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For Western Canadian Soybean Growers

Issue 15 / Winter 2015


GET RICHER 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.

N

O

RT

CS

.C

OM

www.northstargenetics.com

H S TA R G E N E

© 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.

TI


Table of Contents Publisher Ray Wytinck NorthStar Genetics

Another Great Year For Soybeans pg 5

Editor Jenny Flaman jenny@impactgr.com

Soybean Success in Saskatchewan pg 6

Art Director Kate Klassen kate@impactgr.com

Are You Making the Grade? pg 8

Copy Editors Chantelle Toews Heidi Brown Vicki Manness

Roundup Technology, Taking Soybeans Into the Future pg 12

Contributors Andrea Hilderman John Dietz Bruce Barker Geoff Geddes Cheryl Manness Alexandra Wig Photographers Anita Anseeuw

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

A Pulse Crop Throwdown pg 14 Certified Seed Versus Common Seed pg 18 The Right Seeding Equipment pg 22 Soybean Cyst Nematode is Marching Closer pg 26 Soybean Farmers Cash In As Weather Dries Up pg 30 Soybean Crop Insurance in Saskatchewan – Is Your Variety On the List? pg 33


It outlasts, outperforms and out-yields. Are you in?

Nodulator® PRO with Integral® biofungicide is the only preinoculant system that’s Biostacked®. It has a more active strain of rhizobium, and thanks to the benefits of Integral, it delivers suppression of fusarium and rhizoctonia1. Nodulator PRO also offers a very low application volume and 60 day on-seed survival. It even helps deliver at the end of the season with up to 6% more yield2 than the competition. So why not “Biostack” the odds in your favour? Visit agsolutions.ca/nodulatorpro or contact AgSolutions® Customer Care at 1-877-371-BASF (2273) for more info.

1

Biological fungicide activity is a PMRA registered claim in Canada. 2 Source: BASF, 76 Station Years (n sites x n years)

Always read and follow label directions. AgSolutions, BIOSTACKED, and INTEGRAL are registered trade-marks of BASF Corporation; NODULATOR is a registered trade-mark of BASF; all used with permission by BASF Canada Inc. © 2015 BASF Canada Inc.


Another Great Year For Soybeans

W

ith another harvest under our belts it’s a good time to look back at how the season went and how soybeans are performing in Western Canada, as well as offer some new ideas to get you started and planning for 2016. Awareness is building, and farmers are interested in soybeans as a crop of great potential, and we’re excited to see soybeans popping up in unprecedented places. We encourage Western Canadian farmers to try the new varieties available with early maturity. For this issue, we asked farmers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan how their season went compared to 2014. Before Stats Canada has the final numbers logged, we wanted to know our growers’ opinions about how the season went for soybeans. We also talked to one Saskatchewan farmer specifically who had great soybean success this year.

In this issue we’ve tackled how soybeans compare to other pulse crops. We’ve also looked at the grading of soybeans and the process involved, to help you better understand the quality you should be looking for and that the markets expect.

Also to prepare for the new crop season, we’ve investigated deeper into the world of certified seed and why every grower in Western Canada should be growing it, and how Roundup Ready technology could be changing for 2016.

As seeding will be upon us before we know it, it’s good to plan for possible new equipment, so we’ve talked to Darren Luscombe, a seed grower out of Sintaluta, Saskatchewan, about the seeding equipment testing he did this past spring and the results he found, to better help you make some possible decisions of your own.

If you’re a Saskatchewan grower new to soybeans, it might be a good idea to know what is available for crop insurance before booking your seed. We’ve looked into what Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation will insure and what they won’t. As always, we would love to hear what you want to know about soybeans. Please feel free to contact us with topic ideas and questions and we’ll do our best to find the answers for you. So, just in time for your winter vacation, please enjoy our winter issue of Growing Soybeans.

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Soybean Success in Saskatchewan By Jenny Flaman

6


I

n what was considered a difficult year for many crops in Western Canada, one Saskatchewan farmer saw great success with soybeans. “I think this year we had good cooperation with Mother Nature. We did it right, and we’ve seen it in yield and maturity. It puts a lot of confidence for our operation that we can be successful with soybeans,” says Brent McCarthy of McCarthy Seed Farm in Corning, Saskatchewan. McCarthy has been growing soybeans for the last three years. This year he tried a few varieties in trial as well as seed production with NorthStar Genetics’ NSC Reston RR2Y and the new NSC Watson RR2Y, and this was the first year he considered his crop a success. Through some trial and error, he came out of it with great insight. “Seeding rate is important, double inoculation is important, seedbed preparation, and of course, weed control is important,” says McCarthy. “That was probably our biggest challenge. Maintaining weed control a little bit longer with the crop was something we needed to do. So we found ourselves going in with a different chemical at different times, rather than just Roundup. Mostly to control the volunteer canola,” says McCarthy. With the volunteer canola under control, “We seemed to find a benefit in yield, no doubt.” Soybeans offer more benefits to McCarthy’s operation than just yield. As a “pulse” crop, soybeans often fit nicely into a rotation. “We like to have a pulse in the rotation,” says McCarthy. “I find them [soybeans] to be a great alternative to something like flax.” McCarthy attributes a great portion of his success this year to the strides that have been made in genetic modification. “I choose to grow NorthStar seed because I find the genetics very important. I believe they have the earliest genetics, with a pretty good yield package to go with it,” McCarthy claims. “Maturity is key here, and I was particularly impressed with NSC

Watson. It has the maturity that will get the crop in the bin here, and has the yield to go with it.” Soybean acres are slowly rising in Saskatchewan as new genetics are being introduced and farmers are becoming more confident in their potential. McCarthy started with 80 soybean acres on his farm and this year grew to 400 soybean acres. As a seed grower, though, McCarthy has to make sure soybeans will be a sustainable crop for his customers, as well. “When we talk to customers about growing soybeans, it always comes down to dollars and cents, ‘Do they make me money?’ That’s where we have to make sure that our yields are up and maturity is good enough. I think we’ve got something, especially in the NSC Watson variety,” says McCarthy. “I think we’ve got a winner. They really impressed me this year, and I hope we can continue that in future years.” Some farmers are still skeptical about the potential for soybeans being a profitable crop in Saskatchewan, but McCarthy advises his customers to try it out. “I would recommend to a farmer to at least take a look at what it takes to grow soybeans. I know a lot of my customers this year are going to be first-time growers, so my approach would be to start small, make sure you have the right genetics, make sure you have the right information. If they turn out and you’re successful with them, keep increasing your acres a little bit every year,” McCarthy advises. So what does the future look like for soybeans in Saskatchewan? “I think soybeans will replace some flax acres in Saskatchewan, but it will be different for every farmer. It may replace some wheat acres; it may replace some barley acres. “If the genetics can improve even more, I think they’re going to be a crop that will stay here,” says McCarthy. “As long as we can overcome factors like maturity and yield, I think the future looks pretty good for soybeans.”

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Are You Making the Grade? By Cheryl Manness

In order to protect the quality of our grain, Canada has rigid standards in its grain grading system. According to the Canadian Grain Commission, grades relate to the grain’s end-use quality, meaning grades relate to how grain characteristics affect performance during processing or the quality of the end product.

“I

t’s important, the grade puts a value on the sample so the grower knows what he should be paid for it,” says Daryl Beswitherick, Program Manager, Quality Assurance Standards, Canadian Grains Commission. “Grain is bought and sold on the basis of the grade, it’s not just that simple, but it does facilitate the purchase. The enduser is buying a particular grade for their purposes.”

84

Different grades are assigned to a sample following various grading factors for each type of grain, which can be a result of growing conditions, handling procedures, or storage conditions. The sample is judged on factors that indicate a reduction in the quality of the grain. The Canadian Grain Commission states that they set the standards and specifications for grades of grain based on

recommendations from committees made up of grain producers, representatives of the Canadian Grain Commission and Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, grain handlers, processors, and exporters. Grading of grain samples begins with determining if the sample is commercially clean or not. All grain samples must be analyzed to determine if they meet commercial cleanliness standards prior


to the dockage being assessed. A visual assessment can be sufficient in evaluating whether a sample is commercially clean or not. See Table 1. When there is any doubt regarding the cleanliness of a sample it will be analyzed further using accepted procedures for determining the percentage concentration of roughage, hulls, and other material, as well as broken beans. If the percentage concentration exceeds the specifications the sample will be considered not commercially clean and dockage will be assessed to the nearest 0.1 percent.

After dockage has been removed and determined, the cleaned sample is graded on the basis of a visual assessment of grading factors and a mechanical application of established tolerances that would reduce or adversely affect the end-use of the seed. The grading system is established on the maximum allowable tolerances for these grading factors.

Canada, most growers are growing genetically modified soybeans for the oil crush market where a grade of #2 is acceptable. The #1 grade is a very premium market, primarily used in the food industry. These samples will be very low in adhered soil and immature seeds. The #2 grade is quite large and most growers in Western Canada are shooting for this grade.”

“Once dockage is removed, what is left in the sample will affect the grade,” says Beswitherick. “The cleaned sample will be analyzed for all of the grading factors before it is given its grade. In Western

In soybean grading, one of the first factors to be determined is the colour of the seed coat; either yellow, green, brown, or black. Colour is part of the grade name that will be assigned to the sample. It is evaluated

Table 1 - Definition of commercially clean specifications for soybeans 1 Grade Name

2

3

Material other than broken soybeans through the #8 round hole sieve

Roughage and hulls

Total roughage, hulls and material other than broken soybeans through the #8 round hole sieve

0.1%

0.2%

Soybeans 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Canada

4

5

Broken Soybean through the #8 round hole sieve Not direct exports

Direct exports

0.75%

1.0%

0.2%

Table 2 - Representative portion of soybeans for grading, grams Grading Factor Colour Damage Downy Mildew

Minimum

Optimum

Export

working sample

working sample

working sample

50

250

250

100

250

250

Ergot

working sample

working sample

working sample

Excreta

working sample

working sample

working sample

Fireburnt

working sample

working sample

working sample

100

500

500

Heated, mouldy, rancid

50

500

working sample

Immature

50

250

250

working sample

working sample

working sample

Other colours or bicoloured other than for mixed soybeans

250

working sample

working sample

Sclerotinia Sclerotiorum

100

working sample

working sample

Soft earth pellets

100

500

working sample

Splits, seed coats

100

500

500

Stained, mottled

working sample

working sample

working sample

500

500

working sample

Foreign material

Odour

Stones

9


on the cleaned sample after the removal of damaged seeds and is assessed against the standard of quality by using photos published for each grade. See Table 2 on previous page. Once the colour has been determined the sample will go through assessments for factors such as immaturity, adhered soil, heat damage, mould, downy mildew, ergot, excreta, stones, foreign material other than grain, and splits.

penetrates the cotyledon, it’s considered damaged.”

affecting the grade, depending on the type of fall we get.”

Soybeans that are green in appearance and have no discolouration of the cotyledon are acceptable in the #2 grade and are to be assessed against the overall colour of the sample.

Frost damaged seed, when cut, will have cotyledons that are green or greenishbrown with a glassy wax-like appearance. Some superficial discolouration of the seed is acceptable if the cotyledons are considered sound.

Once the amounts of undesirable factors are determined, a percentage of the sample can be calculated.

“Immaturity always seems to be there in some amount. But when you are going into the crush market you can have some immaturity. If you have green seeds, you need to cut them to see if the green is through the cotyledon,” suggests Beswitherick. “A couple of years ago, we did the research. We did a survey with the soybean crushers and other clients, and in most cases the hull is being removed and it has no impact on the end product.”

“In Western Canada, the factors we see the most are adhered soil and green seeds,” states Beswitherick. “The outside of the seed is green, but when cut, if the green

“With the newer, shorter season varieties being grown in Manitoba and Saskatchewan it is easier to grow good quality seed. Frost can still be a factor

Each of these factors has an acceptable Minimum, Optimum, and Export value that is used in the grading process.

According to Beswitherick, there are usually a few downy mildew samples, but it typically doesn’t downgrade the sample very often. See Table 3. “There is a working group looking at the grading of soybeans now,” says Beswitherick. “They are reviewing the present grading standards in practice. There has been some interest in having our grades closer to the U.S. grades. If there are changes to the standards they will likely be released in August 2016.”

Table 3 - Primary and export grade determintants - Soybeans, Canada Yellow, Green, Brown, Black or Mixed (CAN) Foreign Material

Damage

Downy Mildew %

Other colours or biocoloured other than for mixed soybeans %

2.0

2

0.2

3

10

No. 3 Canada

1.0

5

No limit

No. 4 Canada

3

8

No limit

15

No limit

Heatdamaged or mouldy %

Total %

No. 1 Canada

Nil

No. 2 Canada

Grade Name

No. 5 Canada Grade, if No. 5 specs not met

10

5 Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Heated or Mouldy

Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Damaged

Ergot %

Excreta %

Stones %

Foreign material other than grain %

2

0.01

0.01

Nil

0.1

1.0

10

3

0.025

0.01

0.03

0.3

2

15

5

0.1

0.01

0.1

0.5

3

20

10

0.25

0.01

0.1

2

5

30

15 Appropriate mixed grade

0.25 Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Ergot

0.01 Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Excreta

0.1 2.5% or less - Soybeans, Rejected (grade) Account Stones, or Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Stones Over 2.5% - Soybean Sample Salvage

3 Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Admixture

Splits % Total %

8 Soybeans, Samples Canada (colour) Account Admixture

40 Soybeans, Sample Canada (colour) Account Splits


Roundup Technology, Taking Soybeans Into the Future By Andrea Hilderman

Like any kind of technology, we can count on the fact that there will be progress and innovation with time. The research and development doesn’t stop. Roundup Ready (RR) technology is no different – while new technology launches might not be an annual event, this technology has been progressing steadily for many years. 12


RR

crops were being talked about in the early 1980s, almost 35 years ago. Soybeans were the first crop to premier in 1996 with RR technology. RR canola was grown in Canada in 1996 with RR soybeans following in 1998 after being grown in the U.S. since 1996. When those first crops were planted, some of the key importing nations, such as the EU and Japan, were not accepting imports of the new-fangled genetically modified soybeans, but by April 1996 the EU, at least, had made the necessary changes. The risk those pioneering farmers had taken had paid off. Like farmers operating through the past 35 years, we are more than aware of the benefits that RR technology has brought to the farm. It has not all been without some growing pains and subsequent problems. The expanded use of Roundup has led to the emergence of Roundup resistant weeds. As with any problem, good research and a strategic approach to the management of weeds and herbicides has kept the problem controllable. By 2008, Monsanto was ready to introduce its second-generation RR technology. This was, essentially, an updated version of the original RR trait with higher yield potential. The big leap forward was that scientists were able to insert the RR gene in a different place in the plant genome, and in doing so, the plant was able to yield significantly better. In fact, the yield difference was 7 to 11 percent more than the older RR technology soybeans. These new soybeans became known as Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y). It was also at that time that Monsanto launched its Genuity brand known as Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield. “The track record of Roundup Ready 2 Yield soybeans is excellent,” says Pierre Lanoie, licensing product and technology manager at Monsanto. “Yield is king in soybeans, as with any crop, and as a result farmers have adopted this technology very quickly.”

The next stage of technological innovation is Roundup Ready Xtend (RR Xtend) soybeans. The main benefit of the Xtend technology will be higher yield through improved weed control. As well, RR Xtend soybeans have an additional gene stack built in that allows for the use of dicamba as well as Roundup. As was discussed in our last issue of Growing Soybeans, the ability to use dicamba in the weed management plan expands the weed control spectrum as well as differentiating the modes of action in use in the field. The importance of keeping fields clean and relatively weed-free during the season is not just to improve the aesthetic of the farm, but it is also key to maximizing the yield potential of the crop as well as increasing the yield potential in following crops. The addition of this stack can be impactful in reducing the buildup of herbicide resistance. Dicamba has residual activity that keeps the field cleaner and weed-free longer. When weeds are less abundant and smaller at the time of incrop herbicide applications there is less chance of selecting for resistant weed biotypes. Multiple modes of action, preferably in the same application, are a key recommendation in the prevention of herbicide resistance, keeping the weeds “off-balance.” Lanoie expects that all the export approvals for RR Xtend soybeans will be in place before the 2016 planting season. “Our plan is this new technology will be commercially available in 2016,” he says. “Growers won’t have very much longer to wait to avail themselves of the benefits of these new soybeans and the new dicamba formulations that have been in development to provide better control of tough weed problems.” This technology has served farmers well for two decades and with the ability to stack traits has a long useful shelf life ahead of it. While Monsanto is not yet sure what the fourth generation innovation will be at this time, it’s safe to say they are hard at work making sure that, in time, there will be a new advancement of this technology.

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A Pulse Crop Throwdown By Bruce Barker

Soybean vs. lentil vs. pea - which crop to grow in 2016? Will soybean demand draw down large stocks? How long will pea and lentil prices hold up? How dependable is the crop in your area? What’s your risk tolerance? These are the questions growers and their market advisers are trying to answer in anticipation of the 2016 growing season.

“T

he last couple years, soybeans have, hands down, been a winner in terms of net returns. The yields were there. There were a lot of positives to soybeans,” says Jonathon Driedger, senior market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “This past year, though, they didn’t look as good on paper.” Responding to the high prices of a few years ago, production was ramped up in South America and the United States, and record crops were produced. The 2015 crop also looks to be very large. As a result, Driedger says soybean prices have moved down to around nine dollars per bushel and are trading at levels not seen since early 2009. “Demand is strong and growing for soybeans, but production has outpaced the growth in demand. One big question now is China and how much they will continue to purchase,” says Driedger. China takes two-thirds of world soybean imports and the downturn in the economy is raising concern over whether that

1414

demand will continue. Piled on top of this uncertainty is that Brazil has become very competitive in the marketplace due to their extremely weak currency. With the supply cushion in soybeans, Driedger expects the market to “plod along” with lower volatility until some news on the supply or demand side changes the market outlook.

of imports this winter,” says Driedger.

“Supply is weighing big on the market. If there was a hiccup in production in South America or the U.S., then we could see some movement upwards in prices as stocks are drawn down,” says Driedger.

“In the medium term, we’re in an inbetween period. We have tight supplies and the market should remain relatively firm. Longer term, it will depend on the overseas crops this winter,” explains Driedger.

The pea and lentil markets are a completely different story. A shortage of pulses in India, Turkey, and the Middle East has spiked prices for pea and lentil. Driedger says that prices have even held up well during the Canadian harvest, and there is a strong pull for Canadian pulses in export markets. “There has been this massive sucking sound as the importing countries have aggressively booked Canadian pulses this fall. What is uncertain is what happens if they need to come back for a second round

India’s winter pulse harvest from February through April will impact prices. Driedger says the impact depends on the size of the crop, and any production problem in India will stretch out the pulse shortage and keep prices high for 2016.

It’s all about the profit Even though soybean prices are off their highs, farmers are still growing them on the Prairies. Howie Mercer, a farm and grain marketing advisor with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan crunches numbers for his farm clients each year. “When soybeans were 14 or 15 dollars an acre, they looked very attractive and guys were putting them in the rotation as an


Cost of production: soybean, pea, and lentil in Manitoba and Saskatchewan MAFRI Cost of Production 2015 Soybean Seed & treatment

Operating Costs

$30.25

Soybean

$32.50

$91.83

Yellow Pea

Green Pea

$36.00

$43.33

Green Lentil

Red Lentil

$49.50

$32.37

Fertilizer

$10.33

$12.91

$12.91

$16.53

$16.00

$16.00

$13.87

$13.87

$10.73

$17.75

$17.75

$13.08

$26.03

$26.03

$34.09

$40.89

Fungicide

$0.00

$15.94

$15.94

$0.00

$0.57

$0.57

$18.49

$18.49

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Fuel

$18.95

$19.46

$19.53

$22.33

$22.33

$22.33

$22.33

$22.33

Machinery operating

$10.00

$10.00

$10.00

$15.92

$15.92

$15.92

$15.92

$15.92

Machinery lease

$3.60

$3.60

$3.60

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Rental & custom

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$19.00

$16.25

$16.25

$18.75

$18.75

Crop insurance

$22.65

$19.34

$24.15

$22.65

$15.22

$15.22

$20.75

$22.54

Other costs

$7.75

$7.75

$7.75

$4.80

$4.80

$4.80

$4.80

$4.80

Land taxes

$12.00

$12.00

$12.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Drying costs

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Interest on operating

$5.24

$4.10

$4.29

$5.77

$4.29

$4.49

$5.56

$5.32

$195.63

$153.11

$160.42

$211.91

$157.41

$164.94

$204.06

$195.28

Market price $ per unit

$9.00

$5.75

$0.20

$10.07

$6.04

$8.11

$0.35

$0.24

Premium $ per unit

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

$0.00

Yield per acre (bu or lb.)

35

40

1,100

30

34.9

34.9

1,188

1,296

Unit type

bu

bu

lb

bu

bu

bu

lb

lb

Gross revenue/acre

$315.00

$230.00

$220.00

$302.10

$210.80

$283.04

$415.80

$311.04

Over operating costs

$119.37

$76.89

$59.58

$90.19

$53.39

$118.10

$211.74

$115.76

Total operating

Estimated Farmgate

Lentil

Herbicide Insecticide

Marginal Returns

$94.38

Pea

SAF Crop Planning Guide 2015 Black Soil Zone

Note: This budget is only a guide and is not intended as an in depth study of the cost of production of this industry. Interpretation and utilization of this information is the responsibility of the user.

15


additional pulse crop. With today’s prices, it is a different story,” says Mercer. The cut-off point for Mercer’s area is soybean yields of 30 to 35 bushels per acre. If farmers are hitting those yields, primarily east of Weyburn, they can be profitable and compete with pea and lentil. For farmers west of Weyburn who can’t get their soybean yields above 20 to 25 bushels per acre, those are the ones growing pea and lentil. “Look at Manitoba where they can pull off really good yields. They love soybeans there and acreage continues to grow,” says Mercer. A comparison of the Saskatchewan and Manitoba 2015 Crop Planning Guides issued this past winter shows the strong profit potential, on paper, for soybeans over pea and lentil in Manitoba. Soybean comes out with the highest net return at $119 per acre, followed by peas at $77 and lentil at $60. In Saskatchewan in the black soil zone, green lentil comes out on top at $211 per acre, red lentil and green pea around $115, soybean at $90, and yellow pea at $53. While net returns are important comparisons to make, Dennis Lange, a pulse farm production advisor with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, points out that another key factor is risk. “You need to ask yourself whether you should be growing a particular crop in your area. Soybeans take moisture and a longer time to mature. Pea and lentil can take a little drier weather and are earlier maturing. You shouldn’t be growing all three crops in the same area because they are differently adapted,” says Lange. As the winter progresses, Driedger advises growers to keep an eye on soybean, pea, and lentil harvests in pulse producing parts of the world. That will provide a window on pulse prices, and where Prairie acreage might head in 2016. In the end, it comes down to net returns and which crops you can successfully grow on your farm. “At the end of the day, it has to be profitable,” says Driedger.

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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.


Certified Seed Versus Common Seed By Alexandra Wig If you’re questioning the marketability of soybeans next season, a key to staying on top of the market will be starting with Certified seed. Not only does this set you up for success as a grower, but reassures the end-user of the best bean possible.

A

cross many industries there is a movement to better understand the process in which something is produced, to question the ingredients or makeup of a product, and to be assured of the quality for which you are paying. Consumers are becoming wary of end products that aren’t stamped with some kind of third party approval, and producers aren’t willing to take risks on quality performance. When considering Certified seed versus common seed, it’s becoming harder to dispel the risks that come with using a product that hasn’t been properly vetted, and therefore, there is little to confirm its quality, purity, or identity. This not only applies to the marketability and end-user perspective, but the protection of the time and resources of the farmer planting the seed. The strongest value of planting Certified seed is shown through a quality end product, which opens the door to new marketing opportunities, and supports the continued research and development of new and improved varieties. It’s a win-win for the grower to the consumer.

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The Manitoba Seed Growers Association (MSGA) is a strong voice for high quality, true-to-type seed. Jennifer Seward, the General Manager of the MSGA, shares her thoughts about growing Certified seed and common seed. “Growing common seed can definitely be riskier than planting your crop with Certified seed,” says Seward. Seward states that the risk to the producer is more of an agronomic risk. Take, for instance, variety genetics and stability. “If you grow a certain variety for a specific quality, such as disease resistance, after years of replanting that seed again and again, the disease you initially had resistance to in the Certified seed will be greatly diminished,” explains Seward. Clean seed and varietal purity are identified by the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA) as two of the top reasons to use Certified seed. The strict requirements that Certified seed is grown and administered under help mitigate risk and ensure growers are getting the expected varieties. To be deemed Certified, the seed must pass inspections and assessments by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for varietal purity, identity, and quality. Seward says every field of Certified seed in Canada is inspected prior to harvest and after cleaning to assess for varietal purity and contaminants. Certified seed is given a stamp of approval by the CFIA in the form of the blue Certified tag that accompanies each sale of seed. This tag ensures that the seed has been officially inspected by a third-party agency, it has been produced in accordance with strict requirements, the production process was carefully monitored, and has passed quality control tests and is ready for the commercial market. By supporting the Certified seed system, it in turn supports research and development

initiatives – another top reason noted by the CSGA to use Certified seed. They explain that research and development contributes to new varieties with improved traits such as better yield, pest resistance, drought tolerance, herbicide tolerance, and more. The MSGA states that Canada’s seed system is highly regarded and respected worldwide because of the quality agriculture products we produce. This is largely tied to the third-party verification system that’s in place to monitor the production process. They say that by using Certified seed, end-users can rest assured that they are getting the variety they purchased and can have high expectations about the end-product characteristics. This consumer confidence is invaluable, in particular when considering Canada’s agricultural influence on a global level. Marketability is then a key factor to contemplate when considering Certified or common seed. “Many varieties that have been grown for years don’t meet the necessary parameters for end-user quality,” Seward explains. “In the case of some crop types, if allowed unknowingly into the Canadian grain system, could cause an issue with our country’s ability to market internationally.” Marketing power further supports the value of Certified seed. The CSGA outlines that you get premiums for specific varieties when demonstrating the use of Certified seed, and as we’ve mentioned, that enduser confidence and the delivery of quality to the customer.

retailers provides what they are looking for in their operations. “Providing a sourced, treated, ready-togo seed alleviates pressure on farmers, allows them to streamline their logistics, and overall offers them a higher level of service.” With these kinds of readily available, trusted, and Certified seed varieties, what is the reason farmers still choose to plant common seed? Entz’s perspective is that the reason mostly comes down to cost savings. “Using common seed, depending on the crop type and variety, could save the producer four to five dollars an acre,” says Seward. “However, one must factor in cleaning costs, germination testing at a qualified lab, and seed treatments. So 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.” When you consider the value of growing Certified seed and the risk of growing common seed, the simple conclusion comes down to the level of guarantee you are looking for. “The biggest risk of buying common seed is uncertainty,” Entz says. “There is simply no assurance of the seed you are getting.” The risk of compromised guarantee should ring true for the agriculture industry, an industry where many variables are out of our control, so it’s safe to conclude it’s best to control the variables you can.

Peter Entz is the Assistant Vice President for Seed and Trades at Richardson International, as well as the past president of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. He comments on a different aspect of marketability of Certified seed.

The CSGA states, “Canadian farmers who plant Certified seed are providing better quality grains and oilseeds, are creating new marketing opportunities for crops, are managing their risks, and have access to new varieties that are bred for success.”

Entz believes the market is moving in the direction where the convenience of Certified seed offered to farmers by seed

The choice to use Certified seed is the first step in the direction of certainty.

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How is Certified How is Certified Seed Produced? Seed Produced? www.seedgrowers.ca www.seedgrowers.ca www.seedgrowers.ca www.seedgrowers.ca

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Variety Development

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Variety Variety Development Development

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In In labs labs and and fields, fields, Plant Plant Breeders Breeders develop develop new new seed seed varieties varieties with with new new traits traits and and improved improved yields. yields. Certified Certified seed seed sales sales help help develop develop new new varieties. varieties.

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After passing the field inspection and meeting all CSGA standards, the seed grower receives an official crop certificate.

Sanitation

Before and during harvest, seed growers protect quality by investing extra time cleaning their harvesting, transfer and storage equipment.

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Harvesting Harvesting Equipment Equipment Sanitation Sanitation Before Before and and during during harvest, harvest, seed seed growers growers protect protect quality quality by by investing investing extra extra time time cleaning cleaning their their harvesting, harvesting, transfer transfer and and storage equipment. storage equipment.

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Certification

After After passing passing the the field field inspection inspection and and meeting meeting all all CSGA CSGA standards, standards, the the seed seed grower grower receives receives an an official official crop certificate. Harvesting crop certificate.Equipment

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Most Most Breeder Breeder seed seed is is produced produced in in small small amounts amounts and and CSGA CSGA seed seed growers growers multiply multiply this this seed. seed.

Certification Certification

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Seed growers carefully select fields which meet strict previous land use requirements of CSGA. Field

Field Selection Selection

Seed Seed growers growers carefully carefully select select fields fields which which meet meet strict strict previous previous land land use use requirements requirements of of CSGA. CSGA.

Field Inspection Seed crops are inspected at a specific stage of maturity during the growing season by third-party inspectors licensed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Seed Seed crops crops are are inspected inspected at at aa specific specific stage stage of of maturity maturity during during the the growing growing season by third-party season by third-party inspectors inspectors licensed licensed by by the the Canadian Food Harvesting Canadian Food Inspection Inspection Agency (CFIA). At the proper stage Agency (CFIA). of maturity, the seed crop is harvested by the seed grower.

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Planting Equipment Sanitation During planting, seed growers protect quality by investing extra time cleaning machinery and planters to remove seed of otherEquipment Planting Planting Equipment varieties, difficult-to-separate Sanitation weeds or other Sanitation crop kinds.

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Roguing Seed growers inspect their crops throughout the growing season and remove off-types, other varieties, problem weeds and other crop kinds that have emerged during the season.

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During During planting, planting, seed seed growers growers protect protect quality quality by by investing investing extra extra time time cleaning cleaning machinery machinery and and planters planters to to remove remove seed seed of of other other varieties, varieties, difficult-to-separate difficult-to-separate weeds weeds or or other other crop crop kinds. kinds.

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Isolation Certified seed production fields are carefully isolated from other crops to prevent contamination from other varieties or crop kinds.

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Roguing Roguing

Seed Seed growers growers inspect inspect their their crops crops throughout throughout the the growing growing season season and and remove remove off-types, off-types, other other varieties, varieties, problem problem weeds weeds and and other other crop crop kinds kinds that that have have emerged during the season. Separate Seed Testing emerged during the season. and Grading Storage

To preserve varietal purity and provide a traceability record, Certified seed requires separate storage bins to preserve unique genetic identities.

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Harvesting Harvesting

Commercial Farmer

Food processors who demand grains At At the the proper proper stage stage and oilseeds grown from Certified of maturity, seed get the assurance of starting ofwith maturity, the the seed seed identity-verified ingredient characteristics crop is harvested by crop is harvested by to ensure consistent, high quality, the seed grower. premium products. the seed grower.

Food Food processors processors who who demand demand grains grains and and oilseeds oilseeds grown grown from from Certified Certified seed get the assurance of starting seed get the assurance of starting with with identity-verified identity-verified ingredient ingredient characteristics characteristics to to ensure ensure consistent, consistent, high high quality, quality, premium premium products. products.

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Field Selection

Field Field Inspection Inspection

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Food Processor

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Parent Seed Multiplication

In labs and fields, Plant Most Breeder seed Breeders develop new seed is produced in small varieties with new traits and amounts and CSGA improved yields. Certified Parent seed growers multiply Parent seed sales help develop this seed. Seed Seed Multiplication Multiplication new varieties.

Bagging and TaggingTesting Testing and and Grading Grading

Certified seed is packaged and labeled by Federal Seeds Federal Seeds Regulations Regulations variety name with an official blue Certified

seed tag. To preserve varietal varietal purity purity and and provide provide aa traceability record, traceability The Canadian Seed Growers’ Association (CSGA)record, represents seed growers and provides leadership as the Certified seed requires organization that certifies the pedigreed seed crop of all agricultural crops in Canada except potatoes. Certified seed requires separate storage separate storage bins bins to preserve unique to preserve unique genetic genetic identities. identities.

Commercial Commercial Farmer Farmer

Certified Certified seed seed is is planted planted by by commercial commercial farmers farmers to to produce produce their their large large commercial commercial crops of grains and oilseeds. crops of grains and oilseeds.

Certified Certified seed seed production production fields fields are are carefully carefully isolated isolated from from other other crops crops to to prevent prevent contamination from contamination from other other varieties or crop kinds. varieties or crop kinds.

Federal Seeds Regulations require CFIA-accredited graders to verify that pedigreed seed is tested by CFIA-accredited labs for compliance with standards for germination and physical purity.

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Separate Separate Seed Seed

Certified seed is planted byStorage commercial Storage farmers to produce their large commercial crops of grains and oilseeds. To preserve

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Isolation Isolation

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require require CFIA-accredited CFIA-accredited graders graders to to verify verify that that pedigreed pedigreed seed seed is is tested tested by CFIA-accredited by CFIA-accredited labs labs for compliance with for compliance with standards standards for for germination germination and and physical physical purity. purity.

Bagging Bagging and and Tagging Tagging

Certified Certified seed seed is is packaged packaged and and labeled labeled by by variety variety name name with with an an official official blue blue Certified Certified seed tag. seed tag.

The The Canadian Canadian Seed Seed Growers’ Growers’ Association Association (CSGA) (CSGA) represents represents seed seed growers growers and and provides provides leadership leadership as as the the organization organization that that certifies certifies the the pedigreed pedigreed seed seed crop crop of of all all agricultural agricultural crops crops in in Canada Canada except except potatoes. potatoes.


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The Right Seeding Equipment By John Dietz

What separates one seeder from the next? Comparing Bourgault, John Deere, and New Holland seeders, one subjective look at the benefits and downfalls.

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hether it’s a hammer or a seed drill, the tool needs to fit the hand that uses it. Right now, Darren Luscombe, a Sintaluta, Saskatchewan farmer, is exploring his options in regards to seeding equipment. In May, Luscombe tried out a John Deere and a New Holland seeding system on his canola. He also planted canola with his Bourgault 3310 paralink. He may try a SeedMaster or Seed Hawk in May 2016 before making a final choice. Luscombe farms about 8,500 acres with his cousins, Larry and Sheldon Blenkin, between Sintaluta and Indian Head in eastern Saskatchewan. Together, they

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operate the Whispering Pine Farms seed business. They grow cereals, canola, peas, soybeans, and a little flax. The seed grower’s primary air drills are his 54-foot 5710 Bourgault drill that was new in 2004 and the 75-foot 3310 Bourgault built in 2011. Both have mid-row banders. The 3310 has independent paralink openers, each with its own pressure setting. The 5710 has 10-inch spacing and the 3310 has 12-inch spacing. For peas and soybeans, that he doesn’t need to fertilize, he uses a 5710 Bourgault that was built in 2000. It’s also 54-feet wide. He’s removed the banders on that drill. Last spring, for his second crop of soybeans, he was bumping up by a full section from 425 acres in 2014. The first crop was encouraging. It had averaged about 26 bushels an acre and prices were still good. To break even on soybeans, he needs the market to return about $300 an acre. This year, in early September, that appeared to be within reach. But, input costs have been going up across the board and commodity prices have been going the other way.

He concluded that, “We need to start growing bigger yields. With the commodity prices today, we need to get every bushel of available yield potential per acre.” That brought him to a dilemma. His Bourgault drills are limited for fertilizer capacity. His mid-row banders are only for anhydrous; down the tube with seed, his safe limit is 110 pounds of dry fertilizer. He’s confident (and has proven) that another 30 to 45 pounds of his dry fertilizer blend of NPKS would produce the bushels to more than justify the cost. If he could put it on. Then, in early spring, the local John Deere dealer approached Luscombe with hope of gaining a new customer. They offered to bring in green machines to put in 200 acres, spray it, swath and harvest it, and they’d compare it to results from the other half of the field with his Bourgault 3310. Luscombe accepted. His old friend at New Holland heard Deere’s offer, and he matched it and went one better. Luscombe used the New Holland system for 300 acres of canola, then got permission to carry on with doing another 1,000 acres of soybeans (but using his own 450-HP tractor).


In the side-by-side comparison, canola planted with the John Deere drill emerged three days earlier than canola seeded with the Bourgault 3310. It came up more evenly and seemed to have a little higher plant count. Seeding Details The three systems actually put in two fields that were very similar, and one day apart. Anhydrous had been applied in the fall to both fields. The John Deere system used a 600-HP tractor operating a 56-foot 1870 Conserva Pak drill with a double-shoot system to deliver seed and dry fertilizer. Luscombe did three fertilizer rates with the JD system, doing about six passes per test. The first matched his Bourgault rate, 110 pounds with the seed. Then he switched to put on 40 pounds with the seed and 60 pounds to the side. For the third shot, he bumped the banded rate to 80 pounds with the seed. When that half of the field was finished, he fired up his own 615-HP New Holland tractor and did the remaining half with his 3310. The next day, New Holland arrived with a 70-foot 2070 air drill pulled by a 670-HP tractor. It was a double shoot system, too. For that trial, Luscombe put 40 pounds of fertilizer with the canola and 80 pounds to the side. The John Deere system banded at 2 to 3 inches from the seed row and the New Holland banded about an inch closer than that. For the Bourgault, seed and fertilizer were blended in the row. “I’m worried about seed burn, by putting that much fertilizer down with the seed,” he notes. “There’s a lot to take in and a lot to learn.”

Luscombe found major differences in the three systems for adjusting seeding depth, although the visiting dealership teams set up the machinery for him. “If I had the newest model of Bourgault, I’m told it would be about 10 minutes to change the seeding depth. As is, the 74-foot 3310 takes about an hour to adjust. The 56-foot John Deere probably would take an hour, as well,” he explains. “The 70-foot New Holland is extremely hard to adjust for depth. By yourself, it probably would take you 90 minutes to change how deep your openers go,” says Luscombe.

Crop Emergence Canola emergence differences were the most important and quite different. In the side-by-side comparison, canola planted with the John Deere drill emerged three days earlier than canola seeded with the Bourgault 3310. It came up more evenly and seemed to have a little higher plant count. Canola planted by the New Holland system surprised Luscombe. “The emergence was second to none; it was just phenomenal. The canola popped up within hours across the whole field. The plant counts were every bit as good, or better, than the John Deere,” he says. “The New Holland drill is less popular [than Deere], but I was impressed with it. It was surprising.” The two competitors were “phenomenal” 23


in performance for crop emergence. He learned a lesson. “Crops that emerged quickly and evenly were a step ahead for the whole year. The crop that comes up earlier is ready earlier in the fall. That three days in spring probably turned into five days’ difference in the fall. That quick, even emergence is important,” he says. At spraying time, the Bourgault canola was the cleanest. He had stirred up the soil and weed seeds, with the New Holland and John Deere drills.

John Deere 1870 Air hoe drill

“With the other systems we were moving probably up to three inches of dirt, to get that fertilizer down a little deeper to the side. They were bringing up some moisture that helped the emergence [of weeds and canola] but they still placed the seed exactly where we wanted it,” he says. “The Bourgault was just scraping the ground a quarter-inch down, then packing and maybe drying it a little.” He adds, “I think that perfect seed placement, getting a little more dirt movement, getting that seed into some fresh moisture rather than trying to pack it into a quarter inch of dust, made the difference.”

Other considerations The two competitors were “awesome” in what they did to impress the seed grower, and potential client. “They had men out, they set it up and made sure it was all perfect, and away we seeded. I haven’t approached other companies at this point, but I don’t think they’d be as easy to work with,” he says. New Holland P270 air hoe drill

Among the five manufacturers he would consider for supplying a new drill, Luscombe’s impression is that New Holland is the “less popular” and probably “a little cheaper” per foot. He expects cost-per-foot is very similar among the Bourgault, John Deere, Seed Hawk, and SeedMaster systems. Emotionally, Bourgault is his favourite. He says, “I still love the Bourgault. It’s bomb-proof. It probably is the toughest drill going.” He will probably still look at a Seed Hawk or SeedMaster in 2016 before selecting his next seeding tool. It has to be a “fit” for his situation. “I think double-shoot, getting that extra fertilizer on canola, is a must to get those big yields. Getting it on somehow, without hurting the seed, is very important,” Luscombe says.

Bourgault 3310 Paralink air hoe drill 24

He added, “After 30 years of doing spring anhydrous, we’re going to be doing more and more fall anhydrous. Getting that fertilizer on in the fall, placed ready for the seed, is very worthwhile.”


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Soybean Cyst Nematode is Marching Closer By Cheryl Manness

The Soybean Cyst Nematode Management Guide states that soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the most serious soybean pest in the United States, robbing soybean farmers of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of soybean yield each year.

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CN, also known as Heterodera glycines, occurs in all major soybean production areas worldwide, including North and South America. But has it travelled into Manitoba?

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“Not yet,” according to Dr. Mario Tenuta, Canadian Research Chair in Applied Soil Ecology at the University of Manitoba Department of Soil Science. “We have conducted two surveys for SCN in Manitoba and scouted problem fields but

have not found SCN so far. We have not looked in Saskatchewan yet.” Dr. Mario Tenuta, a recognized expert in soil science is examining the use of nematodes as bio-indicators in soil


and through his research is tracking the movement of SCN into Manitoba. “Not all nematodes are bad, but SCN is bad.” SCN is a microscopic roundworm related to the animal-parasitic roundworms that infest livestock and pets. The juvenile nematode, invisible to the naked eye, is the infective stage of SCN. The juveniles penetrate soybean roots and cause the formation of specialized feeding cells in the root’s vascular system. If the juvenile becomes a male, it leaves the root and moves through the soil and likely does not contribute further to plant damage. If the juvenile becomes a female, it loses the ability to move and swells into a lemonshaped object as it matures. As the females grow, their bodies break out of the root but their heads remain embedded. Plant damage is primarily due to the feeding of females and the indirect effects of this feeding. The females become yellow as they age and then turn brown after they die. The brown stage is the cyst for which the nematode is named. Each cyst can contain up to 500 eggs but under field conditions they usually contain fewer eggs. The cyst protects the eggs from the harsh soil environment helping them exist for years in a dormant state especially at low winter soil temperatures. SCN can potentially complete up to six generations during a growing season depending on the favourability of the conditions. However, SCN cannot reproduce without a host plant. Conditions that favour healthy soybean plant growth are favourable for SCN development. Once introduced into a field, SCN may take 10 years to build up to yield damaging levels depending on the varieties grown and the management practices being implemented. “Cysts are long-lived and very light,” according to Tenuta. “They move to fields

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by floating in flood waters, hitching rides with soil on farm machinery, in the wind, and possibly even by birds.” How do you determine if your field is infested with SCN? “Infestations usually need to be fairly heavy to see them in the field. Starting about six weeks after emergence the nematode will be visible as small white raised bumps on older roots,” says Tenuta. “These are the developing female cysts. The cysts are very small, about the size of a period on a printed page. A magnifying lens helps to see the cysts as does gentle dunking of the roots in water. “Cysts easily dislodge from the roots when pulling soybean plants up, so plants should be lifted out gently with a shovel. Doing this after a rainfall is helpful to loosen soil.” The most commonly observed symptom associated with SCN is reduced yield. Other field symptoms include stunted plants, uneven plant height, earlier maturity, and fewer pods. But SCN can cause yield reductions of 15 to 30 percent on a field that shows no visible symptoms of nematode damage. “A SCN problem looks like patches of stunted, chlorotic plants that take a longer 28

time to fill in the canopy. The symptoms are more pronounced in dry conditions.” How do you reduce the chances of having an infestation of SCN? Once SCN has become established in a field it is impossible to eliminate. The only way to reduce the effects of SCN in soybeans is to implement proper management practices. A combination of management practices will be required to mitigate the damage SCN can inflict on a crop. A good starting place would be the use of resistant varieties and a proper crop rotation plan. The use of resistant varieties does not eliminate SCN activity but it can greatly reduce the rate of reproduction. “Increase the length of time between soy in rotations – no more than every three to four years – and plant resistant varieties,” suggests Tenuta. “Scout fields for visual symptoms and cysts on roots. Soil sample and submit the samples for testing. More recently, with breakdown in resistant varieties, nematicides can reduce yield loss of resistant varieties.” The Soybean Cyst Nematode Guide suggests that continued use of the same resistant varieties will result in a nematode population that can damage plants and

reduce yields. Selecting SCN-resistant varieties with different resistance sources is advised if available. Non-host or poor-host crops, such as canola, barley, oats, alfalfa, and red clover, should be included in crop rotations because they cannot be used by SCN as a food source and reproduction will be impossible or very minimal. Also rotate with tolerant or susceptible soybean


varieties when SCN numbers are low to slow down the adaptation of SCN to resistant varieties. “Growing resistant varieties year on year (continuous cropping) promotes resistance breakdown. Resistant varieties need to be used with a biosecurity protocol to avoid bringing resistant SCN to fields. Use a smart rotation, avoiding edible beans in rotation, and good weed control because weeds can be alternate hosts.” New information on SCN could be coming to us soon, and we could be seeing more resistant varieties in the Western Canadian market. “Recent advances have been made in understanding the biochemical and molecular interaction of SCN with soybean and new resistant genes have been found. Likely advances will be coming soon.” Soybean damage due to SCN is frequently misdiagnosed. The only way to get a reliable diagnosis is through a professional diagnostic laboratory. Reduce your risk of loss by submitting soil samples for professional analysis.

SOYBEAN CYST NEMATODE IS MARCHING IN OUR DIRECTION AND IS INEVITABLE You can delay and lessen the damage: • Keep your machinery clean • Keep tires and footwear clean • Know your field risk areas • Dig plants to scout fields • Weed suppression • Avoid tight rotations and don’t rotate with edible beans and peas • SCN soil test • Use resistant varieties • Bird suppression. 29


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or most people, the weather is a good icebreaker at parties. But for farmers trying to make a living in an up-and-down industry, it can be a backbreaker; unless, of course, you’re a soybean farmer.

“The five years from 2010 to 2014 were five of the wettest I can remember,” said Ernie Sirski, a Manitoba farmer near Dauphin - and board member of the Manitoba Pulse & Soybean Growers (MPSG) - who has endured his share of challenging weather over the last 44 years. In fact, old-timers claim it was the rainiest period since the 1950s.

A Black & Red Issue While the conditions had many farmers seeing red, soybean producers remained in the black or close to it. “I was amazed to see my neighbours growing soybeans and doing it successfully in spite of the heavy rains,” said Sirski. “It mirrored my own experience as I found that the soy crop could handle water more easily than canola.” On his farm just east of Winnipeg, producer Rick Vaags is a fellow supporter of soybeans. “Quite simply, soybeans deal with moisture better than

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any other crop we grow,” said Vaags, who also sits on the MPSG board. Considering that his other crops include canola, wheat, oats, oil sunflowers, and corn, that’s saying a lot. 2009 was a perfect example, when his 1,000 acres of canola were drowned out while the soybeans still produced 20 bushels per acre. “They actually grow when they’re submerged, so they’re very resilient.” Still, with seven inches of rain over the July long weekend, 2014 was a challenge. Sirski said even his soybeans were overwhelmed by the moisture, and while he still managed to harvest them, it was a break-even year at best.

Here Comes the Sun If anyone doubts that “it’s always darkest before the dawn,” the 2015 soybean crop should make them a believer. “In a word, it’s awesome,” said Vaags. “In my 12 years of farming it, this will be our best soy harvest ever.” A combination of drier conditions overall and timely rain has made the difference, giving Vaags a yield of 52 bushels per acre so far with 35% of his acres harvested. The change is so dramatic that Vaags said you don’t even need to crunch numbers to tell the story; you just have to open your eyes.


“Last year the soybeans were at about knee level, whereas in 2015 they’re above my waist. Everything just seemed to click this year.”

Prosperity Loves Company Though Sirski is hundreds of kilometers northwest of Vaags, he’s on the same page when it comes to the current soy crop. He says there’s no previous year that compares to this one; but for those who like comparisons, it’s double the yield from 2014. “We didn’t seed until June 14 last year which was way too late for soybeans,” said Sirski. “This year we seeded earlier and benefited from better growing conditions and warm soil. We got off to a good start and just kept going.” And when it comes to great starts and finishes, borders are no barrier to soybean success. At Welwyn Acres Farm in southeast Saskatchewan, Will Crosson, like his Manitoba counterparts, sees the last two years as “a tale of two crops.” “2014 was decent, but this year the volume was a lot better, with an increase of 10 bushels an acre,” said Crosson. “I’m not sure exactly why, but we had fairly good conditions that lined up well for soybeans, with just enough moisture and moderate temperatures at critical times.”

The Joy of Soy So is 2015 the perfect storm, where all the stars aligned for soy farmers, or is it a sign of things to come? As far as Crosson is concerned, it’s the latter. “Breeders are working hard to produce earlier maturing varieties without sacrificing yield and working with researchers on plots. I’m impressed with the strides that have been made in just the three years that our farm has been growing

soybeans.” Rick Vaags takes it one step further, praising soy for being easy to plant, resilient and relatively low maintenance. “You rarely have to dry it because the pods are standing wide open and dry a lot faster than many other crops.” For his part, Ernie Sirski appreciates how soy diversifies his crops. Last but not least, there’s one other thing that Sirski deems noteworthy: “We make money with it.”

What to Know Before You Grow In his dual role as soy farmer and board member for the MPSG, Sirski is well positioned to view the big picture, and he likes what he sees. “The varieties today are getting more and more adapted to our areas. I farm in Dauphin which used to be a fringe zone for soybeans, but not anymore. There are varieties coming down the tube which should make soybeans a pretty major crop in Manitoba, to the tune of 1.3 million acres this year, not to mention the 300,000 acres that already exist in Saskatchewan.” Sirski said the rise in popularity for soybeans is reminiscent of another success story. “To me it’s a lot like what happened with canola 30 years ago. It developed into the Cinderella crop of the 80s and 90s and helped farmers pay some bills. Now, Monsanto is talking about 8 to 10 million acres of soybeans in Western Canada within 10 years, and we might even get there faster than that.” Of course, if growing soybeans was easy, everyone would do it. So before you rush

out and make any rookie mistakes, heed some advice from the veterans. “Make sure you pick the earliest maturing varieties, as our climate can still be challenging,” said Sirski. He advises farmers to follow best agronomic practices and use a fertility program that gives them the greatest chance for success. “Listen to the people who have grown soy before and take advantage of resources out there like the MPSG. You can get good information on fertility programs, seeding rates and other aspects that can really pay dividends, especially if you’re growing soy for the first time.” Adding a cautionary note, Crosson acknowledges that soy can be a high risk crop because of its susceptibility to frost. But like Sirski, he’s excited by what the future may hold. “With all of the advances by breeders and researchers, I’m optimistic about the viability of soybeans, and five years from now, the risks could be a lot less than they are today.” No doubt the weather will continue to be a hot topic at social gatherings. But many producers feel that if soybeans maintain their solid performance come rain or shine, they’ll be the life of the party for years to come.

We’re seeing an upswing in soybean acres because it’s easy to grow and easy to keep clean. It also tends to have fewer pests and diseases and excellent weed control, making it good for the rotation. Since we started growing soybeans our earthworm population has exploded, which is one indication of soil health. 31


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Soybean Crop Insurance in Saskatchewan – Is Your Variety On the List? By Alexandra Wig

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n the last five years, Saskatchewan has seen some exciting growth when it comes to the development of soybean varieties best adapted to the province’s growing conditions. Consequently, the industry is responding and every year more varieties have become insurable. Insurability is a key way to protect your investment and to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success as a grower. Lorelei Hulston, the Executive Director of Research and Development of the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation (SCIC), shares her expertise on what’s happening in the soybean industry and how the SCIC is responding. “Our role is to develop and design program policy. Most of our insurance programs in Saskatchewan are mature, but we continually work to ensure they

are relevant and effective for what’s happening in the industry,” Hulston explains. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture states that soybeans have become a dominant crop in world oilseed trade. The Saskatchewan agriculture industry has taken notice and responded to this opportunity. “The industry is developing soybean varieties that are adapted to Saskatchewan. Our job is to stay in-tune with that and be responsive to help mitigate risk for growers,” explains Hulston. In 2010, the SCIC launched their first insurance program for soybean growers. The growth that Saskatchewan has seen in the interest of soybeans within the last few years is significant. Hulston shared that in 2010 when they launched the soybean insurance program, there were eight 33


varieties on the insurable list. Now in 2015, there are 45 soybean varieties on the SCIC list. Hulston puts it simply, “This is driven by the growing industry.” Location within the province is a key consideration for both the grower, and consequently for the insurance provider. The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture expands on location considerations, “Soybeans have adapted to a wide range of soil types in south eastern Saskatchewan. Ideally they are grown in loamy soils and may also perform well on clay soils if conditions are favourable for rapid seedling emergence. Soybeans are sensitive to drought, so sandy soils are not usually conducive to satisfactory performance.” The SCIS has a well-documented soybean zone map that identifies the insurable areas in Saskatchewan based on the adaptability of the varieties. “Areas that are less risky, we offer more coverage; areas that are riskier, we offer less coverage; and there are areas that we simply don’t offer coverage yet,” says Huslton. “This is an evolving map that we continue to monitor on an ongoing basis.” The SCIC evaluates soybean varieties based on several measures including heat units, growing degree days, and general agronomics. “We ask ourselves what risk are we willing to take on, and insure varieties that have a reasonable chance to mature in the area,” states Hulston. So when it comes to choosing which soybean varieties you should plant, there are some important considerations and choosing an insurable variety should be top priority. You can find a current list of insurable soybean varieties on the SCIC website. This list is kept upto-date and is reviewed and updated regularly.

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“We work closely with seed companies to keep this list current and to ensure our programs are relevant within the industry,” explains Hulston. “We keep in touch with companies throughout the winter, and they do the same. It’s a mutual agreement to maintain communication with one another.” It’s safe to conclude that the growth potential of soybeans in Saskatchewan is great and ever-changing. “There is a lot of interest from seed companies actively looking to expand their growing areas,” assures Hulston. “Our goal is to react alongside the industry and adapt our insurance programs to best support growth in the province.”

If you’re among those looking to make this important investment and are considering a soybean variety that isn’t on the SCIC list, Hulston invites you to get in touch. “Be sure to contact us if you’re interested in growing a soybean variety that isn’t on our list,” says Huslton. “It’s a growing list and we always want to make sure we are up to speed on what’s happening in the industry.” Hulston leaves us with some sound advice to be sure to make an informed decision about where and what you plan to plant. “Before you buy seed, check and make sure you can have it insured,” cautions Hulston. “It’s important to know what varieties are on the list.”


You’re not just buying seed, you’re investing in your business. Choosing the right product is only part of your success. You know that knowledge and experience are what help businesses grow. Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centres give you access to more than today’s best seeds. We’re here to help you increase your yields and profitability with expert advice and end-to-end service. From crop planning to grain marketing, we’re focused on supporting you at every stage of growth. Get more than top varieties. Partner with a prairie-wide network of agronomic advisors committed to giving your operation the advantage it deserves.

Book Your 2016 Seed Today. Contact your local

Richardson Pioneer Ag Business Centre. www.richardson.ca PIONEER® FOR THE SALE AND DISTRIBUTION OF SEED IS A REGISTERED TRADE-MARK OF PIONEER HI-BRED INTERNATIONAL, INC. AND IS USED UNDER LICENSE BY THE UNAFFILIATED COMPANY RICHARDSON PIONEER LIMITED.


EARLIER NSC Watson RR2Y

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.

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H S TA R G E N E

© 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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Growing Soybeans Issue 15  

Winter 2015

Growing Soybeans Issue 15  

Winter 2015