Top Crop Manager

Top Crop Manager
CPB is still a huge problem

CPB is still a huge problem

Colorado potato beetle (CPB) has been a challenging pest for potato growers for more than a century.

Guelph researchers making plant propagation cheaper and quicker

Guelph researchers making plant propagation cheaper and quicker

Dr. Praveen Saxena and Dr. Max Jones of the Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation (GRIPP) are leading work in micro-propagation.

Dirt poor or soil rich?

Dirt poor or soil rich?

It’s no secret agricultural practices have changed over the years. Producers have moved away from livestock-based operations with perennial crops.

Hairy canola and flea beetles

Hairy canola and flea beetles

Flea beetles have been causing economic damage to cruciferous crops for decades.

New tools for winter wheat producers

New tools for winter wheat producers

Current winter wheat nitrogen (N) recommendations in Ontario are a little behind the times.

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

Alfalfa growing in a field. ARS scientists have developed an alfalfa seed coating that works against several soilborne plant pathogens. Organic seed coating for alfalfa helps prevent some soilborne diseases

July 28, 2015 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found that a natural seed coating can protect alfalfa against some soilborne diseases. Alfalfa is a $10 billion-a-year crop in the U.S., but producing it can be a challenge. Farmers in the Midwest often plant it early in the spring when the soil is cold and damp. That makes the seeds vulnerable to a number of soilborne diseases. To minimize the damage, most alfalfa seeds are coated with a fungicidal treatment. But the treatment, mefenoxam, is ineffective against the pathogen causing Aphanomyces root rot (ARR), which is common to Midwestern soils.Demand for organic alfalfa for organic dairy operations also is increasing, and alfalfa treated with a fungicide can't be labeled as organic. Many organic dairy farmers would like to expand but may face a roadblock due to a lack of available organic feed, according to Deborah Samac, a plant pathologist in the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Plant Science Research Unit in St. Paul, MN. Samac wanted to see if coating alfalfa seeds with a naturally occurring mineral would protect them from soil diseases, including ARR. The mineral, zeolite, comes from degraded volcanic rock, has antifungal activity, and qualifies as an organic soil treatment. Samac also wanted to assess zeolite's effects on the health of plant roots and beneficial soil microbes. She and her colleagues grew plants with three different seed treatments and inoculated them with the types of pathogens that attack alfalfa roots. The seed treatments included a control with no fungicide, mefenoxam-treated seeds, and commercially available zeolite-coated seeds designed for organic alfalfa production. The plants were removed after 21 days and rated for disease symptoms on a 1-to-5 scale. They also repeated the process in soils collected from 12 Minnesota alfalfa fields to assess the treatment's effectiveness in soil naturally infested with pathogens. The results showed that the mineral coating was as effective as mefenoxam in protecting seeds from most soil pathogens, but unlike mefenoxam, zeolite protected the seeds from ARR. It also did not inhibit production of healthy roots or beneficial microbes in the soil. The coated seeds need to be evaluated further, but the findings show they could prove useful in both conventional and organic alfalfa operations, Samac says. The results were published May 29, 2015, in the journal Plant Disease.

Agronomy

Alfalfa growing in a field. ARS scientists have developed an alfalfa seed coating that works against several soilborne plant pathogens. Organic seed coating for alfalfa helps prevent some soilborne diseases

July 28, 2015 - U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have found that a natural seed coating can protect alfalfa against some soilborne diseases. Alfalfa is a $10 billion-a-year crop in the U.S., but producing it can be a challenge. Farmers in the Midwest often plant it early in the spring when the soil is cold and damp. That makes the seeds vulnerable to a number of soilborne diseases. To minimize the damage, most alfalfa seeds are coated with a fungicidal treatment. But the treatment, mefenoxam, is ineffective against the pathogen causing Aphanomyces root rot (ARR), which is common to Midwestern soils.Demand for organic alfalfa for organic dairy operations also is increasing, and alfalfa treated with a fungicide can't be labeled as organic. Many organic dairy farmers would like to expand but may face a roadblock due to a lack of available organic feed, according to Deborah Samac, a plant pathologist in the Agricultural Research Service's (ARS) Plant Science Research Unit in St. Paul, MN. Samac wanted to see if coating alfalfa seeds with a naturally occurring mineral would protect them from soil diseases, including ARR. The mineral, zeolite, comes from degraded volcanic rock, has antifungal activity, and qualifies as an organic soil treatment. Samac also wanted to assess zeolite's effects on the health of plant roots and beneficial soil microbes. She and her colleagues grew plants with three different seed treatments and inoculated them with the types of pathogens that attack alfalfa roots. The seed treatments included a control with no fungicide, mefenoxam-treated seeds, and commercially available zeolite-coated seeds designed for organic alfalfa production. The plants were removed after 21 days and rated for disease symptoms on a 1-to-5 scale. They also repeated the process in soils collected from 12 Minnesota alfalfa fields to assess the treatment's effectiveness in soil naturally infested with pathogens. The results showed that the mineral coating was as effective as mefenoxam in protecting seeds from most soil pathogens, but unlike mefenoxam, zeolite protected the seeds from ARR. It also did not inhibit production of healthy roots or beneficial microbes in the soil. The coated seeds need to be evaluated further, but the findings show they could prove useful in both conventional and organic alfalfa operations, Samac says. The results were published May 29, 2015, in the journal Plant Disease.

Business & Policy

In his laboratory at Beltsville, Maryland, chemist Thomas Wang prepares to examine human THP-1 cells. New technique for mining health-conferring soy compounds

July 28, 2015 - A new procedure devised by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists to extract lunasin from soybean seeds could expedite further studies of this peptide for its cancer-fighting potential and other health benefits. In addition to inhibiting certain cancerous cells in laboratory tests, lunasin has demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity that may prove helpful in the battle against some chronic diseases. Unfortunately, obtaining sufficient amounts of lunasin has been a costly, time-consuming and laborious affair. This, in turn, has impeded lunasin’s investigation in large-scale animal and human clinical trials, according to Hari Krishnan, a molecular biologist with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Plant Genetics Research Unit in Columbia, MO. Now, however, Krishnan and ARS colleague Thomas Wang report their development of a fast new procedure for extracting lunasin in amounts suitable to conduct these trials. Using the new procedure, they produced 3.2 grams of a concentrated form of lunasin, along with two protease inhibitors, from 100 grams of soybean flour. The actual extraction is done with a 30 per cent solution of ethanol, followed by centrifuging steps and the addition of calcium chloride to further purify the concentrate, explains Krishnan. Wang leads the agency’s Diet, Genomics, and Immunology Laboratory in Beltsville, MD. The entire process takes less than 2 hours and yields far more lunasin and protease inhibitor concentrate than other methods that have been tried, including sophisticated chromatography procedures and live cultures of genetically modified yeast or bacteria. Besides being faster, the new method can also be easily scaled up to yield much larger amounts, Krishnan and Wang report in the January 2015 online version of Food Chemistry. Test-tube experiments conducted by Wang demonstrated the extract’s biological activity, inhibiting the production of inflammation-causing cytokines by human leukemia cells derived from a line called THP-1, which is commonly used in biomedical research. Their investigations coincide with increased scientific attention on the preventive role that consuming soy or soy products can play in reducing breast, colon and other cancers.

Machinery

Horsch SW750 Air Cart offers 750-bushel capacity Horsch SW750 Air Cart offers 750-bushel capacity

July 21, 2015 - The new SW750 air cart from Horsch LLC offers unmatched efficiency and versatility with its three-bin design and 750-bushel capacity. The SW750 comes standard with dual 710/70R38 tires, but can also be equipped with 36-inch tracks for higher flotation, decreased compaction and a lower horsepower requirement when compared with competing air carts. Customers also have the choice of a standard 10-inch auger or an optional 16-inch conveyor for faster, gentler loading of commodities. Other options on the SW750 include a 60-bushel small grain/inoculant tank, as well as scales with live weight readout for the three individual tanks. The air cart is compatible with ISOBUS or Raven Electronics. It does not require any additional monitors or cabling in the tractor, helping to simplify setup and operation.