Optimum crop production depends on inputs of commercial fertilizer, livestock manure, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides.
A new project to discover the most effective ways to spray fungicides into mature crop canopies is already generating some interesting preliminary results.
Giant ragweed is more common to warmer climates in the United States and a few places in southern Ontario and Quebec.
The dream of using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for precision agriculture took off faster than many developers could realistically keep up with, but researchers at the University of Guelph are hoping to close some critical technical gaps.
Soybean cyst nematode is coming to the Prairies.
Honey Bee AirFLEX...
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.
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitatio...
Expert Dr. Susan Watkins discusses Water Sanitation
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.
Herbicide resistant weeds are continuing to increase in number of species and area across Canada. Glyphosate resistant weeds (Group 9) are increasing their spread, as many growers rely on glyphosate for weed control in Roundup Ready soybean, corn and canola crops, and as a pre-seed or pre-harvest burndown. According to Peter Sikkema, a professor of field crop weed management at the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, in Ontario, glyphosate-resistant weeds are increasing both in terms the number of fields or counties infested and in the number of species resistant to glyphosate. “In December 2014, another glyphosate-resistant weed was added to the list, bringing the total of glyphosate-resistant weeds to four in Ontario and five in Canada,” he says. The main reason there are glyphosate-resistant weeds is over-reliance or exclusive reliance on glyphosate for weed control by some producers. For glyphosate resistance to develop, there must be resistant biotypes in the field and there must be selection pressure, which is almost directly correlated with how frequently glyphosate was applied. Therefore, it is important to implement weed management practices that limit the selection of additional glyphosate-resistant weeds. In 2008, giant ragweed (aAmbrosia trifida) was the first glyphosate-resistant weed confirmed in Ontario, followed by Canada fleabane (Conyza Canadensis) in 2010, common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) in 2011 and most recently, waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) in 2014. In Western Canada, glyphosate-resistant kochia (Kochia scoparia) was first confirmed in 2012. In the U.S., there are 14 species resistant to glyphosate and 31 species worldwide. The complexity of the problem in Ontario is exacerbated by the fact there are biotypes of all four species that have multiple resistance to both the Group 2 and Group 9 herbicides. “Farmers have told us by their purchasing decisions that they like the Roundup Ready technology and the corresponding use of glyphosate for weed control,” Sikkema says. “In 2014 in Ontario, 96 per cent of corn and 76 per cent of soybeans were seeded to Roundup Ready hybrids/cultivars. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to use this technology properly so that future farmers continue to realize those benefits.” One of the most important strategies for managing the problem is to have a diversified crop rotation, which would help reduce the reliance on glyphosate. “Try to add a non-Roundup Ready crop to your rotation, and consider adding crops like spring cereals, winter wheat, dry bean, forages or vegetable crops,” Sikkema says. “In those crops, glyphosate is obviously not used for in-crop weed control, although it might be used for a burndown. Also, consider including crops with alternative herbicide resistant traits such as Liberty Link, and in the near future, Enlist or Roundup Ready Xtend.” Within every crop in the rotation, consider using more than one mode of action on every acre every year. This will protect that technology for a longer period of time. If you are growing corn or soybean, using a two-pass weed control program is the best way to manage weeds in those crops. Sikkema explains a two-pass weed control system means applying a soil-applied residual herbicide in the spring, followed by a post-emergent in-crop herbicide. “Our data shows there are very good reasons to do this and the benefits are two-fold. In addition to reducing the selection intensity for glyphosate-resistant weeds, our research shows it also maximizes yield. The weed control and the net returns from a two-pass system are equivalent to a glyphosate only program,” he says. Although not applicable to every farm operation, another thing farmers should consider, especially in Ontario, is including tillage at strategic points in their crop rotation. This is especially applicable to those species that are winter annuals or ones that emerge really early in the spring. “One of the biggest problem glyphosate-resistant weeds in Ontario is Canada fleabane, which produces lots of seed – up to one million seeds per plant – that moves by wind and has an extended emergence pattern,” Sikkema says. “A timely tillage operation early in the spring is one practice that can help control emerged Canada fleabane. In contrast, for other glyphosate-resistant weeds like common ragweed or waterhemp, no matter how much tillage you do, it won’t help because they emerge after the last tillage operation is complete.” Sikkema recommends seeding early in narrow rows and at high populations to improve crop competitiveness. “Seeding at the optimal seeding date and rate, [seeding] in narrow rows, using a balanced proper fertility program, and timely insect and disease control helps the crop outcompete weeds,” he says. “Increased crop competition makes it more difficult for weeds to emerge and complete their life cycle.” Each individual farmer will have to tailor practices to their operation and determine which components will fit into their overall farming strategy. “The goal for all of us should be to protect and manage these technologies, and reduce the selection of herbicide-resistant weeds so these technologies continue to be of benefit to future farmers.”
Mar. 20, 2015 - Kansas State University scientists have released findings of a complex, two-year study of the genomic diversity of wheat that creates an important foundation for future improvements in wheat around the world. Their work has produced the first haplotype map of wheat that provides detailed description of genetic differences in a worldwide sample of wheat lines. In genetics, a haplotype map is a powerful tool for transferring sequence-level variation to multiple gene mapping projects. "All of these new, genomic-based strategies of breeding promise to significantly accelerate breeding cycles and shorten release time of future wheat varieties," said Eduard Akhunov, associate professor of plant pathology and the project's leader. Plant scientists often look at the genetic makeup of an organism to breed new varieties for specific, desirable traits, such as drought, pest or disease resistance. Akhunov said the haplotype map gives scientists quick access to rich, genetic variation data that increases the precision of mapping genes in the wheat genome, and improves scientists' ability to select the best lines in breeding trials. Akhunov's research associates, Katherine Jordan and Shichen Wang, are lead authors of the study, "A haplotype map of allohexaploid wheat reveals distinct patterns of selection on homoeologous genomes," which will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Genome Biology. The project was coordinated through the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium, and included groups in Canada, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. Much of the work took place in Kansas State University's Integrated Genomics Facility. The study included 62 wheat lines from around the world that were either modern cultivars or varieties not previously improved through formal breeding techniques, called landraces. To reduce the complexity of the wheat genome, the research team developed a tool called "exome capture assay" to perform targeted sequencing of only functional parts of the larger wheat genome. This technique bypasses those parts of the genome that are repetitive, according to Akhunov. The scientists found 1.6 million locations — called single nucleotide polymorphisms — in the genome where the wheat lines differed from one other. The research team used this information to describe the impact of these differences on the function of tens of thousands of wheat genes. "Once genes controlling agronomic traits are identified, they can be used for improving wheat using not only traditional breeding approaches, but also new strategies that are based on biotechnology and molecular biology," Akhunov said. "In the future, we will expand the set of wheat lines characterized using our sequencing strategy by including not only more genetically and geographically diverse wheat lines, but also by including close and distant relatives of wheat," he said. "These wheat relatives are known for being a reservoir of valuable genes for agriculture that can improve abiotic and biotic stress tolerance or other quality traits, and increase yield." Akhunov said that genomics-based approaches are now being introduced into every wheat breeding program worldwide. "I am sure that we will see the impact of diversity resources developed at Kansas State University on wheat breeding within three to five years," he said. In addition to Jordan and Wang, the Kansas State University research team included Alina Akhunova and Yanni Lun, who coordinated work in the Integrated Genomics Facility; and plant pathology faculty member Christopher Toomajian. "This study would be impossible without the computational and genomic infrastructure developed by K-State Research and Extension, the College of Agriculture and Kansas State University over the last five to seven years," Akhunov said. Funding for the study was provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the National Research Initiative.