Latest Industry News

Herbicide & Cover Crop Strategies for Managing Glyphosate-Resistant Fleabane

Weed herbicide resistance is one of the most serious management  issues ratedfby growers, agronomists and researchers . In Eastern Canada at the top of that list is glyphosate-resistant fleabane (GRFB). First identified in southern Ontario in 2010, GRFB has spread like wildfire across Ontario and is now identified in other areas including Quebec. Fleabane seeds are small, airborne, and stick to clothing, equipment, animals. A single mature plant can produce up to 250,000 seeds/plant. Most fleabane biotypes are glyphosate-resistant, but other biotype herbicide resistance to group 2, 2 & 9, and 22 exist.Good control options exist in corn and wheat, but is problematic in soybeans.
Ont Diagostic Day presentation:
Research report-  Dr Peter Sikkema, RCAT :

A Mennonite neighbour of mine operates a small engine business. He services a lot of small engines from different equipment, and he commented recently that the most common issues he sees in problems with the motor could have been avoided by regular service according to the owner’s manual. The Honda gas engine on the Wintex is a commercial quality motor that can provide many years of reliable, trouble-free service. Refer to your owners manual for scheduled maintenance including these items

  • Changing the engine oil at first 20 hrs and then every 6 mths or 100 hrs
  • Air filter service/replace
  • Clean sediment cup
  • Spark plug replace yearly or 300 hours
  • Drain fuel or use a fuel stabilizer. Check if the fuel tank is clean
  • Service fuel filter
  • The Start recoil is in good condition & operates smoothly

Contact if you need a copy of the Honda owners manual

Manitoba Agriculture has developed a simple Phosphorus (P) spreadsheet calculator that allows users to input yield information and applied P during a rotation. A P balance is determined based on crop removal values, to show if soil P is being built, maintained or depleted. Phosphorus from manure applied during a rotation allows users to balance P over cropping cycle.

Phospohorus Balance Calculator (XLS)

Declining soil test phosphorus in the praries has increased interest in pushing P rates higher, following a 4R approach. Where high rates of P are required, side-banding of most or all of fertilizer P should be side-banded. Seed placed P did not provide a better canola crop response even at low rates compared to side-banded. More

How Plants Harvest Nutrients from Microbes

“plants are farming the soil microbial community”

plants are farming the soil microbial community”

It is not likely to be on the list of one of key benefits a grower would identify when talking about improving soil health. Howevver improving emergence, early root and crop growth and nutrient uptake are some of the benefits from Rhizophagy. Rhizophagy, is an important path in nutrient cycling and root developement. Rhizophagy is the cultivation by plant roots of microbes that live in root hairs & the surrounding soils to obtain nutrients. Growers are familiar with other better-known plant-microbe symbiotic relationships include legume-rhizobia symbiosis and mycorrhiza that live on root hairs.  The explosion in commercial biologicals in the market place including those applied to seed or during planting hold great promixse for promoting healthy crop-microbial rhizophagy. For a deeper understanding of the important role of rhizophagy [...]

The Power of Soil Testing

Today’s high crop yields are demanding more from our soils than ever before. Modern genetics and improved crop management through practices like 4R are driving better nutrient use efficiency and returns. However, with big yields comes bigger crop removals, and basing 2021 crop needs on historical averages may not be enough. Soil test surveys in Eastern Canada have shown soil test P & K levels have moved declined particularly for potash. ( Soil test surveys in Western Canada reveal significant declines in soil test P levels in many areas

The impact high yields have on succeeding crops will depend on the current state of soil test values, and the variability in test values across a field.  High field averages don’t reveal problem areas with an imbalance or below critical level; limiting yield. Felix Weber, Ag Business & Crop, puts it this way “Fertilizing without consistent soil testing is like driving [...]

Organic Crop Rotations require Long term Fertility Plans

Organic cropping systems are designed with the goal of maintaining nutrients in organic matter reservoirs and in bioavailable forms over the cropping cycle through a holistic approach. Organic growers starting out or newer agronomic advisors can gain a better understanding of fertility planning and understanding of how crop rotation effects soil fertility in this SARE article:
In planning organic crop fertility, in addition to looking at removal and input each season and over the crop cycle, it is necessary to know what the soil reserves are, to create a fertility plan to feed, build ,maintain, monitor the soil  nutrient status.

Practical Measures of Soil Health, How Can Crop Advisors Use the Data?


Soil health is the foundation of any farm. Physical, biological and chemical soil properties all interact in influencing soil health, so measuring soil health is never related to a single measure. There’s a rapidly growing list of tests that many soil test labs now offer.  However, the question remains, which test(s) do you need, and how to use the results. A recent webinar Practical Measures of Soil Health, sponsored by Walton Family foundation presented current understanding of available measures and the complexities of measuring soil health. Several key points in the webinar

  • Microbial species are strongly influenced by physical, biological and chemical properties. The same soil in neighboring fields can have vastly different microbial communities.
  • Respiration from measures like Haney or Cornell test are direct measure of microbial activity, and are related to soil organic carbon [...]
Higher Yields Driving Nutrient Removal Budgets Since 1990, canola yields have increased by 1.38 bu./ac./yr., corn yields by 1.8 bu./ac/yr. and soybeans by more than 0.45 bu./ac./yr. Producers in southern Alberta are reporting their highest canola average yields, as are Ontario soybean growers. Agronomists and the International Plant Institute (IPNI) have warned about seeing a steady decline in soil test nutrients, including phosphorus (P), potassium (K) and sulphur. A number of media articles recently have centered around whether farmers are adjusting their fertility plans to current realities of crop removal and declining soil test levels. The Farmtario article 'High Yields Lead to greater Nutrient Removal’ makes a key point that in years of high yields, adjusting fertilizing plans to the 5-year average may not be enough. ( ).  Our view is that growers can be surprised by the high removal rates associated with big yields

Promoting Your Precision Sampling Services

Quality crop fertility recommendations start in the field with collecting quality soil samples. Getting customers to value your precision soil sampling service can be a challenge in a world when ‘quick and cheap’ drives ‘value’. Crop input manufacturers educate & demonstrate the value of a new technology through field trials.  The same approach can be taken with precision soil sampling by conducting a soil sampling field trial/research project to demonstrate the value of accurate, precision soil sampling.  The project could serve to as good topic for summer field days, winter meetings and in training students/staff.
Project ideas:

  • Effect of soil consistent sampling depth: Comparing samples of standard soil depth 0-6” to 0-5”, 0-8”, etc. Our experience has shown how even a 1-inch difference can affect results
  • Value of Site-specific sampling: Sample in a specific area (per sample) you can go [...]
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