initial test results from the 2015 treatments showed that the direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate treatment did have very small levels of residues at four [parts per million], which is well below the MRL threshold levels in North America. We will continue to use this test for the larger project.”

The expanded three-year study will include the same harvest treatments, with some additional trials assessing seeding rate and stand uniformity. Stand uniformity is related to the question of whether or not additional tillers in the stand may be a factor with potential glyphosate issues. The three harvest treatments will also be compared at a range of different moisture contents, from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 per cent at the time of swathing, or direct harvest alone and direct harvest plus pre-harvest glyphosate.

Willenborg will also be investigating alternative cultural and herbicide combinations for managing perennial weeds in oat. The full analysis and final project results will be available in 2019, including seed quality and functional analysis.

“So far it doesn’t appear that glyphosate is having an adverse effect on oat seed quality or functionality, and if anything is showing a small quality benefit to having glyphosate applied prior to harvest,” Willenborg says. “The key is to follow the label directions for pre-harvest application and make sure the crop is at 30 per cent moisture or lower, which corresponds roughly to the hard dough stage of development. All of our research treatments have been completed according to the label, but once you get off label in terms of timing we don’t know what will happen with glyphosate residues.

“For example, in some of our earlier work with lentil, the results were fine as long as label directions were followed, but as soon as application got off label in terms of timing and at higher moisture content, [that’s] where problems with quality and MRLs showed up. We expect that may be similar to oat, which is often harvested late in the season, when growers are between a rock and a hard place, with frost or heavy rains threatening harvest.”

Although it can be a challenge to apply glyphosate at the proper timing, there can be serious consequences due to not adhering to the label timing. Always follow the label, and check with your grain buyer about the acceptance of all pre-harvest and other product use and MRLs for all crops, including oats.
Published in Herbicides
Engineers at Rice University’s Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center have found a catalyst that cleans toxic nitrates from drinking water by converting them into air and water.

The research is available online in the American Chemical Society journal ACS Catalysis.

“Nitrates come mainly from agricultural runoff, which affects farming communities all over the world,” said Rice chemical engineer Michael Wong, the lead scientist on the study. “Nitrates are both an environmental problem and health problem because they’re toxic. There are ion-exchange filters that can remove them from water, but these need to be flushed every few months to reuse them, and when that happens, the flushed water just returns a concentrated dose of nitrates right back into the water supply.”

Wong’s lab specializes in developing nanoparticle-based catalysts, submicroscopic bits of metal that speed up chemical reactions. In 2013, his group showed that tiny gold spheres dotted with specks of palladium could break apart nitrites, the more toxic chemical cousins of nitrates.

“Nitrates are molecules that have one nitrogen atom and three oxygen atoms,” Wong explained. “Nitrates turn into nitrites if they lose an oxygen, but nitrites are even more toxic than nitrates, so you don’t want to stop with nitrites. Moreover, nitrates are the more prevalent problem.

“Ultimately, the best way to remove nitrates is a catalytic process that breaks them completely apart into nitrogen and oxygen, or in our case, nitrogen and water because we add a little hydrogen,” he said. “More than 75 percent of Earth’s atmosphere is gaseous nitrogen, so we’re really turning nitrates into air and water.”

Nitrates are toxic to infants and pregnant women and may also be carcinogenic. Nitrate pollution is common in agricultural communities, especially in the U.S. Corn Belt and California’s Central Valley, where fertilizers are heavily used, and some studies have shown that nitrate pollution is on the rise due to changing land-use patterns.

Both nitrates and nitrites are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, which sets allowable limits for safe drinking water. In communities with polluted wells and lakes, that typically means pretreating drinking water with ion-exchange resins that trap and remove nitrates and nitrites without destroying them.

From their previous work, Wong’s team knew that gold-palladium nanoparticles were not good catalysts for breaking apart nitrates. Co-author Kim Heck, a research scientist in Wong’s lab, said a search of published scientific literature turned up another possibility: indium and palladium.

“We were able to optimize that, and we found that covering about 40 percent of a palladium sphere’s surface with indium gave us our most active catalyst,” Heck said. “It was about 50 percent more efficient than anything else we found in previously published studies. We could have stopped there, but we were really interested in understanding why it was better, and for that we had to explore the chemistry behind this reaction.”

In collaboration with chemical engineering colleagues Jeffrey Miller of Purdue University and Lars Grabow of the University of Houston, the Rice team found that the indium speeds up the breakdown of nitrates while the palladium apparently keeps the indium from being permanently oxidized.

“Indium likes to be oxidized,” Heck said. “From our in situ studies, we found that exposing the catalysts to solutions containing nitrate caused the indium to become oxidized. But when we added hydrogen-saturated water, the palladium prompted some of that oxygen to bond with the hydrogen and form water, and that resulted in the indium remaining in a reduced state where it’s free to break apart more nitrates.”

Wong said his team will work with industrial partners and other researchers to turn the process into a commercially viable water-treatment system.

“That’s where NEWT comes in,” he said. “NEWT is all about taking basic science discoveries and getting them deployed in real-world conditions. This is going to be an example within NEWT where we have the chemistry figured out, and the next step is to create a flow system to show proof of concept that the technology can be used in the field.”

NEWT is a multi-institutional engineering research center based at Rice that was established by the National Science Foundation in 2015 to develop compact, mobile, off-grid water-treatment systems that can provide clean water to millions of people and make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective. NEWT is expected to leverage more than $40 million in federal and industrial support by 2025 and is focused on applications for humanitarian emergency response, rural water systems and wastewater treatment and reuse at remote sites, including both onshore and offshore drilling platforms for oil and gas exploration.

Additional study co-authors include Sujin Guo, Huifeng Qian and Zhun Zhao, all of Rice, and Sashank Kasiraju of the University of Houston. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the China Scholarship Council.
Published in Consumer Issues
A 20-year study of soil health on P.E.I. is showing an overall decline in organic matter. The study was launched by the provincial Department of Agriculture in 1998. Over the course of three-year cycles soil samples have been taken from 600 sites around the Island and compared over the years. READ MORE
Published in Corporate News
Ontario is transferring the operating and research programming of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station to Lakehead University to help foster innovation and strengthen Ontario's competitive edge by expanding agri-food research in Northwestern Ontario.

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, made the announcement on behalf of Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs in Thunder Bay on Dec. 8, 2017.

The partnership with Lakehead University will support the long-term sustainability of the Thunder Bay Agricultural Research Station and will increase the university's capacity to build new programming and research that will benefit Northwestern Ontario.

The investment builds on the province's efforts to develop a sustainable, co-ordinated plan to expand agriculture in Northern Ontario, such as the Northern Livestock Pilot and field crop and beef research in New Liskeard.

“This investment reaffirms our government’s commitment to expanding agriculture in Northern Ontario. By investing in research and innovation, we are boosting the competitiveness of Ontario’s agri-food sector and ensuring that our farmers in Northwestern Ontario have the tools and resources they need to succeed," Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said in a press release. 
Published in Corporate News
Canola Performance Trial (CPT) results for 2017 are loaded into the online searchable database at canolaperformancetrials.ca. Canola growers can use this valuable online tool to finalize seed decisions for 2018.

CPTs compare leading canola varieties in small-plot and field-scale trials. With the tool, growers can filter results to province, season zone and herbicide-tolerance system. They can also search all varieties or do head-to-head comparisons of two or three varieties. With each search, days to maturity, height, lodging and yield results are provided in easy-to-compare graph format.

“What growers get from this site are independent, third-party data on new and familiar canola varieties – essential information in making variety choices,” says John Guelly, chair of the CPT Governance Committee.

The online tool also provides the option to compare varieties for a number of years. The CPT program has been running since 2011, and all data collected over the past seven years is available. For a compilation of 2011-16 data, the ‘Canola Variety Selection Guide: Featuring CPT Summary Data’ booklet is posted in the Trials Summaries section at canolaperformancetrials.ca.

CPT trials for 2017 also included field-scale comparisons of clubroot-resistant varieties and pod-shatter tolerant varieties in straight-combining trials. These results are available in the 2017 CPT data booklet, and will be added to the online database soon.

“I encourage growers to take some time over the winter to explore the site and read the summary booklets to make full use of all the work involved in generating this data,” says Guelly.

Alberta Canola, SaskCanola and the Manitoba Canola Growers Association funded the 2017 CPT program, along with contributions from the British Columbia Grain Producers Association. The Canola Council of Canada (CCC) delivers the program on their behalf.
Published in Canola
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
Upping the seeding rate was the single most effective tool for increasing yield and suppressing weeds in flax grown under organic management, a University of Saskatchewan study shows.

Researchers Lena Syrovy, Yanben Shen and Steve Shirtliffe, studied seeding rates and mechanical weed control methods including using a inter-row cultivator, a rotary hoe plus an inter-row cultivator, and by adjusting the crop seeding rates in four levels from 250 seeds per square metre to 2,000. | READ MORE
Published in Weeds
In an effort to investigate agronomic factors that could push soybean yields higher, research is being conducted to see if there is a yield response to starter nitrogen (N). In areas with high yield potential for soybean, some research has shown benefits to early season fertility N. But so far the results in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have found that with proper inoculation, starter N doesn’t pay.
Published in Soybeans
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
Scientists say they have made a step forward in the fight against a wheat disease that threatens food security.

Researchers from the UK, U.S. and Australia identified genetic clues that give insights into whether a crop will succumb to stem rust.

They discovered a gene in the fungus that triggers a wheat plant's natural defences. A second pathway has been discovered which switches on a wheat plant's immune response. READ MORE
Published in Cereals
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
Few agricultural technologies capture people’s imaginations as much as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), more commonly known as drones. Since the first day a UAV looked down on a crop field, farmers have dreamed up a million ways that a bird’s eye view and remote access could improve agricultural operations.
Published in Precision Ag
The government of Canada is moving forward with the development of a much needed Food Policy for Canada, which will incorporate the social, environmental and economic aspects of the food system into an integrated policy framework. To support the successful implementation of this multifaceted policy, a broad alliance of more than 50 food industry, civil society and farming groups is calling on the federal government to create a National Food Policy Council.

A National Food Policy Council would bring together key stakeholders from across the food system to work collaboratively with the government. It would provide diverse expertise and evidence-based advice on how to progress toward a food system that better promotes a healthier, more equitable, sustainable and prosperous Canada.

A Food Policy for Canada is expected to support Canada's ambitious agri-food economic growth targets while integrating critical food security, health and safety, and environmental sustainability requirements. While the policy will provide a framework for action, much work will remain to further address the challenges and opportunities within our food system, engage stakeholders, and move from policy formulation to implementation. Some of these challenges include four million Canadians living in food insecurity, high levels of diet-related disease, and climate change mitigation and adaptation; while there are significant opportunities to build public trust and advance Canada's international trade objectives.

Recognizing this complexity, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food recommended a series of actions to support the development of A Food Policy for Canada. In its report released on Dec. 11th, the Committee recommended that the government create a permanent advisory council consisting of multiple stakeholders.

"I applaud the federal government's leadership and consultative approach to building a national food policy as the foundation for a more sustainable food system," says Michael McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. "But governments can't do it all - business and civil society must engage and be part of the solution. An inclusive National Food Policy Council is the best way to drive bold action on the strength of evidence and collaboration."

"A national food policy is a long-standing priority for Canadian farmers," says Ron Bonnett, President of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture. "CFA supports a multi-stakeholder governing council as a means of ensuring that farmers have a place at the food policy development table. We see it as an important forum for sharing perspectives and encouraging dialogue. Through joint discussions, we can clarify misperceptions and identify opportunities where farmers can help meet emerging consumer demands."

"The non-profit sector is deeply knowledgeable and engaged in advancing a more equitable and sustainable food system and provides an important voice that has not yet been integrated in food policy making," says Diana Bronson, Executive Director of Food Secure Canada. "Bringing more diversity to the table will ensure that social, health and environmental issues are given proper attention as well as bringing innovative community practices to the policy-making table."

"Working with the academic and research community was a necessary part of the process," says Evan Fraser, Director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph and a Canada Research Chair in the Department of Geography. "And through a rigorous research process, we were able to distill best practices from food policy councils from around the world to inform our recommendations to the Canadian Government."

Over 40,000 Canadians responded to the online consultations for A Food Policy for Canada, demonstrating clear interest in the future of our food system. A National Food Policy Council would create a forum in which this conversation can continue and incorporate the diverse voices of all Canadians.

The ad hoc working group was formed in early 2017 with the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph, the Canadian Federation of Agriculture, Food Secure Canada, Maple Leaf Foods and the McConnell Foundation as founding members. This proposal has garnered support from a broad cross-section of businesses, non-profits and sectoral organizations from across Canada in a letter sent to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay last week.

For additional background see the joint letter and The Case for A National Food Policy Council report.

RELATED: Canada's agriculture ministers and farm leaders discuss strategies to grow ag-food sector
Published in Corporate News
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.
Top Crop Manager is pleased to announce the next 10 winners of the Herbicide Resistance Summit Sweepstakes!

Throughout the month of December, we’re giving away 10 passes per week to the Herbicide Resistance Summit, to be held Feb. 27 and 28, 2018, in Saskatoon, Sask.

Congratulations to this week’s lucky winners:
  • Tom King
  • Jennifer Bogdan
  • Brianna Lummerding
  • Leon Cipywnyk
  • Monique Cousin
  • Allan Gifford
  • Greg Wieben
  • Dan Petker
  • Roxanne Stewart
  • Allen Price
Each week’s winners are determined on Friday by 4 p.m. (EDT) Winners will be notified via e-mail the following Monday before 5 p.m.

Be sure to enter every week before Dec. 22, 2017 for your chance to win the grand prize of two free passes and a one-night stay at the Holiday Inn Saskatoon Downtown on Feb. 27! The grand prize winner will be announced Dec. 28.

Didn’t win this week? Click here to enter next week’s draw!

The Summit – which is approved for 5 CCA-CEUs and 7.5 CCSC-CEUs – will give you the opportunity to hear directly from leading researchers on key issues surrounding the challenges herbicide resistance poses to agricultural productivity in Canada.

For more information, visit https://www.weedsummit.ca/
Published in Corporate News
Page 1 of 23

Subscription Centre

 
New Subscription
 
Already a Subscriber
 
Customer Service
 
View Digital Magazine

Latest Events

Intercropping Innovators Workshop
Wed Jan 24, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM
Pacific Agriculture Show
Thu Jan 25, 2018
FarmTech
Tue Jan 30, 2018 @ 8:00AM - 05:00PM