Crops: The Lynch File

Crops: The Lynch File – Product Inquiries (PIs) can be a win for everyone

But make sure you report them promptly and with detailed records. And guard against unrealistic expectations


Crop PIs – or Product Inquiries – have few friends. Producers are upset about them. Retailers find them hard on customer relationships. But crop protection companies accept them as a fact of their business and, once you understand the rules of
PIs, you can deal with them more intelligently.

A PI starts when a producer complains that a product does not perform as expected. The most difficult ones to deal with are when there are unrealistic expectations, such as expecting 100 per cent weed control all season, or expecting an herbicide to control weeds that are not on the label.

Crops - The Lynch File: Confessions of a closet strip tiller

Hitherto, our columnist had been reluctant to promote the system because of the cost and expertise required, and other reasons. But times have changed


It is time for me to come out of the closet and admit that I believe more producers should switch to strip till.

Some call it strip till, while others call it strip till planting. Whatever you call it, this system combines the benefits of no-till and conventional tillage systems. It combines the no-till benefits of reduced erosion and soil moisture conservation with the conventional tillage benefits of having a worked seedbed. Strip tillage has overcome the greatest challenge to no tilling, namely successfully planting corn across a wide range of environments.

Crops - The Lynch File: Now may be the time to reconsider red clover

It may not be very exciting and there are no proprietary varieties. But the advantages of mastering the art of red clover establishment make it well worth the effort


In the early 1970s, we had just come through a period of low crop prices. This was followed by a series of events, including a weather change, which prevented the Peruvian fishing fleet from being able to find anchovies.

In turn, this resulted in a dramatic increase in fishmeal and fish oil prices, and triggered other events leading to high crop and high commodity prices, including nitrogen. We started to reuse red clover as a nitrogen source.

Crops - The Lynch File: The pros and cons of weigh scales, small fields and other things that affect your yield

Weigh scales help you plant cereals and beans accurately, while small fields yield less and cost more. These are among some points worth pondering this winter


Weigh scales and small fields – what does each have to do with the other? Absolutely nothing. But they are two of the things that made an impression this year.

Weigh scales are mounted on drills. They do an incredibly good job of helping you to plant cereals and beans accurately. You try to plant both beans and cereals by seed count. Seed bags tell you how many seeds per pound. These scales do an accurate job of allowing you to know how many pounds you have planted.

The Lynch File: There is no such thing as a gene for higher yield

Over the past 40 years, we have bred higher-yielding crops by improving plant health and not by inserting a ‘yield gene’


There is a belief that, when breeding crops, you can insert a gene for higher yield. The reality is that “there is no gene for higher yield.” Over the past 40 years, we have bred higher-yielding crops by improving plant health and not by inserting a “yield gene.”

During this time, more money and effort has been put into breeding corn than soys. That is why corn yields continue to grow, while soys yields are levelling off. (The widespread use of bin run soybeans has resulted in less breeding in soys.)