Crops: The Lynch File

How deep should you plow?

Opinions differed at this year’s Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. Most thought the plowing was too deep while some felt the plowing was too shallow. Plowing is an art


There was a lot to learn again at this year’s Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show equipment demonstrations. This year, it was plowing – not the art of plowing but demonstrating plows.

But it is hard to separate the plow from the plower and hard to separate plowing from plows.

I asked various equipment manufacturers why they were plowing so deep and they said they felt that was what farmers wanted. I said no, they want to plow shallow. They asked me how shallow do they want to plow and I said, “Six inches maximum and four inches would be better.”

Getting the most from organic matter

Managing organic matter with tillage is an art. As conditions and factors change, you have to change how you practice this art


If you really understand organic matter and how it affects soil and yields, you will grow better crops. This article is written from the experiences I have gained by watching producers and imagining what is occurring in the soil.

An acre of average soil has about 1,000 tons in the top six inches. This “acre slice” weighs more for heavy soils and less for lighter soils. A heavy clay loam can have four per cent organic matter, which is 80,000 pounds per acre. A high-yielding silt loam may only have 3.25 per cent organic matter. It may only have 68 to 70 tons per acre of organic matter.

Oats: the unsung crop of summer seedings

Once portrayed as the last of the cultivated weeds, oats are making a comeback. But other crops, such as alfalfa and annual rye grass can also help you produce forage or build soil structure


If you want to reduce erosion, build soil structure and organic matter or produce forage for feed, consider summer seedings.

There is a long, extensive list of various crops which can do this, so I will concentrate on the main ones. These are oats, alfalfa and miscellaneous ones such as peas, tillage radish and rye grass.

Causes and remedies for herbicide resistance

Scouting and keeping good weed records are just one of the ways to manage weed resistance in your fields


There are at least four known ways that weeds develop resistance to glyphosate. They do it by mutations where genes mutate to deal with glyphosate. One of these methods is called exclusion. In this system, the glyphosate is controlled in the vacuole of the cell plant and not allowed to translocate through the rest of the plant.

This system is temperature related. It is the system found in glyphosate-resistant Canada Fleabane. Interesting that in the United States, when this fleabane is sprayed at temperatures above 23 C, it escapes. When sprayed with glyphosate at temperatures below 8 C, it is controlled.

Getting to the next plateau of disease control in crops

Ontario corn and soybean growers could get another $40 million in profit in 2012 if they use a fungicide on their crops


You try to protect your family from diseases. You protect livestock from disease. You know disease prevention in crops is good business. The same is true for diseases in livestock. But disease control in crops is not practiced very well – with the exception of winter wheat.

Shortages make forage a good cash crop

With fewer acres seeded to forage in the last couple of years, there is good money to be made here. But make sure you get paid in cash


In the last two years, a lot of forage acres were plowed down to grow corn and soys. This occurred both in Canada and the United States, where drought in some parts further reduced forage supply. As well, last year fewer acres were seeded to forage than was normal, with the result that we are heading for a forage shortage.