Crops: The Lynch File

Why you should broadcast red clover on your winter wheat

Red clover plow down is a cheap source of nitrogen. Order some seed now.


High commodity prices, fertilizer shortages world-wide and dealers in Ontario buying product as they sell it are leading to increases in fertilizer prices for the 2011 crop. They will not be as great as the increases a few years ago, but expect to pay more for fertilizer in 2011 than you did in 2010.

If you are interested in getting a good buy on nitrogen, I can tell you where it can be found. It is sort of in your land. You can get this nitrogen if you follow one easy step.

Broadcast red clover on your winter wheat. Clover spread will now give you free nitrogen next year.

Why corn populations are going up

Seed companies say high-yielding environments warrant higher populations. 
But you need to factorin the extra seed costs


The price of corn is not the only thing that has gone up recently. Corn populations have also done so. Corn prices may not stay high, but corn populations probably will.

This trend to higher populations is being led by corn companies. On the one hand, they have the results to show where you should use higher populations. On the other, they are not promoting it as aggressively as they should. They feel that growers will not accept this information. They fear growers will think it is just another way to sell more seed.

What you should know about picking the right tillage tools

Ontario producers have a wide range of tillage tools available to them today. 
Some tips to help you sort out the options you need


I received an education at this year’s Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. I was asked to moderate the tillage demonstration. What follows is a summary of comments the equipment people made to me.

When you work soil, you want to incorporate residue shallowly and evenly, so allowing the residue to break down. Tillage must leave the soil level. If you incorporate residue properly and leave the soil level, this will reduce erosion and conserve moisture. Today’s tillage tools are designed to make a seedbed in fewer passes. If you do all of this, you maintain soil structure and reduce costs.

You must become your own weed inspector

There was a time when townships took care of roadside weeds, but no more. Now you must 
do the job yourself and it pays to start when they first appear on your farm


The Ontario government has set up a committee to look at invasive weed species and you might think this would help you reduce the number of problem weeds on your farms. It probably won’t. It is intended more to look at weeds like giant hogweed and poison ivy  that are threatening townspeople since the introduction of legislation to reduce herbicides in urban areas.

Crops: The Lynch File - What can you do about Corn Row Syndrome?

One solution is to use a starter fertilizer with wheat. Another is to work the ground, so spreading out the root masses and making the soil structure more uniform


Corn Row Syndrome (CRS) is the terminology given to wheat rows that appear different when they are planted over the top of an old corn row. These wheat rows show up when wheat is no-tilled into soybeans that were no-tilled into corn stalks.

Some suggest that CRS results from residual fertilizer from a corn starter fertilizer. One solution to overcome CRS is to use a starter fertilizer with wheat.

Crops:The Lynch File - Do you know what your corn population really is?

You may know how many seeds you dropped, but have you done a population count on your stand? You might be surprised at what you find

by Pat Lynch

What is your corn population? Not what you dropped, but what you have now. You probably know how many seeds you dropped, but how is your stand? Your final population says a lot about your corn planter. If you are concerned, why not go now and do a population count?

There are lots of books to tell you how to measure 1/1,000 of an acre. This is the standard for doing a population check. Check at least four rows everywhere you do a stand count. Check various places in the field. Check good ground and poor ground.

Crops:The Lynch File - We must take our refuge acres more seriously

The agricultural industry is on trial to see if it is doing more than just paying lip service to refuge planting. Surely it can do better


As I write, Monsanto has just announced it will refuse to sell certain hybrids to growers if the growers do not follow the refuge rules. This is good news and the impetus needed to ensure refuge planting. But the latest numbers about refuge planting indicate that some growers are not taking refuge seriously.

The fact that Bt rootworm is failing to give protection from rootworm in U.S. corn fields has raised the refuge issue to new heights. But this is not just about refuge acres. This is about the credibility of the agricultural industry.

Crops: The Lynch File - The dream of achieving one-pass weed control

A one-pass weed control program is feasible, but you will give up something – either yield, cost or weed control


Growers dream about many things. You dream about 200 bushel-an-acre corn or renting land cheaper than anyone else. You dream about weed-free fields. And you might dream that you can get these weed-free fields in one pass.

All of these dreams are possible but not probable – unless you are willing to give up some things.

Crops: The Lynch File - Sorting out the good from the not-so-good in all those new products

Doing your research and planning a proper test can help you figure
out whether a new product really will bring an increase in yield


I have just sat through another session where I was shown some great looking crops as opposed to those that were untreated. You know, the presentations where supposedly random plants are shown with a bigger root system or greener leaves, or some other desirable characteristic. The past three years of good crops seems to have brought along a bunch of new products, which pretty well can do whatever you want. They will certainly be able to cut your costs of production and increase your yields.

Crops - The Lynch File: Ontario’s silent revolution in tillage

More growers are doing more tillage of corn stalks before they plant soys, partly because of the change in headers. They want to avoid no-tilling soys into a mat of corn trash


Over the last couple of years, tillage in Ontario has gone through a quick and silent change. There was no big announcement about it.

These days, more growers are doing more tillage of corn stalks before they plant soys. Part of this is a result of the change in corn headers. The newer headers are chopping stalks more than the older headers. And some of the newer combines are equipped with stalk choppers. This header change has resulted from growers wanting to plow shallower. But it also affects no-till soys.