Weeds
Early weed control has many benefits as weeds compete with crops for nutrients, water, and light. “Research on weeds germinating before the crop emerges as compared to crop emerging before the weeds shows a very significant drop in yield loss when the crop emerges prior to the weeds,” says Harry Brook, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “A pre-seed burn-off with a herbicide or final cultivation should be as close to the seeding activity as possible to prevent weeds getting the jump on the crop.”

All crops have a critical weed control period, which is the time when the crop is susceptible to significant yield loss from weed competition. The critical weed control period for canola is around 17 to 38 days after emergence. Peas can be as early as two weeks after emergence. “Other, more competitive crops, like the cereals, have a less defined critical period,” Brook says. “Corn’s critical period depends more on nitrogen availability than anything else. If you can keep the weed pressure down until the critical period is passed, you minimize yield losses from weed competition.”

Field scouting is essential to giving an edge battling weeds, notes Brook. “Field scouting tells you what weeds are present and their density. Once a field has been scouted and a weed problem identified, the degree of threat needs to be assessed. An example of an early, non- yield threatening weed is whitlow grass. It’s a very slow growing, small plant that bolts and goes to seed, usually before seeding. It’s not a direct threat to the crop. However, if other weedy plants are also present in sufficient numbers and are a threat to yield, you can choose an appropriate control measure.”

Winter annual weeds like stinkweed, narrow-leaved hawk’s-beard, shepherd’s purse, scentless chamomile, and many others can start growing in the fall. They overwinter as a small rosette but are then quickly able to go to seed once spring arrives. “Control of them in the spring requires very early action. You need to know the weeds present to choose the best control method. Crop volunteers from previous years are also an increasingly problematic weed obstacle. Volunteer canola is one of our top weed control issues every year. These and other problem weeds will require additional products when applying a spring burn-off with glyphosate.”

To get the best result from any early herbicide application, Brook says the herbicide must be applied when the weeds are actively growing. “Under cool or cold conditions you can expect poor results from the spray as the target weeds are either dormant or growing too slowly. They cannot absorb and translocate enough active ingredient to kill them. Weeds also have to be large enough to absorb enough herbicide to be killed, yet not too large to have already affect crop yield from competition. Low spray volumes and coarse sprays can lead to insufficient herbicide landing on the plants. Best temperatures for application should ideally be above 12 to 15 C, when the plants are actively photosynthesizing. If it was frosty in the morning, waiting until a warm afternoon will improve efficacy.”

Another tool in the weed control toolbox is the competitive nature of the crop itself. “Highly competitive crops can reduce the effects of weeds on yield. Once a crop canopy has covered the soil, sunlight no longer can penetrate to the ground and weeds stop germinating,” adds Brook. “Heavier seeding rates can also squeeze out weeds. Hybrid canola and barley are our two most competitive crops. You still have to choose a competitive variety. Semi-dwarf barleys are less competitive than regular barleys. Heavier seeding rates always increase the crop’s competitive nature against weeds. Thin crops allow light to hit the ground, stimulating more weed growth.”

For more information, contact the Alberta Ag-Info Centre at 310-FARM (3276).
Published in Weeds
In Canada, the Global Institute for Food Security (GIFS) at the University of Saskatchewan conducts research into transformative innovations in agriculture in both the developed and the developing world.
Published in Plant Breeding
In Western Canada, wild oat continues to be one of the most problematic weeds. As part of an integrated weed management strategy, researchers continue to look for additional options and different lifecycle timings to reduce populations, frequencies and herbicide resistant populations.
Published in Weeds
Weed control is one of the main challenges for flax growers, and is even more challenging under organic production systems. Because flax is a poor competitor with weeds, yield losses can be significant when weeds are present. Cultural and mechanical control options can be effective techniques for weed suppression and control in flax.
Published in Weeds
Grows more than two inches per day. Produces over one million seeds per plant. Grows 10 feet tall. Resistant to at least four different herbicide groups in the U.S. No wonder 200 American weed scientists in 2017 ranked Palmer amaranth the most troublesome weed in broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables.
Published in Weeds
Last April, Real Agriculture agronomist Peter Johnson tweeted a photo of winter wheat seedlings surrounded by a tangle of chickweed. “Chickweed in wheat needs to be controlled in fall! Shepherds purse, stinkweed same. Too much spring competition!” he wrote.
Published in Weeds
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC)’s 2016 herbicide resistant weed survey in Manitoba highlighted increased resistance in grass weeds versus broad-leaf weeds in the province, according to AAFC resistance specialist Hugh Beckie.
Published in Weeds
From Ontario’s Essex County to Glengarry County (located 800 kilometres away), glyphosate resistant (GR) Canada fleabane is wreaking havoc on valuable crop fields. The most economically significant GR weed, GR fleabane is both challenging and expensive to manage.
Published in Weeds
From humble beginnings, soybean acreage hit 2.3 million seeded acres in Manitoba in 2017. Can those acres be sustained? The answer lies with managing glyphosate resistance.
Published in Soybeans
After 44 years, you would think something would change. But in the latest Prairie Weed Survey report, green foxtail, wild buckwheat and wild oats still come out on top as the three most troublesome weeds, measured as relative abundance.  
Published in Weeds
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
A seed treatment is a vital and effective product, so long as it stays on the seeds where it can do its work. When it is released into the surrounding environment, however, it can cause significant political and environmental concern.
Published in Seed Treatment
Weed management is always an important topic to producers. Weeds evolve and change year to year: What plagued fields last year may be completely di erent from what growers will see in their fields this year. Decisions on what to spray can become overwhelming. That’s why we’ve continued to make updates to our Weed Control Guide for 2018. We’ve laid out the products available to you (at the time of publication) in alphabetical order, followed by tank-mix partners.
According to Peter Sikkema, professor of field crop weed management at University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus, glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane was first found in eight fields in Ontario’s Essex County in 2010.
Published in Weeds
With the introduction of Monsanto’s glyphosate- and dicamba-resistant soybean into the Canadian market in 2017, producers may be wondering if there is any benefit to tank-mixing the two herbicides for weed control.
Published in Herbicides
Weed management – a top priority for producers – seems to become more complex year after year. At times, the decisions may seem overwhelming: which products should be applied when and in what combinations? To aid you in your decision-making, Top Crop Manager is pleased to bring you our annual Weed Control Guide for corn, soybeans and cereals.
Dr. Peter Sikkema and Dr. Darren Robinson, weed scientists at the University of Guelph, will be hosting an intensive course on herbicide activity (mode-of-action, selectivity, efficacy, crop injury) and weed identification in London, Ont., this coming fall. 
Published in Weeds
Weed control in corn and soybeans will only get more complicated and costly.

That was a key message by long-time Iowa State University weed scientist Mike Owen in his 2018 weed management update presentation at the Integrated Crop Management Conference in November. He noted the management practices used by many farmers are leading to more resistance to herbicides, and he doesn’t foresee an end to that anytime soon. For the full story, CLICK HERE


Join Top Crop Manager Feb. 27 and 28 in Saskatoon, Sask., for the 2018 Herbicide Resistance Summit - Register now!
Published in Herbicides
The Government of Canada is investing in science and innovation to help meet increasing global food demand, grow exports for Canadian farmers and producers, and create good paying jobs that help grow Canada's middle-class.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Minister, Lawrence MacAulay, joined newly hired researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Harrington Research Farm to announce the completion of a $6.8-million upgrade of the world-class facility.
The Government of Canada is commitment to discovery science and innovation, and to reaching its goal of growing agri-food exports to $75 billion by 2025.

The upgrades included $2.97 million for 10 new and renovated laboratories and the purchase of a $1.3-million nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the Charlottetown Research and Development Centre, and $2.54 million for an expansion of the Harrington Research Farm greenhouse. The spectrometer allows scientists to study farm soil at the molecular level, which will help farmers improve the soil health and productivity of their land.

Three of the five scientists hired by the research centre over the past 18 months occupy new positions that expand the facility's areas of research. The five specialists are a microbial ecologist, an agro-ecosystem modeler and data scientist, a weed specialist, an environmental chemist and a cereals and oilseeds biologist.

"Having farmed on PEI and travelled around the world as Canada's Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, I see how science and innovation opens markets and creates new opportunities for our farmers and ranchers. This government is committed to innovation through world-class science and to helping farmers have access to the most current tools and knowledge to continue to grow the best food in the world," said MacAulay.
Published in Corporate News
Vast amounts of data are being collected on Canada's farms through the advent of precision agriculture technology and the Internet of Things (IOT).

Many types of tools, equipment and devices gather data on everything from crop yields to how many steps an animal takes in a day. However, much of that data is underutilized because it's collected by systems that don't or can't communicate with each other.

The need for better decision-making on farms through better data use resulted in Ontario Precision Agri-Food (OPAF), a partnership of agricultural organizations led by Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT) that's developing an open agri-food innovation platform to connect and share data.

The goal, according to lead director Dr. Karen Hand of Precision Strategic Solutions, is getting data, wherever it exists (both data repositories in industry or government and data generated by countless sensors) so it can be used to help advance important food production issues like food safety, traceability and plant and animal disease surveillance.

For example, information about the prevalence and control of insect pests like cutworms that damage soybean crops lies with many different people and organizations, including university and government researchers, crop advisors, input suppliers and farmers.

"There is no single spot where all of the information about a particular pest can be accessed in a robust, science-based system and used in decision-making and that's where OPAF's platform will help," Hand says.

Pilot projects are underway with Ontario's grain, dairy and poultry producers to identify their needs in areas like crop protection, sustainability and food safety and how OPAF can provide data-driven solutions to benefit farmers.

"We sit down with farmers, advisors, associations, government and researchers to find out what data they have, where they exist and if we were able to connect them, what value or benefit that would offer participants - either specific to the commodity they are producing or on larger food-related issues such as food safety or impact on trade," she explains.

And OPAF's efforts are gaining global recognition. Earlier this year, Internet of Food and Farm 2020, a large project in the European Union exploring the potential of IOT technologies of European food and farming, recognized OPAF as one of three global projects to collaborate with.

"This is going to be changing the face of data enablement in Canada and contributing globally," says Tyler Whale of Ontario Agri-Food Technologies (OAFT). "We are creating a platform that is the base of something new, and although we are piloting this in Ontario, it will be available nationwide to those who want to use it."

OPAF partners include OAFT, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, Niagara College, Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, Livestock Research Innovation Corporation, Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Grain Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Farm Credit Canada, Ontario Agri-Business Association, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, and Golden Horseshoe Farm and Food Alliance.

This project was funded by Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists with GF2 delivery in Ontario.
Published in Precision Ag
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