Growing Soybeans Issue 14

Page 1

For Western Canadian Soybean Growers

Issue 14 / Fall 2015


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.








© NorthStar Genetics 2015 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 Editor Jenny Flaman Art Director Kate Klassen Copy Editors Chantelle Toews Heidi Brown Vicki Manness Contributors Andrea Hilderman Ron Friesen John Dietz Bruce Barker Cheryl Manness Photographers Anita Anseeuw

Printed by Transcontinental Imaging For another copy of Growing Soybeans call 204-262-2425 or e-mail For a digital copy visit

All About the Seed pg 3 Tips for Pricing New-Crop Soybeans This Fall pg 4 If It Seems Too Good to Be True... pg 9 To Seed or Not to Seed? pg 12 Breakthrough Maturity Opens Doors in Non-Traditional Soybean Acres pg 14 Dicamba 101 pg 17 PollinAid. What Is It? And Does It Work? pg 20 Soybean Nutrition: The Manitoba Perspective pg 23 GMOs and Frankenfoods pg 26

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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.

All About the Seed


nother harvest season is underway, and we would like to congratulate all of our hardworking soybean growers. Thank you for putting in the love and attention you do to produce this valuable crop.

farmers, largely due to weather. Many parts of Western Canada saw uncharacteristically high temperatures for April, May, and June, leading many to wonder whether seeding could happen early. But of course, we couldn’t have been finished with snow and frost in March.

Soybeans are a widely-used commodity around the globe, and as of 2013 Canada was the seventh largest exporter of soybeans in the world. That means our soybeans are making a difference. That is why we find it so important to provide as much information as we can to Western Canadian soybean producers to help them grow the highest performing soybean crops.

In response to these quandaries, we asked Terry Buss, Farm Production Advisor for the Government of Manitoba, should growers have seeded soybeans in early May this year based on the weather? See his response on page 12.

In this issue we are all about the seed. From new varieties to seeding to GMOs, we have covered a lot of seeding ground. This was an interesting year for many

We’ve also looked into some new traits and varieties. We’re giving you a tutorial on the new Dicamba treatment from Monsanto, and NorthStar Genetics has a new variety that could be the earliest maturing on the market for 2016. We’ve also tackled some possibly controversial topics in this issue. Is all

the hype behind no-GMOs valid? Is there scientific research to back up the claims that GMOs cause health problems? Will we be able to sustainably produce food to support the growing population without GMOs? Also, why are growers still choosing common seed over Certified? What are the risks in common seed, especially old technology, and are those risks worth it? Along those same lines, we want to make sure you understand the seed you are putting in the ground. Seed plays a huge roll in the productivity of your crop, so why spend money to produce a crop that may not perform as it could? Be careful who you buy seed from and be sure it is of high quality. More on this topic on page 9. With much more inside, we hope you enjoy this issue of Growing Soybeans and take some helpful tidbits with you into your next soybean season.


Tips For Pricing New-Crop Soybeans This Fall By John Dietz


About this time a year ago, the head fell off the soybean market. In three months, prices tumbled about 25 percent.


hat was hard to watch, but it wasn’t the only thing happening in markets. About the same time, Canada’s Loonie nose-dived in the ocean of U.S. dollars – and saved the shirts of many Canadian soybean growers. In six months, the Loonie plunged about 20 percent in value.

This season, a bit of price recovery has happened for both soybeans and loonies. Things have been better, but they could be worse, too. Seasoned market observers say the solution as we go into an uncertain 2015 harvest is to: 1) know what you really need for a selling price, 2) search hard for good selling opportunities and 3) be ready to snag a good price when you see it. Growing Soybeans asked for some thoughts on what’s ahead from Ag Canada and from an active soybean trader in Winnipeg.

AAFC perspective According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), Canadian soybean prices are being supported by the lower Canadian dollar. It lost nearly 20 percent of its value over the past year. As a result, Canadian soybean prices are 20 percent higher than they would have been if the dollar was at the same level as last summer. According to James Watson, media relations officer in the AAFC Public Affairs branch in Ottawa, Canada is producing about 90 percent more soybeans than it was a decade ago. Total production slightly exceeded six million tonnes (Mt) in 2014.

Ontario had a record crop of 3.79 Mt. Manitoba had record acres and set a production record of 1.1 Mt, placing it in a strong second position.


Since 2005, Watson notes, soybean production in Eastern Canada has increased more than 50 percent. Meanwhile, Manitoba soybean production has rocketed 2,300 percent.

The spectacular growth into Western Canada is part of the long-run expansion of soybean production north and westward across North America. In Western Canada, the expansion was aided by the availability of shorter season and more cold tolerant varieties.

World soybean prices peaked in 201213 and began a long-run down trend, Watson said. Factors that supported the rise in prices included sharply rising Chinese soybean imports, sharply higher U.S. fuel use of soy-oil and consecutive droughts across the U.S. and South America. Since then, the pace of growth in soybean consumption has leveled off. World production of soybeans increased sharply with back-to-back bumper crops in the U.S. and South America, pressuring prices to move downwards


and beginning a long-run down trend, Watson said.

For the ending crop year, 2014-15, the U.S. farm-gate price of soybeans is estimated at $10.05 a bushel, compared to $13.00 a bushel a year earlier.

In June, for the 2015-16 crop year, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) was estimating a farm gate price for soybeans at U.S. $8.25-9.75/bu.

For Canada, the AAFC estimated 2014-15 soybean prices in southwest Ontario (Chatham) at $400 to $430 a tonne. Early forecasts (June) for 2015-16 for Canadian soybean prices were $370 to $410 a tonne. Watson said that for the new crop year, 2015-16, soybean production in Canada was forecast to decrease to 5.45 Mt.

Soybean production in Western Canada, including Saskatchewan, was expected to decrease marginally to 1.24 Mt from 1.27 Mt on expected lower yields and a slowdown in the pace of expansion.

In Eastern Canada, production was forecast to decrease significantly to 4.22 Mt from 4.78 Mt last year. Ontario yields are expected to return to long-run “normal” from the records set last year. Going into the new harvest, the AAFC outlook is that Prairie farmers have “a number of good options” for marketing soybeans.

Watson said, “They can sell the soybeans to the local elevator company, which will ship them either west through the Port of Vancouver or south into North and South Dakota.

“Given the proximity to U.S. markets, soybeans can be trucked southwards; this can be arranged by the local elevator or a grain dealer. It must be kept in mind that growers should work with a company licensed by the Canadian Grain Commission and which has security in case of a default. “There is also some limited processing of soybeans on the Prairies. Farmers should take stock of what processing

facilities exist within a one-to-two hour drive of the farm.”

Ag-Chieve perspective

“We see adequate ending stocks of U.S. soybeans heading into harvest this year. The big influence globally is the record carryout supplies worldwide. That will definitely limit the ability of the market to move higher,” says Frank Letkeman, Winnipeg, marketing consultant for AgChieve Corporation. Letkeman manages the special crops side of Ag-Chieve for clients in Western Canada. Going into the 2015 harvest, he says growers need to focus on finding profitable margins.

Letkeman says, “First, know what your costs are, with all your costs in the basket, and know what looks like a profitable price to sell at. Then, look for pricing opportunities.”

A “good margin” will be enough to manage your full cash flow needs and all of your space needs on all of your crops. To generate cash flow, you may want to sell one crop and hold other crops in the bins for possible price appreciation later in the marketing year.

He cautions his growers on one point.

“Soybeans can have many stages. They can lead you to believe there’s going to be a good crop or a poor crop, and end up turning around a bit later. Make sure you don’t overextend yourself and take on too much production risk before you have a good idea of the real yield potential,” he says.

Despite huge growth in soybean acres in Manitoba, local marketing opportunities haven’t changed much. There’s just a few crushers and processors of soybeans within the province. Rail will take shipments east or west, and some trucking companies will take soybeans south to the huge U.S. market. “What’s overlooked is, possibly, the use of the transportation system. Historically, we’ve relied on rail service and rail service points to deliver our grain and then get it to market.

“Don’t overlook the use of commercial trucks, or the commercial trucking industry, to haul that grain to a profitable price point. Maybe allow that trucker to spend time behind the wheel versus taking it yourself as a grower. “You may view trucking as an expense, but calculate the cost of freight by truck and the benefit to the price. If it’s a net gain, definitely look at using the commercial truck transportation system to deliver your grain for you,” Letkeman advises. For the Ag-Chieve perspective, the weak Loonie is a big help for growers who can deliver into the U.S. “That has allowed the U.S. price, converted to the Canadian dollar, to

surpass what’s available in the Canadian market,” he says.

Exporting takes documentation that may seem daunting. Don’t let that stop or close an opportunity. “There are companies that are willing to provide that service,” Letkeman says. “Some commercial truck freight companies will help you through that process. The hardest documentation is the first one. After that, when you’re familiar with what’s needed, look for pricing opportunities in the U.S. to market either directly or through some brokerage firm.”

So, even before you know your full costs or have a realistic yield expectation, set yourself up for profitable sales opportunities. Keep in contact with local markets and establish contacts with markets across the border.

“Google. Just keep hunting, keep making phone calls. Make sure your name is out there for whatever potential buyers you find,” Letkeman says. “Google is a good tool to use. You need a marketing tool box, with tools to fit the situation.”

As harvest gets closer, it becomes more urgent to pin down costs and required profit margins so you can strike a deal when it comes along. It may not last long. “Look for pricing opportunities, like individual buyers wanting to gain coverage on their pre-sales for new crop supplies. They may pay a premium just to get coverage.

“Be prepared to recognize a premium when it’s offered, and be willing to strike on it fairly quickly. You’re not alone as a seller. You’re competing with neighbours and with farms across the border.

“Repeat, recognize a good price when you see it and be willing to strike on it. Don’t necessarily try to stretch it out or hope you’re going to get 25 cents more. Recognize a profitable price and be fairly quick to jump on it,” says Letkeman.


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If It Seems Too Good to Be True... By Bruce Barker Planting original Roundup Ready common soybeans brings risks.


uyer beware. That’s the best advice going if you are thinking of purchasing common Roundup Ready bin-run seed from the tailgate of a travelling salesman. What variety is it? Is it a mixture of varieties? How can you be sure of the maturity? Is it really worth the saving in seed costs?


“The biggest thing we focus on when talking to growers about common Roundup Ready soybean seed is that the grower has significant risk if using common seed. He doesn’t necessarily know what type of soybean he is buying and there is usually absolutely no warranty on the seed should something go wrong, like herbicide damage or poor germination,” says Lorne Hadley, executive director of the Canadian Plant Technology Agency (CPTA).

of intellectual property for its member companies.

The CPTA is an association of seed companies formed to help ensure that intellectual property protection is valued and respected. It primarily works to educate growers and the seed industry about intellectual property issues, and also conducts monitoring and enforcement

Hadley cautions that just because the herbicide trait patent has expired doesn’t necessarily mean that a variety may be saved and sold as common seed. Other patents may apply to a specific variety, it may be covered by Plant Breeder Rights, and the variety may have been covered by


The patent on the original Roundup Ready (RR1) soybean technology expired in 2011 and growers had their first opportunity to legally plant RR1 common soybean seed in 2013. A different patent protects Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans and Technology Use Agreements still exist for these varieties.

a purchase contract with a seed company that limits the selling of the crop for seed purposes. “Any of these conditions might make you liable for growing the seed,” says Hadley. “Perhaps you already committed to not save your seed in the original contract. Most companies spell out the conditions quite clearly.”

What is common seed? Even common seed is covered by regulations. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency regulates the sale of common seed under the Seeds Act, and requires all common seed advertised for sale to be tested for purity and germination. If

requested by the purchaser, the seed seller must provide purity and germination test results, in writing, within 30 days of the request. A label must be attached to the bag indicating the name and address of the seller, Grade (Common No. 1 or Common No. 2 or Common), net weight, precautionary symbols if necessary (i.e. if treated with a pesticide) and the lot number.

elevator. This is highly unlikely, as seed isn’t typically segregated by variety at an elevator unless it is an Identity Preserved variety (in which case it would likely be protected by a contract) and most grain handling companies protect themselves against liability by refusing to sell grain for seed.

The common seed cannot be represented as a variety name. It must be sold as Common No. 1 soybean seed, not as Common No. 1 Warren soybeans, for example.

Sellers of common seed often target new growers who are hoping to reduce the financial cost and risk of a new crop. Hadley advises that they would be better off going with Certified seed and all the technology and benefits that come with it.

“There is an open question right now about whether common seed can be advertised as containing the original Roundup Ready trait. CFIA has not said it cannot be done or conducted enforcement on the use of it, but if the seller is making the Roundup Ready trait claim, he may have to prove that the seed contains the trait by submitting the seed for testing,” says Hadley.

“Companies are good at helping growers produce a crop. When you look at soybeans, many of the seed companies have agronomists in the field to help farmers grow a successful crop, which has helped to expand soybean acreage,” says Hadley. “If you’re buying seed from the back of a half-ton, how are you going to reach them for advice?”

Aside from the regulations governing the sale of common seed, Hadley says there are significant risks to using common RR1 seed. First and foremost is the risk of herbicide damage from glyphosate. Without having a certified test and contract with the seller, getting warranty or compensation would be virtually impossible. If the grower is taking the seller’s word on the presence of the Roundup Ready trait, he is assuming significant risk of crop failure.

A final issue may be evolving regarding crop insurance. Hadley says that in Saskatchewan, the policy doesn’t explicitly say that crop insurance won’t cover common seed. However, if common seed was used and documentation can’t be provided that good seed was used, the use of poor seed could jeopardize the claim.

A grower also has no assurance that the common seed is pure, of one variety, and not a mixture of varieties. Because the seed cannot be advertised as common seed of a variety name, a grower may end up with a mixture of varieties with different maturities and agronomic traits. “You can’t tell the difference between a 2100 or 2700 CHU seed. What happens if there is a mixture and you have staged maturities?” asks Hadley. “What happens if the seed germinates poorly? It is buyer beware unless you have a solid contract with the seller.” Hadley has heard reports of common soybean seed sellers claiming that they have purchased the common seed from an

“The expiry of the original Roundup Ready trait was a first for Canada and it will be interesting to see if the use of common seed gets out of hand. If the seed lot fails, that is a huge problem for the grower,” says Hadley. Perhaps the biggest reasons, though, to grow Certified seed of newer RR2 varieties is the continual progression of improved agronomic traits, earlier maturity, and higher yield. The financial returns can far outweigh the cost savings of common seed.

With comments from Jennifer Seward, General Manager of the Manitoba Seed Growers Association, and Peter Entz, Assistant Vice President for Seed and Trades at Richardson International and past president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association, here is a snippet of the risks associated with common seed. “Firstly, you need to be mindful that the seed purchase you are making is legitimate, and that the product is not protected by contract right or plant breeders’ rights,” says Entz “There’s quality assurance in knowing the purity of a seed,” he says. At the end of the day the cost savings are minimal on a per acre basis. Not to mention you don’t have the quality assurance of Certified seed,” says Seward. “Every kernel of seed produced under the Certified system in Canada has many checks and balances of quality assurance to help the producer mitigate their risk,” concludes Seward. “Because we all know that farming is risky enough.” 11

To Seed or Not to Seed? By Ron Friesen


t was an up-and-down planting season for Manitoba soybean growers this year, with Mother Nature lobbing repeated curves at producers’ seeding plans.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen. Frost damage to soybeans appeared to have been spotty and the 2015 crop seemed to have survived in reasonable shape, despite the erratic weather.

An unseasonably warm, dry spell in late April and early May saw some growers hitting fields early to take advantage of the warm soil. The following week, temperatures took a nosedive, soils cooled off, and some seeds sat in the ground for over 20 days before showing any sign of emergence. After conditions finally warmed up again and growers got going in earnest, a killing frost swept across much of the province in late May, wiping out canola crops and threatening to do the same to emerging soybeans.

The highly variable seeding conditions growers experienced this spring raises an important question: is there an ideal time to plant soybeans? The answer is yes. But the weather will do what it wants and sometimes you have to make the best of the planting conditions you get.


That’s the word from Terry Buss, a Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) farm production advisor in eastern Manitoba, where more than one out of every three acres in Buss’s

service area are seeded to soybeans. “It’s a process where we’re trying to make the best decisions, given the fact that we rarely have the optimal conditions we would like for as long as we need them,” Buss says. Like most crops, soybeans tend to yield best when seeded early. Of all the major crops, the effect of seeding dates on crop yields influence soybeans most directly. According to a survey by the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), relative yields for soybeans are highest when planted during the first week of May. When soybeans are planted after the first week in June, yields fall sharply.

Just because you can plant right up until the moment it’s cold doesn’t mean you should.

Is the moral of the story to plant soybeans early for the best yields? Not so fast. The MASC survey is based on data collected between 2008 and 2012. Historically, very few acres are planted during the first week of May as compared to the following three weeks. Buss says that while it’s true that average yields from soybeans seeded during the first week of May were higher, only a few thousand acres were planted during that time. So it’s not a fair comparison. Buss says MAFRD recommends a threeweek planting window for soybeans. It spans the second, third, and fourth weeks of May, depending on weather conditions. MAFRD puts the normal start date for seeding at May 10 but it actually averages around May 15 because calendar dates vary from year to year. “We really want to get beans in before the end of May if we can,” says Buss. Although it may be tempting to seed early if conditions are right, the risk of frost is very real. At Altona, located in the heart of the Red River Valley where 80 percent of Manitoba’s soybeans are grown, the probability of frost on May 1 is 90 percent, according to weather data. On May 15, the risk is only 50 percent. In other words, the earlier soybeans are seeded, the greater the risk of frost damage. But what if the ground is nice and warm on May 1? A rule of thumb is that the soil temperature should be at 10°C at 10 a.m. for at least two consecutive days before planting should start. Sometimes you get those conditions at the beginning of May. When that occurs, shouldn’t growers plant early to take advantage of the possibility of higher yields?

Maybe. But Buss points out you have to weigh the risk. Planting during the recommended three-week window may result in later-emerging plants. But at least they will begin to emerge when the risk of frost is lower, says Buss. “If you can dodge the frost and plant into soils that are warm enough at the right time, you have some higher yield potential. But it’s an awful lot of risk to dodge,” he says. “If we back off to the recommended planting window, those risks are a lot less hard to deal with and it’s much more likely you’ll get the right conditions.” If the mercury does fall below 0°C when plants are starting to emerge, don’t panic. Buss says soybeans during the early seedling stage have some tolerance to temperatures as low as -1.7°C for short periods of time. If seedlings have hardened off by cool temperatures for several days, temperatures as low as -2.2°C can be tolerated. Only when true leaves emerge do soybeans become more susceptible to freezing temperatures. And if frost damage does occur, plants may still recover. Buss says soybeans have the ability to compensate for low plant populations by branching out, developing more pods per plant and seeds per pod, and increasing the seed weight. Another danger of planting too early into cold soil is “imbibitional chilling” of planted seeds by cold soil water. Remember, the water in cold ground is also cold. Buss says cell membranes in soybean seeds are very fragile. If they absorb soil water colder than 8°C within the first 24 hours after planting, cotyledons and embryos can be damaged and seedlings

may die. Really cold soil water around 4.5°C will cause germination failure. A cold rain within 24 hours of planting can cause seed damage to sneak up unexpectedly. Buss recommends planting only if soil temperatures are expected to remain above 8°C for two days after planting and a cold rainfall is not expected. Another seeding tip is to know when to park your planter if the weather is about to change. Take this year, for example. Conditions were warm during the last week of April and the first week of May, but forecasters were warning that cold weather was on the way. Buss says producers should have stopped planting right then instead of carrying on and putting seeds into ground that had suddenly cooled off. “Just because you can plant right up until the moment it’s cold doesn’t mean you should,” he states. Buss says seeding is a compromise. You consider all the factors, make seeding decisions around them, and try to stay within the recommended seeding window. That said, situations sometimes force growers to plant when conditions are not ideal. Buss notes some producers have thousands of acres to plant and time may be short. Some planting into sub-optimal conditions may be necessary just to get the crop in on time. “You try to make the best of a bad situation,” Buss says. “There are years when it’s really hard to avoid conditions that are not up to snuff. It’s not a clearcut yes or no because we’re dealing with weather phenomena and we have a crop with requirements that are not like some of the other crops we grow.”


Breakthrough Maturity Opens Doors In Non-Traditional Soybean Areas By Andrea Hilderman


There’s a new hero on the horizon – well, perhaps hero is an overstatement, but there’s no overstating the excitement and enthusiasm in Sheila Heide’s voice as she talks about NSC Watson RR2Y, the newest soybean variety in NorthStar Genetics’ portfolio. Heide is the Saskatchewan district sales manager for NorthStar Genetics and she believes NSC Watson RR2Y is the breakthrough needed for her growers.


’m so impressed with NSC Watson RR2Y so far,” says Heide. “It’s early season vigor is nothing short of amazing. The plants are very tall with excellent pod height and good branching. This is critically important for those growers trying soybeans for the first time – Watson shouldn’t require a flex header in order to get these soybeans safely in the bin.” “Watson is also very early flowering – a good indication that the maturity of 2225 heat units is very real in our growing area,” says Heide. “This is going to be a huge opportunity.” In those areas of Saskatchewan where growers are getting into soybeans, the rotation is primarily wheat/canola. Having an early maturing variety is key for success, but having a variety like NSC Watson RR2Y that appears to have the plant height and pod height it does, definitely helps with ensuring growers are successful with soybeans in their first forays into this exciting and growing crop. Heide also believes that growers in the more traditional soybean growing areas will find a fit with NSC Watson RR2Y. “If Watson continues to show the strengths it has so far, it’s going to become widely adopted,” she says. “It’s estimated that it’s about two-tofour days earlier than our next earliest variety NSC Moosomin RR2Y based on CHU ratings. By seeding multiple varieties with differing maturities, growers can spread out the risk and the work at harvest.” NSC Watson RR2Y is the newest variety NorthStar Genetics has in its portfolio. Priority this season is on seed increase production and field trials across the entire soybean growing areas. “We expect some limited commercial seed availability this fall,” says Heide. “However, the key for us is to ramp up seed supply for full commercial launch in fall 2016, as well as increase the number and scope of our trials next season so we can get more growers out to see it.”


On track for success in soybeans As a leading retailer of agricultural inputs and services, Crop Production Services (CPS) supplies growers with the right combination of products, technology and expertise best suited for your land. With early and ultra-early options available from new soybean genetics, soybeans will quickly expand into new acres in Western Canada, meeting the demand for export and local markets. CPS sources strong genetics from industry leading soybean seed suppliers. These products are tested through our Soybean Performance Check trials to assist in recommending the varieties that best meet our customers’ needs. Strengthened by access to the best technologies, CPS is investing in the infrastructure to handle and treat seed for this easy to grow, high value crop. We’re growing to support your cropping plans. Our CPS advisors are dedicated to helping our customers achieve their maximum success.

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Dicamba 101 By Andrea Hilderman

Dicamba is not a new product, in fact it’s been around for decades. However, what’s old is new again, at least when it comes to a more comprehensive approach to growing a clean crop of soybeans.


onsanto’s new trait technology, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans consists of two components that will change the way farmers approach weed control. Today, dicamba would kill Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans. The additional stack of dicamba tolerance in Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans is a big leap forward. As well as the added dicamba trait in soybeans, Xtendimax with VaporGrip Technology and Roundup Xtend with VaporGrip Technology (currently under regulatory review) have been formulated as new chemistry options for use in the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. According to Joe Vink, Weed Management Technology Lead at Monsanto, dicamba is going to prove to be a very valuable tool in the farmer’s toolbox going forward.


“There are a few weed species glyphosate doesn’t do a good job on,” he says. “Weeds like wild buckwheat, Lady’s thumb, bigger weeds, and of course, glyphosate resistant weeds. Presenting two effective and different modes of action gives better efficacy and will go a long way to delaying the onset of herbicide resistance.” “The other aspect is that dicamba pairs extremely well with Roundup,” he explains. “Both herbicides are absorbed rapidly. Both are translocated systemically, but both act differently on different targets within the plant.” Monsanto views Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans and the herbicide premix components as an effective way to broaden the spectrum of weed control and reducing herbicide resistance issues. This technology has served farmers well for two decades, and with the ability to stack traits, it has a long useful shelf life ahead of it. “An additional benefit dicamba also brings is a residual element,” says Vink. “Roundup will kill the weeds present, but any weeds that are still 18

under the soil are unaffected. They can continue their development and emerge to compete with the crop.” Dicamba, on the other hand and depending on the rate it is applied at, has residual activity for up to 14 days. “This residual activity is effective against such problem weeds as wild buckwheat, lamb’s quarters and redroot pigweed,” he explains. “Getting this kind of weed control early in the crops’ development is going to increase yield potential. By reducing or eliminating weed pressure until the crop has a chance to cover the soil with its canopy and compete more effectively, maximizes the potential for high yields.” Keeping fields clean and relatively weedfree during the season not only increases yield potential in that crop, it also can increase yield potential in following crops and be impactful in reducing the build-up of herbicide resistance. “Starting with clean fields after using Roundup to kill weeds present and leveraging dicamba’s residual activity to keep fields cleaner longer allows for more

timely in-crop herbicide applications. When weeds are less abundant and smaller at the time of in-crop applications there is less chance of selecting weed biotypes with resistant genes. Multiple modes of action are a key recommendation in the prevention of herbicide resistance, keeping the weeds “off-balance.” Roundup and dicamba together can be applied pre-plant, pre-emerge, or postemergence up to the R1 growth stage in soybeans (first flower). “With dicamba in the mix, the window is a bit narrower for application than with Roundup alone,” says Vink. “However, that said, we still strongly recommend going in pre-plant or pre-emerge, or certainly no later than the second trifoliate stage to remove weeds. Early weed control is critical to maximizing yield and the residual benefits of dicamba are more valuable.” So where will this new technology fit? “In an overall diverse crop rotation, farmers will be able to integrate this technology into their rotations and gain many important benefits,” says Vink. “For

“That’s why dicamba and Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans are such an exciting development,” says Vink.

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans will not be tolerant to other Group 4 herbicides such at 2, 4-D and MCPA. “This new stacked trait is specifically tolerant to dicamba when used as recommended,” explains Vink. “Growers will also have to be cognizant of the fact that existing dicamba premixes and co-packs on the market may kill soybeans. The trait confers tolerance to dicamba as well as the existing Roundup technology. Farmers will need to know what trait or stacked traits they have and ensure they don’t make any costly errors when they spray.”

Dicamba itself is a Group 4 synthetic auxin or growth regulator. It has a long history of use in both Eastern and Western Canada. “At one time, dicamba was one of the most popular post-emerge herbicide in corn in Eastern Canada,” says Vink. “Now that Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans is bringing dicamba as an option in soybeans, I think growers will find it as a useful tool to combat weeds on their farms.”

Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans has all the required domestic approvals in place; however, some key export approvals are expected to come through in 2015 and the new stacked trait technology should launch commercially in 2016. New stacked technologies in soybeans that offer better weed control, multiple modes of action, and a better approach to herbicide resistant weeds is good news all around.

instance, there is a significant amount of research that shows tank-mixing with multiple herbicides with different modes of action within a season is a more effective strategy to reducing the build-up of resistance than rotating herbicide modes of action from year to year. Every time you have the chance to target a weed, ideally you should be hitting it with a tank mix containing multiple modes of action.”

Dicamba can be effective in controlling Canada thistle 19

PollinAID. What Is It? And, Does It Work? By John Dietz A new product’s manufacturer is making strong claims on yield increases based on a limited set of data. Will the apparent advantage hold true with wider usage and more seasons?


t a possible three-to-one return on investment or greater, a new product for soybeans, canola, and other open-pollinated crops has caught the attention of a well-known Manitoba-based agronomic marketing firm. It’s called PollinAID. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re in good company, but that could change. The product was first tested in 2013 in Western Canada at just a few locations. However, last year, trials increased to about 40 farms on the Prairies and they now have field-size results. This year it’s commercially available for the first time on a broad basis. Next year, who knows? Craig Davidson, managing partner of Taurus Ag Marketing, in Virden, Manitoba, along with his business partner Daren Bryant, were probably the first guys in the Prairies to hear about PollinAID. Late in 2012, they got a call from an Abbotsford, B.C.-based group, asking if Taurus could set up some broad-based agriculture research trials the following year in Western Canada.


Davidson and Bryant were a little skeptical but listened. When Craig and Daren started Taurus back in 2001, their vision was to provide sales, marketing, and agronomic

support in fertility and agronomy. They would be an interface, helping new technology reach the market and become “discovered, proven, and broadly accepted.” Their first marketing partner as Taurus, was an analytical services company from London, Ontario: A&L Laboratories. “We’ve represented them for 14 years in Western Canada. They give us our agronomy base and push us to understand the ‘Whys’ behind the ‘Hows’,” Davidson says. The guy at the western end of that phone call was from Sri Lanka (“Ceylon” for Baby-Boomers). Ranil Waliwitiya had credentials. He had earned a master’s degree in crop science at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 2005, followed by a doctorate in toxicology in 2010 at Simon Fraser University’s biology department. The new product, PollinAID, was the first to be produced by a new company, Active AgriProducts, formed by Ranil and a partner, Andrew Riseman, another PhD. A faculty member in the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, Riseman researches sustainable food production systems and is academic director for the Centre for

Sustainable Food Systems-UBC Farm. Their website describes Active AgriProducts as, “A global leader in plant nutrient and bioactive compound research and technology,” supported by rigorous research and testing. The two have laid out plans for a line of biologically active products for wheat, canola, soybeans, pulses, potatoes, corn, berries, and greenhouse crops. Their products target the four crucial life stages of plant development – seedling establishment, leaf production, pollination and fertilization, and crop maturation. Their product design integrates two components. The first provides supplemental key nutrients, like N, P, K, or S and selected micronutrients that are key to the growth stage targeted. The second component is proprietary synthetic chemistries that improve plant health, final yield and quality. As Ranil described the first product and his needs for Taurus Ag Marketing, Davidson became more interested. Davidson says, “Once we understood what they were trying to do and what they were working on, we felt we needed to pull back more curtains. They were essentially looking at technology past the point of nutrition and promoting growth and enhancing crop production. We found it intriguing and the fact that they were working with a mandate to increase sustainability in agriculture gave it that futuristic feel. That’s where our business relationship started.” Taurus helped them “connect the dots” by setting up tests with research groups and a few private growers. The treatments were applied early in flowering stages. Initial tank mixes with fungicides have been tested and approved by Active AgriProducts. PollinAID was tested on soybeans in Manitoba in 2013 and 2014 by third-party research groups as well as individuals and groups like Double Diamond Farm Supply, Precision Ag, and Redfern Farm Services. Over the two years of third-party research,

Davidson says the average soybean yield was 39 bushels per acre. On small plots treated with PollinAID, the average yield was 47.4 bushels per acre, or 21 percent increase. PollinAID was also tested on canola in 2013 and 2014 by the Alberta non-profit groups Smokey and Mackenzie Applied Research and Demonstration Associations and by the Manitoba-based contract research group, Ag-Quest Inc. Over the two years of third-party research, Davidson says the average canola yield was 48.5 bushels per acre. On small plots treated with PollinAID, the average yield was 56.3 bushels per acre, or 17 percent increase.

Explanation Soybeans are one of many flowering plants that rely on cross-pollination, mostly by insects like bees. Pollen must be carried from one open flower to be deposited on another flower on another plant – but that process can have troubles. For instance, dried-out pollen is dead to its purpose. Ranil explains, “Plants can’t control pollen transfer. It’s about environmental factors, like bees or other pollinating agents. Our product has nutritional compounds, pheromones that attract bees, and a unique pollen hydrating agent. It covers the pollen, keeping it moist until it arrives at a stigma.” The greatest danger is that pollen may dry out as it travels to the next flower. If it arrives safely, live pollen signals the ovary that it is ready to fertilize it. If it’s dried out and dead, no fertilization and no yield. As a formulation chemist, Ranil synthesized a component of the amino-acid or pheromone complex that is produced by bees and mixed with pollen. PollinAID also has a mixture of traditional nutrients as well as synthesized organic acids.

Nutritional components include 8 percent nitrogen in amine form, helping to sustain high enzyme and hormonal activity during flowering, 4 percent phosphorous to help with energy requirements during the process, and 12 percent potash to help regulate anther opening, pollen hydration/ imbibition, and pollen tube growth. Boron, at 3 percent, is chemically tied to the nitrogen. At this growth stage, boron is critical for pollen viability, seed set, metabolism, and many functions relating to plant health.

Interpretation In its third year of commercial operation, Active AgriProducts has reached into markets for fruit growers in Eastern Canada, California, Georgia, and Florida. It is also introducing PollinAID in Minnesota and the Dakotas and is investigating a larger production facility in Western Canada. Two major industry players for agricultural chemicals are studying the performance and the chemistry. “If you can mix a seed treatment and a nutritional product for crop growth, that has big market potential,” Ranil says. Taurus continues to be deeply involved. “What’s engaging us is that, when we average out the grower trials, it comes very close to what the independent third-party research has shown. For a grower trial perspective, soybeans averaged more than four bushels yield increase and canola was closer to six bushels,” Davidson says. “Based on the success we had last year we’re going to see PollinAID go on a significant amount of acres across Western Canada. We’ll still continue our grower trials, too. That’s how we operate. When you work in the area of delivering new technologies to agriculture, you have to continue to define the value to a point of broad-based acceptance. I don’t think that will ever change.”



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Soybean Nutrition: The Manitoba Perspective

Growing Soybeans asked Rick Storoschuk, Sales Agronomist at GJ Chemical, Arnaud, MB for insights his area has learned about soybean nutrition. Founded in 2000, the company is a full line seed (soybean, canola, corn, and sunflowers), chemical, liquid fertilizer and custom application business. Storoschuk has been in agronomy and sales for 18 years.

Phosphorus Deficiency in Soybeans - Courtesy Mississippi State University 23

Q: Where is Arnaud in the soybean crop story?

putting on P, trying to build up soil levels, especially if the soil test calls for it.

A: When soybeans really came back and took off in Manitoba in 2005, this was one of the primary areas. Soybeans are a big part of the crop rotation in our area, up to a third of the acres for some guys.

Q: What if farmers don’t get phosphorus on in the fall?

Q: What have you learned about soybeans and phosphorus? A: We focus mostly on phosphorus and in the lighter soil areas of our region, potash as well. Mainly, we find phosphorus inadequacy. We’re growing soybeans and canola for two out of four years, and we’re limited to how much phosphorus we can put down with the seed. In the other two of those four years, when we are growing a cereal, we need to increase the amount of P that we’re putting on, to offset the soybean and canola years. If we don’t increase the amount of phosphorus we put with wheat, oats, barley, or whatever else we grow, we slowly deplete our soil phosphorus levels.

Q: What’s the limit on seed and how much phosphorus does it need? A: No more than 20 pounds with the seed. A 35-bushel soybean crop will use about 35 pounds of P, roughly a pound of P per bushel.

Q: How does that compare to other crops there? A: A 60 bu. wheat crop will remove about 40 pounds, 40 bu. canola uses about 40 pounds, but again we’re limited by risk of seed injury with too much seed placed P.

Q: So how do you apply the phosphorus? A: Soybeans like a phosphorus-rich soil, as opposed to seed-placed. We’re seeing a trend to broadcasting and incorporating or banding phosphorus in the fall to build up the soil P levels. Guys are putting on 50-60 lbs/acre of actual P (around 100 pounds of product) for the soybeans and for future crops. It’s not very efficient, but it works. In theory seed-placed is most efficient, but when you’re limited to how much you can put with the seed, this is a pretty good option. We’re starting to see a lot more spreaders and air seeders in the fall


A: They just go the limit with what they can apply with seed and draw down their soil reserves. They’ll replace it when they can, either with wheat next year, or incorporated in the fall. By broadcasting and incorporating in the fall on those deficient soils, they’re looking to the future, not so much the next crop. It gets phosphorus in the ground and ready for whenever its needed.

Q: Is there another option? A: We’re starting to see guys go with a higher level of phosphorus in wheat and other crops that aren’t sensitive to seedplaced fertilizer. If they were putting 35 pounds of actual P down the tube with the wheat seed before, they might bump it up to 40 or 45 pounds or the maximum safe amount to place with wheat. It’s more than they need for the wheat, but it’s building up the soil for next year’s soybeans.

Q: What’s the experience with potassium? A: Soybean is a big user of potash, around a pound and a half per bushel. Again, you can’t apply too much potassium with your soybeans because of possible seed injury. They need to get it on ahead of time. In the fall, they’re broadcasting phosphorus on heavier soils and, on the lighter soils, it will be phosphorus and potassium.

Q: Have you seen any “wrecks” as a result from not having enough potassium? A: Red River Valley clays are not deficient in potassium, but I have seen some wrecks with potassium shortfalls on lighter or sandy soil. The outer fringes of older leaves turn yellow and eventually turn brown. Those leaves will die right off, and plants will be stunted. Eventually the plant could just shut down in severe cases. You’ll still get a crop but your yield will be drastically reduced.

Q: Can you do anything about it in-crop?

A: Not really. Potash is not mobile in the soil. It needs to be broadcast and incorporated to get into the root zone. Once you see symptoms, you can spread some potash and hope some rain will move it into the root zone, but that’s more “iffy.” It doesn’t really do a lot laying on the ground. It needs to be in the root zone.

Q: Does that catch growers by surprise? A: Not anymore, in the area that I’m in. You only have to see it once and you know. In western Manitoba, where there are new growers, potassium levels are definitely something to soil test and monitor.

Q: What’s your experience with nitrogen? A: We never really pay attention to it because soybeans fix their own nitrogen. That said, I do have a few customers who add some nitrogen to see if it can increase their yield. When nitrogen levels on a soil test come back at 25 pounds per acre, it’s a fairly low level, and we’re thinking that maybe an application of N could be a benefit. We’re trying a 50-pound soil plus applied nitrogen in front of soybeans to see if it’s a yield benefit or a yield hindrance.

Q: How would you apply supplemental nitrogen? A: One customer has been dribble banding some 28-0-0 liquid fertilizer over the top on a portion of his soybeans. The first year, there was a yield response. The second year, there was none. This year, he’s trying again with a different seeder. He mid-row banded some nitrogen away from the soybean seed – another 25 pounds an acre. We know that 50 pounds soil-applied isn’t going to be a hindrance, but too much delays nodulation. Once that nitrogen runs out, if they haven’t nodulated enough it could hold back the yield. We’re playing with it right now to see if we can find a magic number for where to be.

Q: So, some nitrogen for some situations? A: Correct. Soybeans don’t start nodulating until probably the second or third trifoliate. We’re looking at four to five weeks from planting to nodulation. To that point,

they’re living on what’s in the soil. We sometimes see a bit of a pale green, or a yellow flash at that first trifoliate stage, and not sure if it has any effect on yield. Maybe adding some N could eliminate that and add yield, but we don’t know.

Q: What looks like a safe number for supplemental N? A: I’m leaning toward that 50 to 60 pounds and soil-plus applied. If you’ve got 30 in the soil, apply another 20 to 30 pounds – but that’s not very scientific. It’s a work in progress for us.

Q: What about Sulphur and Micronutrients? A: Sulphur is usually adequate for soybeans. They aren’t a big user of sulphur. As for micros in soybeans, we haven’t observed any deficiency issues. Our soils are generally sufficient. Zinc is one we play with, but soybeans aren’t as sensitive as other crops.

Q: Have you seen any in crop opportunities to improve soybean yield potential? A: We always play around with different things in crop, primarily foliar feeding products. But, results have been mixed. Some years we see a benefit, and other years not so much. They are something to try, we won’t rule them out. We’ll get multiple guys to split fields, and get some real good comparisons.

Q: In conclusion, have you seen progress in meeting nutrition needs for soybeans? A: Yes. I don’t know that we have better methods, but we’re more aware of the phosphorus and potassium needs. We are really starting to pay attention to phosphorus. More guys are paying attention to soil test levels and want to ensure they stay adequate. The more years you have a crop in your area, the more acres that it represents, the more issues or problems that you experience. That’s how you learn.

Soybean nodules


GMOs and Frankenfoods By Cheryl Manness

What if the millions of children in the world who are suffering from malnutrition and a chronic deficiency in vitamin A could be cured by having access to rice, rich in beta-carotene, being grown in their country or town? What if farmers in developing countries who don’t have access to fertilizer could grow more productive crops with selffertilizing seed varieties? What if there were more drought-resistant crops that could produce more with less water? What if crops could be developed that would be insect resistant to allow farmers to spray less insecticide? All of these crops are in research and development, and some could be many years away from licensing, but some crops that have already been developed have been blocked, in large part, by the fear of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).


Fear. Uncertainty. Doubt. “Frankenfoods.” These are words that have become attached to genetically modified crops and foods, or what are commonly referred to as GMOs. The question is, why the fear? Why are people uncertain and skeptical about these crops and foods? Robert Saik, founder and CEO of AgriTrend Group of Companies, has invested himself in changing the conversation around GMOs through his book, The Agriculture Manifesto, and his upcoming documentary, Know GMO.

(“Big Organic”) funding the activists. A study by Academics Review showed that $2.5 billion annually is being circulated among 300 groups to spin a pro-organic, anti-GMO message and create negative propaganda against modern agriculture. If it comes down to health, science should be leading this discussion. “There has not been one documented case with a human health problem associated with eating genetically modified food,” says Saik.

“The fact that it’s complicated and that you can create fear around it and that you can conflate it with issues surrounding conspiracy theories and control of the food supply by corporate America, you’ve got a perfect powder keg to inflate passions,” says Saik. “Fear spreads amazingly quick.”

While many people worry that genetic modification introduces hazardous proteins, allergens, and toxins into the food chain, there is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from these crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food.

But the fear isn’t solely caused by the naysayers. Saik attributes the traction behind the movement in part due to the lack of defense by the agriculture and science communities. “The agriculture sector in general did a really poor job of positioning the benefits of the genetics engineering technology to the consumer,” explains Saik. “The scientific side has been remarkably silent. Science has not defended its position with respect to genetic engineering.”

Popular Science’s study, “Core Truths: 10 Common GMO Claims Debunked,” discovered that genetically engineered plants first appeared in the lab about 30 years ago and became a commercial product in 1994. Since then, more than 1,700 peer-reviewed safety studies have been published, including five lengthy reports from the National Research Council, that focus on human health and the environment. The scientific consensus is that GMOs are as safe as conventional and organic crops.

Activists behind the anti-GMO movement are using big corporations as the villain, but ironically there are big corporations

“With all of the regulations in place and all of the testing in independent studies that goes into the registration of genetically

engineered crops, there is no doubt in my mind that it is the safest product that we’ve brought to the marketplace,” corroborates Saik. “You have to believe in the integrity of our testing system and you have to believe in the track record that these crops have had to look toward the future.” Even so, Saik allows that you can’t be 100 percent certain about the safety of GMOs. “You can’t prove something is safe because ultimately it could be the next test that proves you wrong,” he says. “You can’t absolutely say that all genetically engineered crops are 100 percent safe forever in the future because that’s a double negative. That’s science.” The anti-GMO camp has been positioning GMOs as frankenfood, created by moving “foreign genes” from one species to another. But is this accurate? Humans have been modifying our food for more than ten thousand years. Most plants on earth have been genetically modified from their original wild state by domestication through a process of selecting certain genetic compositions that were more beneficial for human consumption. Genes are molecules of DNA that code for distinct traits or characteristics, such as, the colour of a flower or a plant’s ability to fight a disease or thrive in extreme environments. Traditional breeding continues today; however, the chance of successfully obtaining the desired gene combination is not guaranteed.


“The fact that it’s complicated and that you can create fear around it and that you can conflate it with issues surrounding conspiracy theories and control of the food supply by corporate America, you’ve got a perfect powder keg to inflate passions,” says Saik. “Fear spreads amazingly quick.” “In traditional breeding, undesirable genes can be transferred along with desirable genes, or while one desirable gene is gained, another is lost because the genes of both parents are mixed together and re-assorted more or less randomly in the offspring,” explains the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications. “These problems limit the improvements that plant breeders can achieve.” Genetic engineering is trying to achieve the same goal but with far more efficiency. “With GMOs, we know the genetic information we are using, we know where it goes in the genome, and we can see if it is near an allergen or a toxin or if it is going to turn another gene off,” says Peggy G. Lemaux, a plant biologist at the University of California, Berkely. “That is not true when you cross widely different varieties in traditional breeding.” A genetically modified or transgenic plant has a new combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology, which means it can contain a gene that has been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring it through pollination. “Plant breeding technology has changed more in the last five years than it has in the previous 5,000 years. With the computing technology and the data manipulation technology, we’re able to store petabytes of data and pull apart and sequence the genome of plants at a rate we never anticipated. This allows us to be very specific when it comes to introducing traits,” says Saik.


These traits are currently and will continue to be essential to maintaining the world food supply and increasing that supply as the population increases. “If you took all of the agriculture on the planet today and made it organic, we would say goodbye to about 3.5 billion people. It’s estimated that the planet’s capacity to sustain human life on a purely organic farming framework would be 4 billion people,” says Saik. “I would argue that organic by itself is not sustainable and that without science, which genetic engineering and GMOs are part of, there is no way agriculture will be able to sustain global food security into the future.” So, what if we could have access to rice rich in beta-carotene, self-fertilizing crops, droughtresistant crops, and insect-resistant crops? “I see the nutrient profiling of foods to make them more nutrient dense. I see crops that could be saline resistance. I see crops that could be drought tolerant. I see crops that could fight viruses. There are so many opportunities that exist,” says Saik. Saik’s goal is to find a common ground and unite the two sides of the conversation. “Unfortunately, the dialogue has become so polarized that people are just shouting at each other and nobody’s listening,” he says. “I don’t want to polarize the discussion. I don’t want there being the organic perma-culture on one side and modern agriculture on the other side. Instead I would look at how we can bring these people together.”


The ABCs of Growing Soybeans Although soybean growers have found the crop relatively easy to grow and manage, here are some tips for ensuring successful soybean production. Variety Selection The first consideration prior to growing a soybean crop is the variety or varieties to be grown. By far the most important factor to consider is maturity. With temperature the main limiting factor to soybean production in Western Canada, it is crucial to know your heat unit area as a starting point. Soybean varieties also have varying degrees of day length sensitivity, so variety information from local sites should be given special attention, as those varieties with high daylight sensitivity will reach maturity without the ideal heat units, and thus can be grown very successfully in non-traditional areas. Heat unit ratings for varieties recommended for the prairies range from 2325 to 2600 heat units, and are generally divided into early, mid, and long season classes. Select a variety whose rating fits your geography for the best chance of success and profitability. We recommend that if you are growing a large acreage, using more than one variety within a maturity class suitable for your area should be used, to balance risk of early frost with higher yield potential of later varieties. Other variety considerations such as disease resistance and growth habit (i.e.: height, branching) will depend on your field conditions and agronomic practices, which will be covered later.

Field Selection and Seedbed Preparation Soybeans are adapted to and can grow very well in a wide range of soil types, but most ideally in mediumtextured loamy soils. Not recommended are lighter sandy or gravelly soils prone to drought, due to the crop’s requirement for late season moisture, and very stony fields due to harvest issues. Heavy clay soils require careful preparation to get the crop well established, but otherwise this soil type and soybeans are well-suited to each other as soybeans can tolerate the waterlogged conditions these soils are susceptible to. A critical factor for successful soybean establishment is for them to be planted into warm soil of at least 10°C, and to be able to get to that soil temperature as soon as possible in order to plant early enough to take advantage of as many heat units as possible. To achieve this, it is recommended that the field is blackened to some extent to maximize solar heat absorption. It is suggested that this be done in the fall via a single tillage or heavy harrow operation that will expose the soil while maintaining some stubble, to guard against cool, wet spring conditions that may impede getting this done in a timely manner. This is particularly important on heavy clay soils which tend to take longer to warm up and dry in the spring.

Seeding A)

Seeding Date If there is one single thing to take away from reading this document, it is to not plant soybeans into cold soils. Research has shown that soil temperatures of less than 10°C in the first 24 hours after planting will give the seeds a “cold shock” from which they will never fully recover. In addition to lower germination and higher disease susceptibility, the surviving plants will have shortened internodes, which leads directly to shorter plants with lower pod heights. Although soybean cotyledons can withstand a light spring frost of up to -3°C for short periods, it is advised that seeding should be delayed to avoid the risk of frost injury. One rule of thumb suggests waiting until about 5 days before the typical last frost date before planting, provided the soil is adequately warmed up.


Seeding Rate and Row Spacing Recommended soybean seed rate targets are for 200,000-220,000 plants/acre solid-seeded, 175,000-200,000 in a narrow row (15-22 inches), and 150,000-175,000 in wide row (30 inch) spacing. With the enhanced vigor of the new RR2 generation varieties, most growers are trending towards the lower ends of those ranges. There is no one best row spacing to use, as it can be dependent on your geography, heat units, machinery available, pest management, and other cultural practices. Variety selection is also important to consider, as varieties which have lower tendency to branch (typically the earlier ones) are better suited to solid seeding as opposed to more branching types that will provide better ground cover in a wider row spacing. Solid seeding is the most popular option, as for most growers it can be done without having to purchase extra equipment. Weed control is usually better because the beans are quicker to cover the ground. It can also speed up maturity as the plants are less inclined to branch out, and in some cases late season frost tolerance is improved because there is better heat retention within the canopy if there is full closure. The main disadvantage of solid seeding is the higher seed costs, due to the higher plant populations required. There could potentially also be increased risk of white mold (sclerotinia) development due to reduced air movement in the canopy. Conversely, wide row spacing can reduce seed costs and disease incidence. Disadvantages include less weed competition, making season long weed control more difficult and, more importantly, longer days to maturity. For these reasons, it is recommended that varieties with good branching ability be used, and in areas where the length of the growing season is less of a limiting factor. Narrow row spacing is considered by many as being the happy medium of solid seeding and wide spacing, with both the advantages and disadvantages of each mitigated. Varieties with good branching ability should also be considered at this spacing.


Seeding Depth Ideal seeding depth is ¾ to 1 ½” – enough to ensure good moisture contact while shallow enough to ensure seed is in warm ground. Soybean seedlings are adversely affected by any deeper seeding, resulting in higher mortality and lower pod set.

D) Seed Treatment Soybeans are susceptible to soil-borne diseases such as root rot and should be treated with a fungicide before seeding. Although most new varieties come with some tolerance to Phytophthora, with different races from field to field and to prevent the development of resistance, seed treatments are a vital part of integrated management. A fungicide product combined with an insecticide for early season control of insect pests such as wireworms is recommended. E)

Inoculant and Fertility Requirements Next to soil temperature, inoculation is the next most important factor for bean production. Soybeans are heavy consumers of nitrogen – about 6 pounds actual for every bushel of production. As a result, it is imperative that inoculant levels are high enough to ensure proper nodulation in order to take advantage of the soybean crop`s nitrogen fixing ability. Seed applied inoculants (peat or liquid) encourage nodulation on the primary roots, starting the N-fixing process early in plant growth, while granular inoculants tend to populate the lateral roots. It is highly recommended that both forms of inoculant are used on first year fields. Although it is possible for rhizobia populations to build up in the soil over time, several research studies have shown that these populations often have difficulty surviving through our cold winters and anaerobic conditions under excessive moisture. For these reasons, most growers tend to continue using the dual application as a cheap form of insurance. A soybean crop requires about 30-40 pounds of phosphorous per acre. Where soils are deficient, adding potassium and sulfur fertilizer can also be beneficial. Care must be made when applying fertilizer products, as the seed and rhizobia are sensitive to the associated salts. Banding to the side and below the seed row is recommended. In many cases, seeders only have one additional tank for a secondary product, and it is usually used for the granular inoculant. Under no circumstances should one try to blend a fertilizer with the inoculant as, in addition to the toxicity to the rhizobia, there would be uneven distribution of both products due to settling in the container. Many growers manage their rotations so that there are sufficient residual nutrients, so no fertilizer is required the year soybeans are grown.

Pest Management A)

Weeds Soybean seedlings are not very competitive with weeds, as they are slow to provide complete ground cover. Fortunately, most weeds can be managed effectively and inexpensively with glyphosate tolerant varieties. The glyphosate offers a wide window of application – from the first trifoliate to flowering. In this system, the main weed issue is other glyphosate tolerant crops, and canola in particular. Volunteer RR canola can be controlled if sprayed early enough with an applicable Group 2 product. As this would add a considerable amount to your herbicide expense, it is advised that the potential for this problem be considered with your rotation.


Diseases Aside from soil-borne diseases previously mentioned, soybeans in Western Canada have very

little disease issues, particularly outside the Red River Valley of Manitoba. Beans are susceptible to white mould (sclerotinia), though not to the extent that canola is, and with no good control option the best way to manage it is by avoiding other sclerotinia susceptible crops in the rotation, or with wider row spacing to facilitate air movement under the canopy. Powdery mildew could be a potential issue, but would only require control if plants are affected in the first half of the growing season. Other leaf diseases such as brown spot, frogeye leaf spot, and bacterial blight, are often seen but only very rarely come close to economic thresholds. C)

Insects Recent research from NDSU has determined that the level of defoliation required to meet economic thresholds to be 40-50% pre-bloom, 35% during bloom, and 20-25% post-bloom. A number of insects, including grasshoppers, corn earworm, fall armyworm, and green clover worms, have been identified as potential pests of soybeans. Given the soybean plant’s high tolerance for defoliation, control of those pests is seldom required. Fields in southern Manitoba could be susceptible to soybean aphids which blow up from the U.S. Tolerance levels for these aphids are high, with a population of 250 and rising per plant, so again control is not usually required. As with most other crops, soybean seedlings are susceptible to cutworms, so it is important to watch for any patches of missing or damaged plants developing at the beginning of the season. As cutworms feed at night, you will need to dig within 2-3 inches from recently damaged plants to find them and confirm the problem.

Harvest and Storage Harvest of soybeans can begin once pods have dried out and seeds are hard. Due to their resistance to shattering and seed deterioration even under severe fall weather, standing soybeans provide a very high flexibility for harvest scheduling. They can be harvested at 20% moisture, but must be stored at less than 14% moisture to avoid spoilage. The potential for seed damage while combining becomes greater with lower moisture, and it is not advised to harvest them at less than 12% moisture. In general, soybeans have to be cut low to the ground to minimize harvest losses, so harvest equipment equipped with a flex header is highly recommended. Many growers also choose to roll their fields immediately after seeding to level the ground and push in stones. This practice makes the harvest go much more smoothly as it allows the operator to cut lower to the ground to get all the pods without risk of damaging the combine. It is important to adjust combine concaves and cylinder speed carefully in order to maximize seed recovery while minimizing cracking and splitting. Note that 4 seeds per square foot on the ground equates to 1 bushel lost per acre.


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.








© NorthStar Genetics 2015 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 perfect soybean for Saskatchewan! NSC Watson RR2Y has created a new horizon for soybeans in Western Canada. It is the earliest maturing soybean variety on the market with 2225 heat units, so if you were skeptical before, it’s now elementary! At NorthStar Genetics, we know beans.








© NorthStar Genetics 2015 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.


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