Specialty 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
Imagine being able to harvest an extra eight to 10 bushels per acre of soybeans without spending another dime. According to Kris Ehler, a seed agronomist with Ehler Bros. Seed, a family-owned business based near Thomasboro, Illinois, all you have to do is plant soybeans early.

Ehler Bros. Seed has been doing early planting soybean trials since 2009. Although the Feb. 22 planting date the company experimented with this past season may sound a little extreme, Ehler advocates planting full-season soybeans (normally groups 3.5 to 4.2, with 4.7 soybeans tossed in this year) no later than the end of April. For the full story, click here

RELATED: Dating decisions - How critical is soil temperature for soybean planting date decisions?
Published in Soybeans
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
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
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
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
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
Flea beetles (Phyllotreta spp.) in canola and cutworms continued to be at economical levels in many areas of Manitoba in 2017. Aphids were at high levels and resulted in insecticide applications in small grain cereals, field peas and soybeans.

Diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella) were controlled in many canola fields. Bertha armyworm (Mamestra configurata) got to economic levels in some canola fields in Western Manitoba. Alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) was at high levels in many alfalfa fields. Thistle caterpillars (Vanessa cardui) caused concern in some soybean and sunflower fields.

'Summary of Insects on Crops in Manitoba in 2017' is a report based on observations from John Gavloski, Ph.D., entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture, as well as his summer students, observations and reports from agronomists, farmers, farm production extension specialists, and extension co-ordinators. To read the full report, click here
Published in Insect Pests
Evidence of feeding in 2017 once again was over a wider range than in previous years. The range of pea leaf weevil activity has expanded dramatically in central Alberta since 2013.

The annual pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus L.) survey was carried out in late May and early June, 2017. The 2017 survey was based on damage ratings in 203 fields from 46 municipalities. Survey locations shown with black circles had no evidence of pea leaf weevil feeding on any of the plants assessed. For more information, click here

Related: Keeping an eye on fababean insect pests
Published in Insect Pests
Severe weather and hail events in field crops seem to be more prevalent over the past few years. In 2015 and 2016, The Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC) estimated crop-hail loss payments to Manitoba producers from all sources at $54.1 million and $77.7 million, respectively.
Published in Soybeans
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