Crops

Ridgetown’s biodiesel plant shows the way

Launched last spring, the plant has a capacity of 800,000-1,000,000 litres and is intended to serve as a model for interested producers

by MIKE MULHERN

Art Schaafsma has real tractor-seat experience when it comes to biodiesel.
Schaafsma, a professor in the department of plant agriculture and director of the Ridgetown Campus of the University of Guelph, burned 100 per cent biodiesel on his farm last summer, using product produced at the college’s Centre for Agricultural Renewable Energy and Sustainability.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 29: The curious case of row unit number eight – Solved

by BERNARD TOBIN


One in every 12 rows of Bill’s corn was stunted because the plants in these rows were suffering from
fertilizer burn.

Bill had done a good job of maintaining the disc openers and tubes on his 12-row planter. However, the bushings on the parallel linkage of the eighth row unit were worn out. This allowed the unit to move a couple 
of inches from side to side, explains Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 30: What’s clipping Wilson’s wheat?


by BERNARD TOBIN

Tracey Baute, an entomologist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, knows her insects. But it’s hard to put your finger on a problem pest if you can’t find it.

That happened this summer when Baute got a call from Wilson, who farms near Rodney in Elgin County. He wanted her to identify the culprit that was clipping the heads off plants in his winter wheat field.

Before setting foot in the field, Baute had pegged the likely pest. All she had to do was get a visual identification to confirm her suspicions.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 28 SOLVED: The curious case of Quinn’s corn

by BERNARD TOBIN

The variation in emergence in Quinn’s corn was caused by worn double disc openers on his corn planter, which created a W-shaped seed trench rather than a V-shaped one. This produced great variation in seed depth which led to the uneven emergence in the later-planted fields.

Dekalb agronomist Sean Cochrane explains that when he inspected Quinn’s planter, he used his tape measure to determine that the discs had considerable wear and were one to 1.5 inches smaller than the recommended diameter for discs suitable for the planter.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 29: The curious case of row unit number eight

by BERNARD TOBIN

In late June, when Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife walked across Bill’s 20-acre corn field in Dundas County, one in every 12 rows was significantly stunted. While all the corn had reached the eight-leaf stage, the stunted rows were much shorter and yellow in colour – very different from 
the dark green, healthy-looking plants in the other rows.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 27: What happened to Larry’s wheat? – Solved


by BERNARD TOBIN


The poor-performing wheat in Larry’s field suffered from nutrient deficiency after he mistakenly adjusted the fertilizer rate rather than the seeding rate.

Agronomist Paul Sullivan explains that Larry had intended to increase the seeding rate on his drill as he finished up planting, but in his haste he somehow managed to change the fertilizer setting, reducing the flow of in-furrow starter fertilizer.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 28: 
The curious case of Quinn’s corn

Why did the emergence get progressively worse as he moved 
from the first field planted to the later ones?

by BERNARD TOBIN

In spring 2009, many growers struggled to get their corn planted in rainy, wet conditions. In early June, after the crop was finally planted, Dekalb field agronomist Sean Cochrane got a call from Quinn, a Hastings County grower, asking if Cochrane could help him make sense of the erratic emergence that he had observed in his fields.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 27: What happened to Larry’s wheat?


by BERNARD TOBIN

Agronomist and certified crop advisor Paul Sullivan spends a lot of time walking fields. In late June, you can find him out in wheat fields trying to determine the best application timing for fungicides. He knows what he’s looking for – a field that has even heading with 75 per cent of the heads on the main stem fully emerged.

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