CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 39: The mystery of the fallen corn trail


It was supposed to be just another day scouting fields for certified professional crop consultant Mervyn Erb.

On this bright, sunny June afternoon, Erb travelled just east of Exeter to inspect a cornfield for Jack, one of his grower customers. The cornfield had a large population of tufted vetch, and Erb wanted to see whether the herbicide he had prescribed to take out the perennial legume was doing the job.

Partial manure injection – a compromise solution to combat nitrogen loss

Testing shows that partial injection decreases ammonia nitrogen volatilization by one quarter to one third. But too much incorporation damages the alfalfa, so some ammonia loss will happen


Livestock farmers face a dilemma when making the best use of their liquid manure asset to fertilize crops. Expensive nitrogen is the most volatile of the three basic fertilizer elements.  It can also be a major pollutant, either as ammonia vaporized into the air or as nitrate leached into the soil and ending up in drinking water.

Loss of CSA certification causes headaches for grain dryer users

With the Canadian Standards Association’s decision to stop certifying grain dryers, farmers are facing the possibility of a more costly and complicated process to get new or replacement equipment into service


CSA. For years the presence of those three letters, an acronym for the Canadian Standards Association, stamped on grain dryers has meant that installation of the equipment is straightforward. The dryer is bought, installed, hooked up to gas or propane and test-fired by a certified installer.

Drought in the U.S. Midwest pushes up seed costs

And the possibility that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency might outsource seed crop inspections may also have an impact on future prices


Like the many other materials and resources needed for growing crops, seeds have become more expensive over the past decade.

Roundup Ready corn seed varieties in Ontario in 2012, for example, cost nearly double per acre, on average, what seed corn cost for all varieties per acre in 2001, according to data from Statistics Canada and the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus economics and business group’s Ontario Farm Input monitoring project (See Figures 1 and 2).

Those in the industry predict that prices will continue to rise in both the short and long term.

What you should know about the earthworms in your soil

These prolific creatures – up to three million in every hectare – benefit plants and add to soil quality. But some, like the night crawler, can cause runoff and soil losses, and are not so good for our forests


Worms! You walk over them all the time. You dig them up, plow them up, fish with them squirming on a hook. But, what do you really know about them and how much they do for you? Not you the fisherman, you the farmer!

The iPad may be coming to your tractor

A new app that works in tandem with Precision Planting’s SeedSense monitor gives operators a better overall view of planter activity. And they get to take the data away with them


The iPad tablet has found a place in the tractor cab along with the 20/20 SeedSense monitor from Precision Planting.

The iPad application for the popular seed monitoring system is called FieldView. It will allow operators to see things, in real-time, that are not detailed on the 20/20 display.

The corn refuge revolution comes to Ontario

Seed companies are betting that simplicity and convenience will persuade growers to jump aboard the RIB bandwagon in 2012


Is convenience and simplicity enough to make refuge-in-a-bag (RIB) corn seed products a favourite choice for Ontario corn growers? Greg Stewart thinks so.

Stewart, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs corn specialist, predicts RIB products that deliver 95 per cent insect-protected seed and five per cent refuge seed in the same bag “will get significant traction” with Ontario corn growers.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 38: What’s behind the weed escape in Scott’s soybeans? – SOLVED


Weed resistance was the cause of Scott’s foxtail escapes featured in our March 2012 issue. What agronomist Pat Lynch found in his field was Group 2 resistant foxtail.

The clue to the mystery was contained in the dead and dying weeds that could be found beside the green, vigorous foxtail plants.  A close look revealed that many foxtail plants had turned red and purple and were dying – the classic death symptoms of foxtail that are not resistant to Group 2 graminicides.

CROP SCENE INVESTIGATION – 37: What caused the yellow spots in that winter wheat? – SOLVED


The yellow spots identified in wheat fields last spring by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) cereals specialist Peter Johnson were caused by sulphur deficiency.
Tissue sampling revealed that green, healthier plants in other areas of the field tested much higher for sulphur levels than the yellow plants. The diagnosis was confirmed when Johnson applied sulphur to test strips of yellow plants.

Johnson explains that sulphur deficiency has rarely been seen in wheat, mainly due to the impact of acid rain, which would typically deposit up to 30 pounds of sulphur per acre in the early 1990s, almost double the requirements of a wheat crop. Johnson quips that acid rain “should have been called foliar fertilizer.”