Top Crop Manager

Top Crop Manager
Long-term tillage and crop rotation

Long-term tillage and crop rotation

Using winter wheat in crop rotations has long been known to benefit soil quality and crop production.

Tuning into radio-frequency heating

Tuning into radio-frequency heating

Radio-frequency (RF) heating has the potential to be a rapid, non-toxic, efficient and safe method to disinfest various food and agricultural products.

Minimizing “yield drag” in no-till

Minimizing “yield drag” in no-till

Despite the many advantages of no-till, some soybean growers are considering whether the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

Outstanding Young Farmers for Canada named

Outstanding Young Farmers for Canada named

Manitoba and PEI farmers take top spots as 2014 Outstanding Young Farmers for Canada

Sulphur strategies

Sulphur strategies

Whether or not to apply sulphur on a field has been a topic of hot debate in recent years in Ontario – when to add it, how much, in what regions and on what crops are all factors for consideration.

video
Honey Bee AirFLEX...
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North American Manure Expo comes to Canada...
For the first time ever, the North American Manure Expo is being hosted within a Canadian province. The annual show is being held August 20 and 21, 2013, at the University of Guelph’s Arkell Research Station, located near Guelph, Ontario. So, what's a Manure Expo and why should you attend? This video will provide all the dirt.
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Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitatio...
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitation
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The population explosion...
With the world's population increasing exponentially and farmland staying the same, BASF took to the streets to ask consumers if this trend is sustainable.

Seed/Chemical

Research has found that when a soybean plant  detects weeds, it undergoes significant and rapid physiological changes, which may affect crop yield. The surprising secret of weed competition

December 2, 2014 - Knowledge about weed competition has been understood for decades and science has explained the optimum time to control weeds to prevent crop losses. But, why are weeds so much stronger? In most crops it appears the weeds will always claim the upper hand – so scientists at the University of Guelph began to wonder why. For example, what is it about a weed plant, any weed plant, that makes it seem stronger than soybeans? There is now proof that, in fact, in a simplistic sense, the weed is “communicating” with the soybean plant. Dr. Clarence Swanton and M.Sc. candidate Jessica Gal undertook research to understand the mechanisms of plant competition. They learned why, if during the critical period for weed removal, weeds are not controlled, the soybean plant will cede the ground and will, figuratively, leave the field. “We saw the physiology of the soybean plant change in the seedling stage of the growing period when weeds were present,” says Gal. “We wondered how the plant could detect the presence of weeds. What we learned is the plant can detect the weed through changes in light quality. When the soybean plant detects the weeds, it undergoes significant and rapid physiological changes, which may affect the yield.” Swanton explains the research focused on the red to far-red ratio in the light spectrum that is reflected off the soybean leaf surfaces. When the soybean plant detects there is another plant reflecting red light back to it, it senses the competition and begins to prepare itself for survival by trying to “out-compete” the weed by becoming taller and thinner. Of course, as the soybean plant changes to survive, seed production may be affected and, ultimately, yield. “This work suggests this is less about plant competition and more about detecting or sensing a change in the environment,” says Swanton. “The soybean is changing to improve its own fitness and, as it does this, yield may be reduced.” Gal did most of the work on this project in a growth chamber in order to control the environment of plant development, and to ensure all growing needs were met equally. Her work focuses specifically on the light reflection theory as all the plants, whether weed or soybean, were not competing for nutrition, water or the amount of light. “We looked at the stages of plant development from emergence to the second trifoliate stage of growth,” Gal explains. “We began to see an increase in the soybean shoot height so the plant could out-compete the weed and we saw this competition continue through to the cotyledon stage. We also looked at the roots and saw a decrease in the root length as early as the second trifoliate stage. In addition, the root surface was reduced. Just by detecting the presence of the weed, there was a significant change in the physiology of the soybean plant, which is something that we can’t see when standing in the field.” The reflected light from the far-red spectrum is causing a delay in the development of the root system, which will ultimately affect the plant’s ability to produce yield. It is specifically an issue with the reflected light in the red spectrum range that is causing the plant to change. Gal found that even when additional light was introduced the soybean plant still changed because of what would have been a comparable increase in red spectrum light reflected off the weed. “This research reinforces the importance of early weed control,” notes Swanton. “Start with a weed-free field and keep it clean. We have just proven the rationale behind this advice. This study shows that any change in the root structure of the soybean plant may affect yield.” The next step in the research was to determine how weed competition affected nodulation. Since nodules are not viable until the unifoliate stage, the presence of above-ground weeds was found to reduce the development of nodules. “If your soy plant is not fixing nitrogen plant protein will be reduced and this all ties in to yield,” says Swanton. As Gal explains: “We see the gene that promotes early nodulation is reduced in plants faced with competition. So, the above-ground weed signals the soybean to suppress the gene required for nodulation.” If the information on how root development is affected by weeds causing yield reduction is not enough, the results of Gal’s research showing how weed competition can also trigger reduced nodulation should provide the incentive to ensure early and effective weed control. The researchers also attempted to measure the plant’s response to stress. They found the plants had increased levels of hydrogen peroxide, a compound that plants produce when they are under stress. The result, not surprisingly, was even more soybean plant damage. What the researchers learned is difficult to quantify in a field situation because the variables cannot be controlled. But, they are convinced the principles they have uncovered are true. In the end, it may not matter as much how the plant gets stressed and how it reacts to that stress. Instead, the understanding of how that stress is caused and how it gets triggered in the plant proves why delaying weed control in soybeans could be a critical factor in the eventual yield. By reducing the chance for the plant to experience stress by controlling weeds, it will have no need to increase its response to stress and, instead, will concentrate on creating seed to ensure its survival.

Business & Policy

Trimble's PurePixel solution available in Canada Trimble's PurePixel solution available in Canada

Dec. 17, 2014 - Trimble's PurePixel Precision Vegetation Health solution is now available in Canada and Europe. Also, Trimble now provides PurePixel data for download using the common shapefile format, and it has added a chlorophyll index map - an improved technology for assessing raw image suitability that enables agronomists to eliminate poor quality images when assessing plant health. PurePixel maps are an agronomic tool available through Trimble's Connected Farm solution that provides farmers and crop advisors with an assessment of a field's crop health or maturity level based on calibrated vegetation indices. The PurePixel Chlorophyll Index map separates the different vegetation index contributors, enabling detection of chlorophyll information independent of other vegetative factors. This gives users the ability to assess crop variability and differences in maturity within and between fields. This information can lead to better harvest decisions and maximized profits by enabling the user to see which fields are most ready for harvest and which are not. For grain crops, this can minimize drying and storing costs because fields are not harvested too early. In addition, it can also help growers with harvest logistics since they know which fields are ready for harvesting. PurePixel maps can also be downloaded in the common shapefile format, enabling users to access the PurePixel data in applications outside of Connected Farm, such as Farm Works Software or an alternative farm management software application. The PurePixel solution can be purchased using the Connected Farm Web site at: https://field.connectedfarm.com or through a local Trimble reseller. For more information on PurePixel, visit: www.trimble.com/agriculture/purepixel.  

Machinery

Trimble's PurePixel solution available in Canada Trimble's PurePixel solution available in Canada

Dec. 17, 2014 - Trimble's PurePixel Precision Vegetation Health solution is now available in Canada and Europe. Also, Trimble now provides PurePixel data for download using the common shapefile format, and it has added a chlorophyll index map - an improved technology for assessing raw image suitability that enables agronomists to eliminate poor quality images when assessing plant health. PurePixel maps are an agronomic tool available through Trimble's Connected Farm solution that provides farmers and crop advisors with an assessment of a field's crop health or maturity level based on calibrated vegetation indices. The PurePixel Chlorophyll Index map separates the different vegetation index contributors, enabling detection of chlorophyll information independent of other vegetative factors. This gives users the ability to assess crop variability and differences in maturity within and between fields. This information can lead to better harvest decisions and maximized profits by enabling the user to see which fields are most ready for harvest and which are not. For grain crops, this can minimize drying and storing costs because fields are not harvested too early. In addition, it can also help growers with harvest logistics since they know which fields are ready for harvesting. PurePixel maps can also be downloaded in the common shapefile format, enabling users to access the PurePixel data in applications outside of Connected Farm, such as Farm Works Software or an alternative farm management software application. The PurePixel solution can be purchased using the Connected Farm Web site at: https://field.connectedfarm.com or through a local Trimble reseller. For more information on PurePixel, visit: www.trimble.com/agriculture/purepixel.