Page 1

For Western Canadian Soybean Growers

Issue 11/ Fall 2014


TM

NSC Richer RR2Y Never has a name meant so much. Our NSC Richer RR2Y is the test-plot proven highest yielder. You get a mid-season bean and wide rows, not to mention...a bit richer. At NorthStar Genetics, we know beans! www.weknowbeans.com

© NorthStar Genetics 2014 ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup WeatherMAX®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. ©2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.


Table of Contents Publisher Ray Wytinck NorthStar Genetics

Editorial pg 3

Editor Jenny Flaman jenny@impactgr.com

Long-Term Grain Price Cycles

Art Director Kate Klassen kate@impactgr.com

From Zero to 1 Million+ Acres in Ten Years

Copy Editors Chantelle Andrukow Heidi Brown Vicki Manness

Testing Soybeans One Area at a Time

Contributors Cheryl Manness Nadine Dzisiak Andrea Hilderman Ron Friesen John Dietz Gina Borhot Alan Kluis Bruce Barker Sarah Foster Photographers Anita Anseeuw Claude Durand

Printed by Transcontinental Imaging For another copy of Growing Soybeans call 204-262-2424 or e-mail kperfumo@northstargeneticsmb.com For a digital copy visit weknowbeans.com

pg 4

pg 7

pg 10

Stacking Soybean Traits pg 14

Precision Agriculture and Soybeans? pg 16

Soil Phosphorus Deficiencies pg 20

Plant Stand Establishment: Get the Most from Your Soybeans pg 24

Family-Owned and Operated pg 28

Foster’s Focus pg 32


take your yield

Through ThrouGh the roof. ThE rooF TakE your yiEld

If you’re ready to take your soybean yield higher, ask for the 2—Genuity® Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybeans. They have built-in yield potential to outperform original Roundup Ready® Soybeans, with farmers seeing more 3,4 and 5 bean pods. So be sure your soybeans have the trait technology that’s advancing the yield of soybean growers across Canada. And get ready to yield more than ever.

Genuity® Because every bean matters. Visit your seed®rep or genuitytraits.ca Genuity Because every bean matters. Visit your seed rep or genuitytraits.ca

ALWAYS FOLLOW IRM, GRAIN MARKETING AND ALL OTHER STEWARDSHIP AND PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication. ©2014 Monsanto Company

ALWAYS FOLLOW IRM, GRAIN MARKETING AND ALL OTHER STEWARDSHIP AND PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication. ©2014 Monsanto Canada Inc.


Harvest Time is Here Again

A

s we roll into September we’ve started thinking about harvesting another soybean crop. We hope soybeans will pull through and that Western Canada will once again be shocked by the success of soybeans in areas we wouldn’t have expected even two years ago. As we focus on achieving soybean success for the years to come, we are here to help you. In this issue we explore the world of precision agriculture and how it can benefit soybeans. There is a misconception that it wouldn’t at all, but we’ll show you how precision agriculture can help you unlock the potential of your crop. Along the same lines, we’ve looked into the benefits of long-term soil phosphorus as opposed to fertilizer phosphorus, how soybeans perform differently, and what some strategies for managing phosphorus levels might be. An important performance aspect for soybeans is the stand establishment, and we’ve found some strategies to getting the best plant stand possible in Western Canada.

We’ve also looked into new soybean traits, the potential in stacking them with existing traits, and when you can expect these traits to be available in a soybean variety. This is also a special year for our founding company, NorthStar Genetics. This year they celebrate their 10th anniversary, so we have taken a look back through the last ten years of how they helped bring soybeans to Western Canada. We’ve also looked at their Demo Plot program to see how they are continuing to increase the number of soybean acres in Western Canada. To go along with NorthStar Genetics’ 10th anniversary, we thought it fitting to feature one of their founding dealers. A true pioneer of soybeans in Manitoba, Rick Rutherford of Rutherford Farms, has been growing soybeans north of Winnipeg for over 10 years and has become one of the biggest soybean producers in Western Canada. As always, we welcome your input. Let us know if there is any specific topic you would like featured and we’d be happy to explore it. For now, we hope you enjoy this issue of Growing Soybeans!

3


Long-Term Grain Price Cycles By Alan Kluis

Get ready for major lows this fall I enjoy speaking at farm seminars. This gives me a chance to know what questions farmers have and what their attitude is. At a seminar in early January of 2014, a young farmer grabbed me before I even started my presentation. His question, “How low can the markets go and when will they come back?” I asked him some questions and it became obvious that he had not sold any of his 2013 crop and did not have any 2014 crop sold ahead of time. I sat down with him and went through some of my PowerPoint slides that showed the long-term corn and soybean cycles and also several of my seasonal odds charts. What I projected was a rally back in the corn and soybean markets into the April through early June time-period and then lower prices by the fall of 2014. He looked relieved and said he looked forward to my presentation.

Charts help me stay disciplined I began to work with charts the first year I got out of college. I was skeptical at first because my college classes had me study all of the supply and demand factors. How big is the crop, how much are we using, and how much will be left over? The guy who taught me about charts told me he had made money trading using his charts, so I decided to give it a try. Wow, it worked, and I have been charting and trading now for 40 years. I watch all kinds of cycles as short as 10-day low-to-low patterns, seasonal patterns, and long-term cycles. The longest cycle I work with in the commodity markets is the 30-year low-to-low pattern. The commodity markets put in major lows in 1939, 1969, and 1999. So if you look 4

ahead, the next major low is due in about 15 years in 2029. The two main long-term cycles I work with in the grain markets are the 68-month cycle in corn and the 39-month cycle in soybeans.

soybeans: the major low that I work off of is the low in early July of 2009 at $4.01 per bushel, when cash soybeans traded as low as $3.50 per bushel. That was also the bottom of the 30-year commodity cycle.

Here are five factors to know:

This pattern has worked really well since then with lows coming in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2009, and possibly 2011. That would be a really short one. Watch now if the low from 2011 at $11.02 can hold at the harvest low in 2014. If so, it sets up the pattern of higher highs and higher lows. If the $11.02 low is taken out, then look for prices to bottom by the first quarter of 2015.

These longer-term cycles can be off by as much as 30 percent.

The corn cycle has been more reliable than the soybean cycle.

The patterns work the best low to low not high to high.

You have to find the right low to work with. It is not always the lowest low, sometimes it is the low that prices turn up from.

Watch for the first month that prices close above the two previous months high to confirm the low.

First, a look at the 68-month corn cycle. The chart shows major lows about every 68 months. The shortest has been 40 months and the longest has been 90 months. The lows I will focus on are the major lows that came in November of 2005, then September of 2009, and most recently at $4.06 in January of 2014. Watch now to see if the harvest low in the fall of 2014 can hold above $4.06. If so, it sets up the pattern of higher highs and higher lows. If the $4.06 low is taken out, then odds are good that a major low will be put in by the first quarter of 2015. Now for the 39-month low-to-low cycle for

The young farmer came up after the seminar – he said he had learned a lot and wanted to know if I had any rules to share with him that I have developed in the last 40 years. These are the five rules that I gave him: 1. Be an incremental seller. You will do a better job and certainly have a lot less stress if you make 10 sales of 10 percent, rather than trying to “hit the top”. 2. Be a seasonal seller. 3. Never look back; when you make a sale it’s done. Then the next focus should be on where you make the next one. 4. Know that if you are disciplined and sell on the way up, you will not be forced to sell on the way down. 5. Charts work. Alan Kluis is president of Kluis Publishing in Wayzata, Minnesota. For more information go to www.alkluis.com.


5


Unconditional

NSC Vito RR2Y

The soybean that can excel in tough conditions.

NSC Vito RR2Y is a tall-standing variety that pods early and high. This means you are going to harvest every pod even if you have rolling land, uneven surfaces, or rocks. You name it, this variety will handle it. VITO AD

At NorthStar Genetics, we know beans! www.weknowbeans.com

© NorthStar Genetics 2014 ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup WeatherMAX®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. ©2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.


From Zero to 1 Million+ Acres in Ten Years!

By Andrea Hilderman

And you ain’t seen nothing yet! “Ten years ago, 1 million acres or more of soybeans would have been crazy talk,” laughs Roger Weinlaeder, director of Canadian operations for NorthStar Genetics. “Even when I started experimenting with soybeans back in the ‘90s at my farm in Drayton, North Dakota, I couldn’t have dreamed that. But with the new Roundup Ready soybeans being developed at the time, I sensed there was a great opportunity for growers both in North Dakota and my neighbours to the north in Manitoba.”

Calvin Pitura, one of the original Manitoba seed growers to get on board with NorthStar Genetics concurs with Weinlaeder. “It was a wild ride,” he says. “We were losing canola seed sales to the line companies back then and soybeans appeared to offer us another option to control our own destinies, if you like. But over the last ten years, we’ve also seen soybeans offer growers tremendous benefits on the farm as well as solid returns. The proverbial win-win.” NorthStar Genetics was born of a partnership between a group of Manitoba seed growers and processors and NorthStar Genetics in Minnesota, also founded by a group of visionary seedsmen who saw the same

opportunity Pitura and his peers did to remain viable and active in the seed business. “What worked in the U.S., we knew, was going to work in Manitoba,” says Weinlaeder. “We knew that seedsmen growing and field testing soybeans would show their local grower customers that soybeans could work. Our success in this business is built primarily on the credibility and integrity of our seedsmen and our partners.” Along with Calvin Pitura, other early investors and growers of soybeans in Manitoba included Rick Rutherford, Brian Nadeau, Kevin Yuill, Rick and Lloyd Friesen, Ed Giesbrecht, Andrew Saramaga, and Ron Manness amongst others. What all of these

From left: Ray Wytinck, Roger Weinlaeder, Claude Durand, Dan Hogstad in Regina in 2012.

7


seed growers had in common was being in the right place back in 2003 to grow those early soybean varieties and the vision to see the potential for soybeans in Manitoba. Now, NorthStar Genetics soybeans have skyrocketed to over 1 million acres in Manitoba and up to 400,000 acres in Saskatchewan. “Over the last ten years the mindset on soybeans has changed a lot,” says Pitura. “Not long ago soybeans were seen as an experimental crop – seed them if you get to them, but plant the ‘real’ crops first. Not anymore. Soybeans are going in first as soon as soil temperatures are adequate. There is no debating the importance of soybeans now.” NorthStar Genetics has enjoyed steady growth with each of the last seven years showing increases in soybean acres. “Continuing improvements in genetics is giving growers in Saskatchewan the opportunity to grow soybeans,” says Weinlaeder. “We have soybeans now with 2300 heat units and under. I foresee the day when soybeans will be grown in all three provinces and in the Peace.” For a crop to succeed in as dramatic a way as soybeans have, it not only requires good genetics and desirable cost and ease of production, it’s absolutely critical there is a market to absorb the production at levels that reward and incent growers. “Growers in Western Canada were familiar with special crops,” says Dan Hogstad, chief executive officer of NorthStar Genetics in the U.S. “It seemed like the more they grew, the lower the price went. Soybeans are different. Canadian growers will be able to grow all

the soybeans they want and the market is not going to fall apart. Globally, soybeans are not a special crop.” In the U.S. alone, over 89 million tonnes are projected to be harvested in 2014. Global production is projected at 367 million tonnes and usage is growing steadily. Prices are impacted by any possible negative changes in production in the largest soybean producing countries such as the U.S. and South America. Adding another million or more acres to this enormous global market will be neutral to prices.

The next decade “2024 seems a long way off,” laughs Pitura. “Where will NorthStar Genetics be then? I’d say well into Saskatchewan and Alberta. We are also growing into Ontario and Quebec.” According to Pitura, the key to NorthStar Genetics continued success and growth is highly competent, professional seed growers. “Those seed growers serve two purposes,” he says. “First, just like when NorthStar Genetics in the U.S. was created, it was the seed growers who first grew the soybeans to show they worked and they became the experts, the knowledge base in the community. Secondly, soybeans are bulky like cereal seed, so freight costs are high. Having a network of seed growers takes that cost out of the system and increases the financial attractiveness of the crop.” “5 million acres!” says Weinlaeder. “I’ll put it out there. I think it’s absolutely doable. The market will support the acres, the genetics will meet the challenges of the shorter season in time, and soybeans are just a great crop to have in the rotation. The acres are going to continue to push north and west over the next

From left: Ron Manness, Brian Nadeau, and Rick Rutherford checking out some soybean sprout. 8

ten years.” Hogstad is in agreement with his Canadian colleagues. He believes that a successful soybean industry can’t help but evolve in Canada. “Freight rates to port for Canadian soybeans to be exported to China are very attractive,” he says. “Compare that to the rates in the U.S. through the Gulf.” That attractive arbitrage will ensure Canadian soybeans make it to market. As with all crops, the weather is one obstacle that might hurt soybeans. “We’ve seen yields fluctuate here in Manitoba over the years, but as farmers, that’s a risk we face every year with every crop we seed,” says Pitura. “Over the long term, farmers are going to see that soybeans are a low input, high return crop that bring a lot of other benefits to the farm. Soybeans are a major crop now as far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing special about them anymore.”

The last word Weinlaeder and Pitura both attribute NorthStar Genetics success in Canada to not only the seed growers, but also to the dedicated staff they have on board. “Our staff are second-to-none,” says Pitura. “Ray Wytinck, our general manager, has assembled a great team of professionals. From Kim in the office who handles all of the accounting, marketing, and communications to Claude Durand, Brian Elliot, and Harry Davies who are the face of NorthStar Genetics out in the country. Lastly, Roger Weinlaeder has been tireless in his efforts to ensure our success and growth. It’s these people who execute on a daily basis to keep this ship afloat.”


Vibrant plants collect more sunshine. Crops thrive with Cruiser Maxx® Vibrance®. When the Vigor Trigger ® effect meets Rooting Power ™, you get enhanced crop establishment from stronger, faster-growing plants, above and below the ground. It also protects your soybeans against a broad range of insects and diseases and delivers best-in-class Rhizoctonia control.

Visit SyngentaFarm.ca or contact our Customer Resource Centre at 1-87-SYNGENTA (1-877-964-3682). Always read and follow label directions. Cruiser Maxx® Vibrance®, Rooting PowerTM, Vigor Trigger ®, the Alliance Frame, the Purpose Icon and the Syngenta logo are trademarks of a Syngenta Group Company. © 2014 Syngenta.


Testing Soybeans One Area at a Time Written by Gina Borhot

A Look at NorthStar Genetics’ Demo Plot Program

Soybeans have been known to require longer growing seasons and warmer climates than are typical to Western Canada, but with the advances in genetics over the last ten years or more, soybeans are quickly becoming a staple in crop rotations in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 10

To help soybeans reach further distances with shorter growing seasons and still achieve higher yields, it’s important that these new genetics be tested in our growing areas. Soybean seed companies often work at researching and conducting different trials to come up with distinct soybean varieties that are able to flourish in various situations.


NorthStar Genetics Product Development Manager, Claude Durand says they have a variety for every field. “One of the corner stones of our company is being able to provide a variety for all different conditions and ways of growing soybeans. “Growers thinking of trying soybeans should consider the environments they are in and how they are grown there to see what can be the best fit for them,” says Durand. “Soybeans are unlike a lot of other crops, they are very variable in their growth habits.”

insight as to how specific varieties will respond in different conditions. “If a grower comes to our company and says ‘these are my conditions’ and ‘this is my situation’, we can say ‘okay, for you this would be the variety to meet those conditions and your practices’.” “We come up with a tailored program for every grower in terms of a combination of varieties or one or two varieties we think your field and management would suit,” he says.

Summer nights can be cold in the western provinces, which can be one cause of soybean growth issues.

Working with their Demo Plot Program, NorthStar Genetics practices three stages within their process to finding top soybean varieties that can be customized to fit any conditions.

“For example, last summer was very cool. Some varieties don’t respond well to cooler conditions, where other varieties will,” Durand says.

Stage one is the trials we can run ourselves, says Durand. “Smaller plot trials – 60 ft. long by 10 ft. wide. We have about 10 of those sites this year and last year we had over 20.”

Running extensive field trials annually has provided NorthStar Genetics with tremendous

“We do the same types of trials on a contract basis with various research stations and it

gives us a varied geography,” he adds. Based out of Manitoba, contracting allows NorthStar to do work in places like Saskatchewan and some of the more farreaching areas at the edge of the soybean production zone, and even into new areas in Alberta where they look for potential that down the road could be a fit for some soybean varieties. The second stage of trails, which Durand mentions has greatly expanded over the last two years, are larger field scale trials. “This year we’re up to over 70 of these trials spread across three provinces,” he says. “We give bags of seed of each variety (depending on the region) to growers to grow on a field scale and it gives us the opportunity to look at more sites over a larger geography.” The third stage of trials in the Demo Plot Program is the research trial. “These are the early pre-commercial stages,” Durand says. “We have breeding nurseries

NorthStar Genetics Demo Plot 2014

11


that we send up to 700 varieties to look at as a single plot and from there we make selections. He says that, for example, from a sample of 700 they take 20 to 50 that, based on first glance, seem to have maturity and yield potential. “From there we select a few that go to those larger scale trials,” he says. With the goal of narrowing it down to about 10 different varieties that compliment each other, Durand explains that they will never have two identical varieties. “They can be the same in maturity for example, but growth habit might be much different,” he says. “For example, NSC Gladstone, which is a new very bushy variety was first grown last year and we compare it to NSC Libau, which is an older variety, but it’s more of an erect variety -- not quite as bushy. Gladstone is

Planting the NorthStar Genetics demonstration plot in 2014

12

more bushy and fit for wider row spacing.” To succeed at harvesting soybean plants, Durand explains that it’s safest to select a variety that will mature early, even though that can mean less yield potential. He says if you are in a growth area that may experience early frost, for example, NorthStar recommends using varieties such as NSC Moosomin RR2Y, which has extremely early maturity and is suitable for growing seasons in areas like Alberta and Saskatchewan. “Where we test some varieties is called the edge of disaster -- where we expect them to fail -- but we see which ones comes through in even the most extreme conditions,” says Durand. “We have some of our varieties trialed up in the Peace district of Alberta. We know if a variety can make it there it can make it in most areas,” he adds.

For those frigid climates Durand also suggests NSC Reston RR2Y -- a good pick for firsttime growers in the north and west, proven to produce a strong and reliable yielding for early maturing territory. “You will feel pretty secure and you’re going to get those varieties into the bin in the fall,” says Durand. He also mentions that you might try to push for a bit more yield with some of the other varieties depending on what region you are in. No matter what variety a grower chooses, they are never alone in the growing process. “As we expand west and north we feel we have an obligation to teach -- we want everybody to be successful growing soybeans, so we feel a responsibility that comes with that to teach guys how to grow them so they are successful,” Durand says.


Quality Seed Testing 20/20 Seed Labs Inc. is Canada’s first independent, ISTA and CFIA accredited, full service seed testing provider. Ask us about crop inspection services.

Lethbridge - Nisku - Winnipeg www.2020seedlabs.ca

Phone. 1.877.420.2099

Fax. 1.888.900.1810

® ™ Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V. Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and 20/20 Seed Labs Inc.


Stacking Soybean Traits

By Cheryl Manness

The new dicamba trait for soybeans is on it’s way to making Western Canadian soybeans a double threat. Generally speaking, a crop variety that has been engineered with stacked traits offers broader agronomic enhancements that allow farmers to grow a crop with an increased ability to overcome stressors in the field such as insect pests, diseases, and weeds. Gene stacking refers to the process of transferring two or more genes into the existing germplasm through biotechnology. Crops grown from seeds with stacked traits are planted around the world. The first stacked seed introduced in 1997 was cottonseed with protection against specific insects as well as resistance to the use of glyphosate. A few years after the cottonseed was released, the first stacked corn seed became available with herbicide tolerance and resistance to corn borer. Seed with stacked traits offer farmers the ability to fight insects and diseases and control weeds with more effectiveness and efficiency while causing less crop stress. Growing seed with stacked traits can help farmers grow healthier crops that will have a greater yield potential with less need for added inputs. But stacking all possible traits into a seed doesn’t make sense. Stacking genes with the same trait properties doesn’t offer any added value to the farmer while stacking those traits that offer an added benefit which complements the existing traits, does. Monsanto has developed a Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y) soybean variety with added dicamba protection that will offer farmers new options in controlling difficult broadleaf weeds such as wild buckwheat 14

and kochia. Their Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Crop System is under regulatory review for use in Canada with an expected release sometime in 2015. Dicamba is a selective benzoic acid herbicide that controls difficult and resistant broadleaf weeds. It has a wide application window and can be used as a pre-, post-, and burn-down herbicide. Dicamba is absorbed through the leaves, stems, and roots and causes rapid, abnormal cell growth that leads to limited transpiration and photosynthesis. Within days the plant is killed by starvation resulting from an inability to translocate needed energy to continue to survive. According to Monsanto, dicamba tolerance was selected as a desirable trait to stack on the RR2Y seed because it pairs well with glyphosate tolerance. Dicamba and glyphosate both have rapid plant uptake and translocation profiles with dicamba offering some residual activity. Also, there are less cases of resistance for dicamba relative to 2,4D with dicamba providing excellent control of glyphosate-resistant broadleaf weeds. “Dicamba is an excellent tank mix partner with Roundup because it provides excellent control of weeds like buckwheat, which Roundup can be less effective on as it gets bigger,” says Allan Froese, technology development representative with Monsanto in Manitoba. With the residual activity of dicamba there will be a wider window for weed control with improved control later into the season. Having the ability to spray with multiple

modes of action in this one crop will be valuable in a weed resistance management program providing farmers with new tools to use in the fight against difficult broadleaf weeds and the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds. According to Froese, “Dicamba also provides residual control of weeds up to 14 days after application which adds greater flexibility to the system and helps to maximize yield by keeping the soybeans weed free during the early growth stages.”


With increasing acres of soybeans being grown in Western Canada, and the increasing presence of resistant weed populations, there are less options to protect yields from difficult weed infestations. Dicamba is being used to gain greater flexibility to control weeds in a reduced-tillage practice and to reduce the risk of glyphosate-resistant weeds while avoiding the risk of crop injury from pre-plant applications. “Dicamba is also extremely effective on glyphosate-resistant Kochia, which has now been found in all three Prairie provinces.�

being carried off by the wind before they are deposited on the intended weeds. Volatility can also be an issue. Volatility is the movement of the active ingredient in a gaseous form after it has been deposited on the intended weeds. There is a concern that the volatility of dicamba can cause some drift problems. As part of the RR2 Extend Crop System, Monsanto is developing herbicide formulations that are less volatile and have improved handling characteristics, developing better spray nozzle recommendation and overall application requirements.

Once approved for use in Canada, Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System, with dicamba and Roundup Ready technologies, will support an integrated weed management plan and soybean optimize yield.

The biggest challenge or negative issue concerning dicamba is off-site drift. There is concern that dicamba drift will damage sensitive crops, home gardens, and landscapes. Drift can occur when spray applications are performed in windy conditions coupled with the use of poor application techniques. Using nozzles that produce very small droplets increase the chances of the droplets

15


Precision Agriculture and Soybeans? By Bruce Barker

Agronomists are finding many opportunities to implement precision ag in soybeans.

16


For many growers, precision ag means variable rate nitrogen (N), and with soybeans fixing their N from the atmosphere, precision ag is often discounted as unnecessary with this crop. However, agronomists are finding that precision ag has many applications in soybeans, including variable rate seeding and nutrient and fungicide application. While the Western Canadian precision ag experience in soybean lags behind the U.S. experience, on both sides of the border agronomists are just scratching the surface.

“We’re evaluating and implementing precision ag systems that will minimize some of the risk associated with crop production. That’s the whole idea behind our approach to precision ag,” says Dave Ives, a FieldSmart agronomist with Enns Brothers at Oak Bluff, Manitoba. Enns Brothers is a John Deere dealership with seven locations in Manitoba. During the spring of 2014, Ives worked with a farmer at Grosse Isle, Manitoba to help experiment with variable rate (VR) seeding

of soybeans. The farmer wanted to see if he could improve production on a field with some elevation differences. The field was split into three zones based on topography. “The thought process was that higher plant populations would be sown in lower areas that have heavier soils and are more prone to flooding, the mid-slope areas would receive the normal seeding rate, and the high ground would have a lower seeding rate. The idea is that the plant populations would more accurately match with soil quality and soil moisture potential,” explains Ives. The normal seeding rate was 170,000 seeds per acre, with the high ground receiving 160,000 seeds and the low ground bumped up to 180,000 seeds. The farmer seeds with a John Deere DB 60 planter on 15-inch row spacing. One half of the field was done with VR seeding and the other half was seeded with the normal seeding rate. Ives says that once the farmer decided to try out variable rate seeding, it came together very quickly. Based on the farmer’s field topography data, Ives developed the VR seeding maps and delivered the prescription directly to the farmer’s tractor using JDLink wireless data transfer technology. “Everything was done through telematics. It was really amazing how fast we were able to develop and deliver the prescriptions,” says Ives. The VR seeding comparison is being monitored throughout the summer, and the proof will be in the yield and maturity comparisons. Ives says a lot will depend on the weather and precipitation during the summer, and that one year won’t necessarily prove the benefit of VR seeding. Multi years of data collection is a must in determining the final benefits.

Precision Ag Since 1995 With almost 20 years of precision ag experience, Matt Ramage says he is just scratching the surface when it comes to the potential in soybeans. He is the eastern territory manager for Agri-Trend at Paducah, Kentucky in the mid-south U.S. He is also a farmer with direct experience using precision ag technology in corn and soybeans. 17


“Without a doubt, VR seeding rate is one of the most popular approaches in soybeans, but we’re still learning what the best seeding rates are,” says Ramage. “The real challenge is that we don’t know why a particular area may have a weak yield. We know it has something to do with soil moisture management. Some deep soils have high moisture capacity and others are shallow with poor moisture management.” Ramage explains that some soils have high magnesium in the top layers, which impedes moisture infiltration. He uses electrical conductivity mapping as one of the tools to help determine soil quality and yield potential. Agri-Trend also uses other technologies to determine production zones in fields. Power Zone is their proprietary tool for helping understand management zones. It pulls together satellite and remote imagery, yield maps, NDVI sensors, soil and tissue sampling, and ground truthing to better understand field productivity. In Ramage’s experience, he is still teasing out the optimum seeding rates for different management zones. He has found that rather than focusing solely on seeding rates, farmers need to focus on actual stand establishment. “We’ve found that an established plant population of 160,000 plants per acre is optimum, but getting to that established plant stand can be difficult with high seed mortality in some years. The only place we push plant stands higher with VR seeding is on good soil with good water infiltration and good soil moisture holding capacity.” He has found that a plant population of between 160,000 and 135,000 doesn’t necessarily reduce yield potential but a lower plant population means the crop canopy doesn’t close very quickly and weed problems develop. “With lower plant populations, you’ll be fighting weeds, and with our herbicide resistant issues here, you can be loosing yield.”

VR Fungicides Most soybean farmers in the mid-west use a routine fungicide application to improve plant health and maintain yield. Ramage doesn’t necessarily believe that plant health benefits translate into yield, but since his clients are routinely applying fungicides on soybeans, he works with them to reduce fungicide costs. In-season imagery is used to develop prescription maps based on vegetative growth. 18

Areas with high vegetative growth receive a full fungicide rate and lower vegetative growth receives 60 to 70 percent of full rate. Application is made at the beginning of pod set, to provide protection against disease for the remaining 45 days of crop development. “Weaker areas with lower yield potential don’t benefit as much from a fungicide application, so we are saving on fungicide costs,” explains Ramage. “We’re trying to protect the plant against white mould, septoria, and rusts.” The cost of the VR fungicide prescription is two dollars per acre. Ramage says that VR fungicide application can provide a 2.5 times return on investment through savings in fungicide costs.

VR Everything Else While 60 bushels per acre is a nice soybean yield, many farmers are targeting 100 bushels or more in the mid-west, Ramage says to hit those high yield targets farmers need to address the complete agronomic package. However, blanket applications can be costly. Fertility packages are being customized to address field variability and high target yields, with VR liming (calcium carbonate) also used to address pH issues. He says boron (B), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S) are commonly applied in VR applications, based on production zones, but even potassium (K) and phosphorus (P) are being applied with VR technologies.


Sulfur is one nutrient that Ramage pays close attention to. While soybean can fix its N requirements, if farmers aren’t applying S fertilizer, it could become a limiting nutrient. Soybeans use N and S in a 10:1 ratio. A 60-bushel soybean crop needs 390 pounds of N and 39 pounds of S.

bushels in a zone, you better make sure it has the groceries, especially if you are pushing plant populations in the zone,” says Ramage. “At the same time, we don’t want to overapply nutrients, so we continually look at all the data from year to year to make sure we have a good nutrient balance.”

“We see lots of sulfur deficiencies, especially on sandy soils, so we use prescription maps to ensure sulfur fertility is addressed,” says Ramage.

Ramage is even experimenting with supplemental N applications to see if there is any impact on N-fixation and yield. Surprisingly, he hasn’t seen any impact on N-fixation despite the long-held belief that adding N would cut back on nodulation and fixation. “It goes against conventional wisdom, but we’re seeing good early-season vigour with supplemental N. The jury is still

Other nutrients also get the prescription treatment based on production zones. AgriTrend uses their benchmarking tools to develop fertility programs to coincide with production zones. “If you’re targeting 120

out on whether it will contribute to pod fill and yield.” At the core of precision ag, though, is whether it pays. Agri-Trend has profit mapping capabilities that integrate prescription applications with yield monitor data to determine the most profitable applications. “We’re still learning a lot about precision technologies, not only in soybean but also corn. The biggest opportunity is to be able to integrate variable rates on multiple inputs and measure those against profitability,” explains Ramage.

19


Soil Phosphorus Deficiencies: Eating Away at Soybean Yields By Ron Friesen

20


I

t’s late July and Terry Buss gets a phone call from a worried grower who says his soybean crop looks really awful. Can Buss come and check it out?

Buss goes and immediately notices the soybean leaf margins are brown, as if someone had burned the edges of the leaves with a cigarette lighter. It’s a classic symptom of potassium deficiency. But Buss knows a little digging will soon reveal the real problem: a lack of phosphorus. “Immediately we say potassium deficiency,” says Buss, a crop production adviser for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development in Beausejour, Manitoba. “But when we start pulling soil cores and looking at plant tissue tests, it becomes very clear that there’s also massive problems with phosphorus. The two almost always go hand in hand because the soybean plant removes large volumes of both these nutrients.” Across Manitoba’s soybean belt, where 80 percent of the province’s crop is grown, the story is similar. In the Red River Valley and eastern Manitoba, where Buss works, phosphorus deficiencies are becoming common. So much so that the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association urges soybean producers, particularly those who have been growing the crop for years, to pay more attention to soil phosphorus levels. Kristen Podolsky, MPGA’s production specialist, describes phosphorus deficiency as a “silent yield robber,” which can take years to make its effect known. “We’ve really revved up the message this year because, in areas that have been growing soybeans for some years, deficiencies have been starting to show up visibly,” says Podolsky. “It’s sort of a cliché, but soybeans are not a no-input crop when it comes to phosphorus. It’s something we need to be aware of and prevent deficiencies before they happen.” The amount of phosphorus required by soybeans is surprisingly high. A Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development study found that a 40-bushel soybean crop removes up to one pound of P2O5 per bushel,

nearly as much as a 45-bushel canola crop and almost twice as much as a 45-bushel wheat crop. Add to that the fact that many Manitoba soils are low in phosphorus to begin with and the need for it becomes even more critical. So, the obvious solution is to pour on the phosphate fertilizer, right? Not so fast. Research shows that, while soybeans are efficient at extracting phosphorus from soil reserves, they respond very little from phosphorus fertilizer in the short term. Experiments by University of Manitoba researchers at eight sites throughout the province in 2013 showed no significant yield response by soybeans to phosphorus fertilizer, regardless of rate or placement. A second year of tests continued this summer. Soybeans are also sensitive to seed-placed fertilizer. Excess phosphorus in the seed row can cause seedling damage. On the face of it, it seems like a real problem. Soybeans need lots of phosphorus but they don’t respond to phosphate fertilizer, at least not initially. Most of the phosphorus taken up by soybeans is from the soil. That phosphorus is removed when the soybeans are harvested. As a result, soil test levels for phosphorus in some areas are dropping, which is also bad for other high phosphorus users such as canola. What’s a grower to do? Don Flaten, a University of Manitoba soil scientist professor and a leading expert in soil phosphorus, has an answer. Don’t worry too much about phosphorus fertilizer in the short term. Concentrate instead in building and maintaining soil phosphorus fertility over the long term. In other words, apply extra phosphorus on crops in the rotation that use less P (e.g., cereals) to build up a reserve for high P-users (soybeans and canola) to draw on later. “A lot of people wonder how best to fertilize soybeans with phosphorus. But the bigger question for farmers should be how to maintain phosphorus fertility in their fields for the long-term benefit of their overall rotation,” Flaten says.

Flaten proposes three options for building and maintaining soil phosphorus reserves: 1. Add extra P in seed rows for crops that tolerate high rates of seedplaced P (e.g. cereals). 2. Add extra side-banded or mid-row banded P to minimize the risk of damage to sensitive crops (soybeans and canola). 3. Apply livestock manure to build soil P to a target level (enough surplus P without being excessive). Here’s an example from Flaten’s scenario for a four-year crop rotation including spring wheat, canola, winter wheat, and soybeans, applying the maximum rate of seed-placed P to each crop (as in option 1).

Year 1: Wheat Your target yield for spring wheat is 60 bushels an acre. The Manitoba soil fertility guide recommendation for P2O5 is 30 pounds an acre. Apply 50 pounds instead. The crop removes 35 pounds, leaving a positive balance of 15 pounds that year.

Year 2: Canola The target yield is 40 bushels an acre. Apply the recommended rate of 20 pounds of P. The crop removes 40 pounds, leaving a deficit of 20 pounds.

Year 3: Winter Wheat The target yield is 75 bushels an acre. Apply 50 pounds per acre of P, 20 pounds more than the recommended rate. The crop removes 38 pounds, leaving a balance of 12 pounds.

Year 4: Soybeans Take a target yield of 35 bushels an acre. Apply 10 pounds of P per acre. The crop removes 30 pounds, leaving a deficit of 20 pounds. Now add it all up. The amount of P applied over four years is 130 pounds per acre. The amount of P removed is 143 pounds, leaving a negative balance of 13 pounds. 21


That’s still an overall deficit but you can make it up the following year. And it’s a lot less than the deficit of 53 pounds per acre you would have had if you had fertilized your cereals at only the recommended P rate. “If you raise your rates of phosphate fertilization in your cereal years to the maximum you can apply in the seed row, it helps to decrease the deficit,” Flaten says.

pounds of available N from the manure, you’d probably be putting on 100 to 200 pounds of phosphate per acre.”

can contribute to lake pollution. Banding is more environmentally responsible in the long run, as well as more agronomically efficient.

Unfortunately, even though some people think Manitoba is drowning in a sea of livestock manure, the province produces only enough to supply 15 percent of its phosphorus crop removal requirements.

In summary, Flaten’s take-home message is:

Flaten also recommends manure as another strategy for building soil phosphorus.

“So we’re still relying on synthetic fertilizer for 85 percent of our phosphorus fertility program,” says Flaten.

“It’s relatively high in P compared to N from a crop nutrition standpoint. So if you were to fertilize a wheat crop with a target of 100

He cautions that fall broadcasting phosphorus is not recommended in Manitoba because spring run-off water containing dissolved P

22

• Avoid high rates of fall broadcasting water-soluble P fertilizer. • Apply enough P in side- or mid-row bands to maintain P fertility. • Use a rotational fertilization strategy to add manure P or extra seed-placed fertilizer P in crops that tolerate it, and build or maintain soil P to a target level without excess accumulation.


INOCULANTS MAY SEEM EQUAL NOW. IT’S A DIFFERENT STORY AT HARVEST TIME.

There’s a reason growers insist on it – Nodulator® N/T is the only inoculant in the market that’s Biostacked®. Unlike other offerings, a Biostacked inoculant delivers multiple beneficial biologicals to enhance the performance of soybeans. Nodulator N/T helps increase root biomass, create more nodules and improve nitrogen fixation. Of course at the end of the day, all you have to know is what it does for your bottom line. Nodulator N/T out-yields non-Biostacked inoculants by 4-6%. So why settle for less? Visit agsolutions.ca or contact AgSolutions® Customer Care at 1-877-371-BASF (2273) for more information.

Always read and follow label directions. AgSolutions, and BIOSTACKED are registered trade-marks of BASF Corporation; NODULATOR is a registered trade-mark of BASF, all used with permission by BASF Canada Inc. © 2014 BASF Canada Inc.


Plant Stand Establishment: Get the Most from your Soybeans By John Dietz

24


A good plant stand is crucial to maximizing yield. What are some strategies growers should be using to establish the best plant stand possible in Western Canada? Achieving a healthy and even stand of soybeans in Western Canada is an emerging challenge. Only a handful of Red River Valley farmers have produced soybean crops for more than ten years. Most have less than five years’ experience. For those who are new to soybeans, and for those who just have a few more questions, here is a review of pointers from two of Manitoba’s most experienced advisors.

minimum risk. Pests build up with shorter rotations, so plan on three or four years between soybean crops in any field.

Field selection Long-term crop insurance data from Manitoba shows that soybeans grown on wheat and corn stubble have the highest yield response.

Nutrient levels Watch out for phosphorus levels. Soybeans perform best when planted into fields with medium to high available phosphorus. They won’t respond well to fertilizer phosphorus application in the same crop year. It can be depleted by a previous crop, so get a soil test if in doubt. As well, avoid fields with high levels of soluble salts and carbonates to minimize risk of iron chlorosis. If a field has high nitrogen availability, it may be best to seed it to another crop because soybeans fix the majority of their own nitrogen from the atmosphere.

Seeding system Row crop planters are the ideal choice for precision and need fewer seeds per acre, but soybeans are pretty resilient to the planting system. The trend is toward 15-inch row spacing with precision depth control and seed placement. For a lot less expense, most air seeders will do a good job and produce competitive yield results.

Seedbed prep

Dennis Lange and Kristen Podolsky have offices in southeast Manitoba. Dennis is the farm production advisor for crops for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Altona; Kristen is a production specialist for the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association at Carman.

Long-term data on performance under different tillage systems is still being developed. Generally, soybeans are planted into blackened soils in the Red River Valley. Black soil warms faster and leads to faster sprouting. Zero-till soybeans are doing well in North Dakota and Ontario. On the Prairies, we’re still learning about this.

Crop rotation

Warm seedbed

Long-term crop rotations are the safest approach for producing soybeans with

Soybeans that went into warm ground (1012 degrees C) and good moisture conditions

started to poke out of the surface in less than a week in 2014. In warm soil, beans start quicker and are less susceptible to disease. This compares to early-planted soybeans that took two to three weeks to emerge due to cool soil temperature. Spring soil temperatures vary each year but generally are ideal between May 10-25.

Variety selection Longer season varieties generally yield more, if you have enough growing season for them to reach maturity. Know what heat units to expect in your region, then pick one of the varieties suited to your conditions: long, midrange, or short season. Be very cautious. In the short growing season region, you need to utilize all the heat you get. Balance that against risks for maturity and early frost.

Seed Guide PhD Sharpen up your variety selection by using the codes in Seed Manitoba. In addition to sorting varieties by maturity (short, mid and long-season zones) and by yield, it lists numbers of site years for site data and a statistical term called Least Squares Difference (LSD). As site years increase, the performance data becomes more reliable. For example, Roundup Ready varieties are tested in nine locations – core, short, and long season. If one variety is scored for yield at five sites, it gets scored for five site years. Another variety may have 11 years of site data. The more years of data, the better your confidence can be in the accuracy of the yield percentage compared to the check variety. The LSD for a variety table is found below the table. To be significantly different in yield, any two varieties must match or exceed the LSD.

Seed condition Dry soybean seed is more susceptible to damage. Before seeding, soak a sample in water for two to five minutes. When wet, damaged seed coats start to separate quickly. Check later by collecting a sample at the end

25


of a hose to see if the seeding system has damaged any seed coats. If you are dealing with dryer seed, boost your rates so the plants will still produce the kind of stand you want.

with use of a fungicide treatment. Some products have active ingredients for both insects and disease.

Inoculation

Soybeans are sensitive to seeding depth. They are too deep at 1.5 inches into the seedbed and probably too shallow at a halfinch deep. A half-inch planting depth can be OK if they get into moisture or have a rainfall right after planting. Planting too deep will delay emergence and delay the stand establishment.

Soybeans need to be inoculated with specific bacteria to fix a nitrogen supply from the air. On its first planting to soybeans, every field in Western Canada needs a double inoculation. Usually a liquid is placed directly on the seed. A granular inoculant needs to be placed beside the seed. If it’s done right, you’ll see nodules forming close to the main root crown and on roots a bit away from the crown. If you don’t have the granular option, put on a heavy rate of liquid or a liquid-and-peat combination. On the second and later soybean crops, plan to use at least a liquid inoculant and perhaps both again. Healthy nodules will be pink inside.

Seed treatments Protecting seed against disease and insect attack is important, especially for cool soil conditions. The retailer will have treatments from Bayer or Syngenta for one or both issues, and probably will ask which one to use. If you have wireworms or corn maggots, use an insecticide treatment. Several seedling diseases can be stopped

26

Seeding depth

Weeds Protect maximum yield potential by providing a weed-free window from emergence until the fourth trifoliate, or fourth week, if possible. It may require two post-emerge glyphosate applications. Kochia is the most serious single weed in soybeans right now, especially due to recent confirmation of glyphosate-resistant kochia in southern Manitoba. Volunteer canola looks bad but may not be. Agronomists are developing a “threshold” level for recommending whether to control volunteer canola.

Scouting Scout for any kind of crop trouble (cutworms, disease, nodulation, etc.) on a

weekly basis if possible, or biweekly, from the week the crop emerges until early fall. It’s a disaster to discover a problem that could have been cured a couple weeks earlier.

Harvest prep Your soybean pods will be very low and even against the ground. A cool start to the 2013 season led to lower-than-normal pod production. Prepare for it. Harvest losses can be quite high. If your soybean field has any stones or dirt clods standing after planting, make an effort to roll the field as soon as possible. If you won’t be able to take the cutterbar low enough to get very low pods, plan to buy, rent, or borrow a flex header.

Rescue treatment Sometimes, soybeans have poor or no nodulation. MAFRD staff tested options for adding nitrogen after-the-fact in 2012. Some of the field had 100 pounds of nitrogen applied a week after planting. Randomized plots at two rates of nitrogen on other parts of the field were done at flowering and at early pod fill. Results were surprising. The early broadcast nitrogen had no yield effect. Early flowering had a small improvement for yield. Those plants getting extra N at early pod fill boosted yield to nearly 40 bu/acre compared to the standard of about 31 bu/acre for the rest of the field. This is a rescue treatment only.


THE BIG EASY 100% refuge compliance. 0% effort. MAIZEX RIB HYBRIDS (REFUGE IN BAG)

RIB

When it comes to early corn with proven yields look to Maizex Seeds. Maizex Brand Refuge in Bag (RIB) Corn is a blend of traited seed and refuge seed in the same bag. Plant more traited acres across your farm for maximum yields and hassle free refuge compliance. No structured refuge required. All Maizex hybrids are come with refuge in bag (RIB) and are exclusively distributed by NorthStar Genetics.

Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, RIB Complete and Design®, SmartStax and Design®, SmartStax®, VT Double PRO® and VT Triple PRO® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. Always follow grain marketing and all other stewardship practices and pesticide label directions. Details of these requirements can be found in the Trait Stewardship Responsibilities Notice to Farmers printed in this publication. MAIZEX® and Design are registered trademarks of MAIZEX SEEDS INC.


Family-Owned and Operated By Nadine Dzisiak

28


Not long ago the idea of growing soybeans in Manitoba was foreign, and growing them outside the Red River Valley region was inconceivable. How things have changed! Many factors have contributed to the rise in popularity of growing soybeans in Manitoba, but one of those factors has to be producers who had the vision to risk growing the crop in the first place. Rick Rutherford of Rutherford Farms Ltd. in Grosse Isle, Manitoba, is one of those producers. The farm’s first try at growing soybeans in the 1970s was not successful. “We started growing soybeans 15 years ago with conventional soybeans for export,” explains Rick. “We started with Roundup Ready soybeans ten years ago, but our market potential increased when NSC Warren came out in 2006. That variety matured five to six days earlier, which helped move soybeans up into the Interlake and farther west towards Brandon and beyond.” What was inconceivable 25 years ago is now a successful complement to Rutherford Farms. “We’ve sold beans to people in Gypsumville, Manitoba. One producer claims that he is the last farm before Churchhill.”

Rutherford supplies seed to the Interlake area and farther north and south: Eriksdale, Ashern, Gypsumville, Arborg, Hudson, and Fisher Branch are examples of areas where farmers have been able to grow earlymaturing varieties. The wet conditions in Manitoba since 2011 have many more farmers looking at the success of soybeans. This year, Statistics Canada reports a 23.8 percent increase in soybean acres from 2013 bringing the total acres in this province to 1.3 million. Farmers are always looking out for diversification opportunities. Ongoing research and development has led to the introduction of early-maturing, high-yielding soybeans with high protein levels and glyphosate-resistant varieties making it possible to grow soybeans where previously it wasn’t. Rick thinks that there are three main reasons why the growing of soybeans has taken off in Manitoba in the past few years: soybeans fix

their own nitrogen, there are earlier maturing varieties out there, and soybeans have the ability to handle moist conditions. “We market early-maturing varieties from NorthStar Genetics,” says Rick. “Our best seller in our area is NSC Libau RR2Y. Our growers like its height and the way it handles Iron Deficiency Chlorosis (IDC).” IDC is a concern for soybean producers these days. When soils are wet, there is limited air exchange with the atmosphere and this leads to a build-up of carbon dioxide in the soil and the subsequent risk of IDC. Risk taking is mostly what farming and the seed business are about. Having the vision to try new varieties for diversification within crop rotations, while keeping up with market trends makes a successful business person. How will the role of the seed producer change in the marketing of soybeans in the future? Rick believes that growers will remain an integral part of marketing. “As soybeans

Rutherford Farms has an 85-year history and has been growing seed since 1950. Rick’s grandfather, Alex, and his great uncle farmed large corporate farms until the 1930s when they purchased their own land. Rick’s father, Jack, started the seed business. Rutherford Farms has always been family-run and today Rick and his wife, Janice, operate the 5,500 acre farm and retail seed business plus a large seed plant. They employ four full-time personnel and one part-time. Their three children currently are pursuing careers offfarm, but there is the opportunity for them to be involved with the business. As Rick says, “We have built a large family-run company that can be taken over by our children if they so desire. Part of our business plan right now is to find a person to come in and help with management.” Rutherford Farms Ltd. produces seed for many large, multinational seed companies. They clean all the Nexera Canola for certified canola seed growers for Western Canada. About 35 percent of their land base is used to produce soybeans. “We have many more acres produced by contract growers,” says Rick, “and that makes the total around 12,000 acres of soybeans this year. We do a lot of retail soybean plus winter wheat, wheat, barley, and oats.”

Rick Rutherford 29


grow in popularity, more supply will mean more buyers, which means more competition. Growers are the lowest cost producer of seed.” The interest from large multinationals in soybeans has been a boom to farmers. Research and development is costly. Large companies will invest in developing new varieties because they see there is profit to be made. “We are the beneficiaries of the research into soybeans,” affirms Rick. “There’s a lot of soybean grown in the world and there are huge amounts of money spent on the technology needed to develop new varieties. By comparison, investment dollars aren’t in wheat and barley, and canola only comes close.” Rick sees the acreage in soybean production in the Red River Valley beginning to flatten out. Many are already devoting a third of their land use to growing soybeans. New varieties are proving successful in other regions of the Prairies, but Rick has some concerns with advocates of soybean expansion. “My pet peeve,” he says, “is the advocate who tells farmers that they need only 10-degreeCelsius soil when seeding. Minimum soil temperature should be closer to 15 degrees Celsius. Low soil temperature is responsible for low germination. This is a solid fact; you can’t replace heat in the soil, and soybeans need that warm start. After proper germination, soybeans are pretty tolerant of wet or dry conditions.” And that’s the attraction to these new varieties: their hardiness and lower input costs. However, Rick warns, “Soybeans are still in the ‘honeymoon period’. Farmers can get away with poorer conditions, and as yet there are few diseases. But as you get more crop grown, you get more pests. That’s where canola is at now.” Rick believes that solid agronomy comes from learning from our mistakes. Sticking to the basics even while trying new varieties will broaden a farmer’s experience and knowledge. There are no short-cuts. As one of the top soybean seed producer north of Winnipeg, and one of the top producers in Manitoba, Rick attributes their success to two things: “Rock solid agronomy, and the best early-maturing varieties we can find.” Two more, obviously, are working hard, and having the vision to build a successful business. 30


The Earliest

NSC Moosomin RR2Y

NorthStar Genetics’ earliest maturing soybean variety!

With NSC Moosomin RR2Y, our earliest maturing soybean variety, you can be confident in growing successful soybeans in Saskatchewan. At NorthStar Genetics, we know beans! www.weknowbeans.com

© NorthStar Genetics 2014 ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup WeatherMAX®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. ©2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.


Foster’s Focus A New Face in Crop Inspection A column by Sarah Foster

I am very pleased to be a part of the Growing Soybeans network, and this season I am going to cover a three-part series on the Canadian seed system. Canada is known world wide for producing top quality seed that is envied by many. We will kick off with crop inspection, the first step in the Canadian seed quality system. Private crop inspection has become a reality in Canada as the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) handed over the services to 25 independent Authorized Seed Crop Inspection Services (ASCIS), which will equate to about 189 crop inspectors. The new program known as Alternate Service Delivery covers all of Canada reaching every pedigreed seed grower. To date, the Canadian Seed Growers Associations (CSGA) office has received over 7,000 applications, and inspectors are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to step into the fields as soon as the crops are ready. 20/20 Seed Labs Inc. has been conducting private crop inspections since 1994 for hybrid canola and are very familiar with the system. We have provided the industry with a third-party unbiased service using our own authorized crop inspectors that are highly trained to deliver timely reports that translate into products that are guaranteed to be genetically and mechanically pure. Today the CFIA and CSGA have opened the gates for a wider-reaching program that allows for cereals, flax, pulses, and soybeans to be inspected in this manner. We as an industry are fortunate to be a part of this change; it allows us to be a significant driver in the quality of seed and crops offered for commercial use in Canada, today. Canadian Certified Seed is recognized worldwide. Using certified seed is one of the best management tools you can use for your farm. The certified blue tag issued by CFIA means that the seed has been inspected and tested using officially recognized methods. The Blue Tag brand is so well known it allows you to access new marketing opportunities as well as new varieties that are bred with specific attributes for traits, such as drought, insect and disease tolerance, as well as vigour. The inspection process initially adopted in 1904 with the formation of the Seed Growers Association has been built on a series of 32

rules. Only individuals who are members of the Canadian Seed Growers Association can apply for pedigreed seed inspection. An application for seed inspection must be received online by the CSGA office. This year the application had to be in by July 10 for soybeans. Each grower is given a unique crop certificate number with intelligence built into the number. For example: Crop Certificate # 14-9 123456-401 14 represents the year the seed was grown, 9 represents the province in which it was grown, and 123456 is the unique grower number. 4 is the code for certified seed and 01 the number of certificates issued for that field. Seed variety names can only be used if accompanied by a crop certificate number. There are many quality parameters that have to be met prior to crop inspection; the standards for these requirements are adhered to provide proof of integrity and soundness and can be found in Circular 6, The Canadian Regulations and Procedures for Pedigreed Seed Crop Production, which is published by the CSGA. It may surprise you to find out that the previous land use of four to five years prior has to be documented. Seed growers can plan for years as to where the seed is going to be planted to ensure that there is no risk of volunteer growth from previous crops. Varietal purity must be maintained at each stage of the crop production and this will also incorporate the isolation distance from one field to another. The field borders have to be maintained in a manner that objectionable weeds and seeds that are difficult to separate are kept at a distance. There are also maximum tolerances for varietal off types. After the application has been accepted, the CSGA office will notify the ASCIS who has signed up for that region and seed grower, who has a contract with the same afore mentioned ASCIS. The seed grower and ASCIS will then determine when the field will be ready for inspection and must give the CSGA 48 hours notice prior to inspection. On the day of inspection, the inspector will notify the grower that they are coming and to have the seed tags ready for verification.

It is important to note that we have to be sure the seed planted matches the tags and the field report. The inspector makes sure that the land use history, acres planted, lot numbers and crop certificate numbers are correct. A pattern for walking the field is established — usually a diamond pattern that touches all four points of the field, which really means you are walking to the north, south, east, and west regions of the field. During our time in the field we make six counts of 10,000 plants each looking for off-types, objectionable weeds, weeds that are difficult to separate, and other crops. As a purity analyst I always approach this as if I’m looking at this field on my purity board, since the outcome of the inspection impacts the mechanical and varietal purity. Once the inspection is complete, a signed crop inspection report is submitted electronically on the new CSGA software and is available to the seed grower. These important rules maintain yield, quality, and disease resistance through crop rotation, as well as other distinguishing characteristics. Following the small quantity of plant breeders’ seed all the way to the certified level gives us the assurance that we are maintaining a system in the value chain of always delivering a sound and world-recognized product with specific plant breeding achievements to farmers and the food industry that are true to type, keeping Western Canadian seed amongst the highest quality and most trusted in the world.


Early Riser

NSC Reston RR2Y

Get top yield performance early!

NSC Reston RR2Y is one of the highest yielding soybean varieties for the early maturing soybean category. With its tall stature and exceptional podding, this bean will give you confidence in growing soybeans. At NorthStar Genetics,RESTON we know ADbeans! www.weknowbeans.com

© NorthStar Genetics 2014 ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup WeatherMAX®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. ©2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.


The Big Guns

NSC Gladstone RR2Y

Literally, our biggest branching soybean plant.

NSC Gladstone RR2Y is an early maturing soybean variety with great yield potential that is ideal for planting in wide rows due to its outstanding branching. At NorthStar Genetics, we know beans! www.weknowbeans.com

© NorthStar Genetics 2014 ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Roundup Ready® crops contain genes that confer tolerance to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides. Roundup® brand agricultural herbicides will kill crops that are not tolerant to glyphosate. Genuity and Design®, Genuity Icons, Genuity®, Roundup Ready 2 Yield®, Roundup Ready®, Roundup WeatherMAX®, and Roundup® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC, Monsanto Canada, Inc. licensee. Respect the Refuge and Design is a registered trademark of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. Used under license. ©2012 Monsanto Canada, Inc.

Growing Soybeans Issue 11 : Fall 2014