Crops

Crops: Urban compost shows promising results for crop yields

The material from the Orgaworld plant in London has twice the organic material of mushroom compost, but the downside is that the salt content is high

by MIKE MULHERN

Some London area farmers are turning to composted kitchen and yard waste to replace organic matter in their fields.

Dorchester area farmer John Killins and his partner Travis Woolings distribute composted material produced at the London-based Orgaworld plant and they also use it on their fields.

Crops: It pays to use soybean seed treatments for early-season aphid protection

Using an insecticide seed treatment like CruiserMaxx Beans can bring a payback of more than one to 1.5 bushels an acre. In stressful years, it could be a lifesaver

by SCOTT FIFE

After more than 105 trials in the last five years, we’re convinced that using an insecticide seed treatment, like CruiserMaxx Beans, in soybeans pays off. And, in a particularly tough weather year with heavy aphid pressure, seed treatments could turn into an early-season lifesaver.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION Solved – 24: Why has Stan’s wheat stalled?

by BERNARD TOBIN

Stan’s wheat field failed to meet his expectations because he didn't clean out the sprayer tank after applying his weed control.

While the tank only contained 90 to 115 litres (20 to 25 gallons) of the Pardner/MCPA 500/Tilt herbicide and fungicide application, this leftover spray packed enough wallop to injure Stan’s wheat and reduce yields by 50 to 75 per cent.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 25: The case of the 20-foot header

by BERNARD TOBIN

For Keith Reid, soil fertility specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, a soil fertility test is as powerful a diagnostic tool as an X-ray. But a fertility test often only confirms a diagnosis that Reid has reached after contemplating every field fact – from damage patterns to field history and even the width of a combine header.

This was the case when Reid arrived at a Bruce County soybean field in mid-July after a grower named Allan called seeking some advice.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION 23 SOLVED: Why did Arthur’s soybeans get ‘the streaks?’

by BERNARD TOBIN

The streaks in Arthur’s soybean field were caused by the high levels of straw in the manure that he applied randomly on the field before planting soybeans.

Generally, manure makes a positive contribution to a soybean crop. But the excessive levels of straw in Arthur's manure, and the heavy rate of application, caused a high carbon (C) to nitrogen (N) ratio, which actually starved the soybean plants of N.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 24: Why has Stan’s wheat stalled?

by BERNARD TOBIN

During the winter months, crop consultants such as certified crop advisor Mervyn Erb spend much of their time sharing the latest crop management insights with growers in preparation for the coming season.

“It’s great when growers come to a presentation, listen to your advice and act on it,” says Erb. But even the best advice can fall flat if growers are not careful and stray from best practices.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION - 23: Why did Arthur’s soybeans get ‘the streaks?’

by BERNARD TOBIN

In spring, when growers see nice, even emergence across a soybean field, there’s an immediate sense of relief. But when random streaks of discoloured plants appear throughout the field, that feeling of satisfaction turns to dread as thoughts of vanishing yield overpower spring optimism.

That’s what Pioneer Hi-Bred agronomist Scott Fife encountered when he received a mid-June call from a grower seeking his advice.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 22: What’s the culprit in Bill’s sprayer tank?

by BERNARD TOBIN

Herbicides are great tools for growers to use in defending crops against yield-robbing weeds. But when crop injury occurs after spraying, the herbicide and seed technology is often at the top of the suspect list.

In some cases, however, the evidence just doesn’t add up and that’s when Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs’ Weed Management Lead, Mike Cowbrough, gets a call.

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