Growing Soybeans Issue 16

Page 1

For Western Canadian Soybean Growers

Issue 16 / Spring 2016

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 John Dietz Bruce Barker Geoff Geddes Cheryl Manness Shari Narine Ron Friesen

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Letter From the Editor pg 5 Why Soybean Seeding Date is a Critical Decision Each Year pg 6 After Three Years, Soybeans Earning a Place on This Saskatchewan Farm pg 8 Some Useful Research Highlights From the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation pg 11 Why Local Strip Trials Are So Important pg 14 Will We See More LibertyLink Soybeans in Western Canada? pg 16 New Two-Trait Soybeans Mean Cleaner Fields And Higher Yields pg 18 Soybean Fungicide Application Needs to be Considered on a Case-By-Case Basis pg 20 Weed’Em or Weep: Strategies for Soybean Growers to Stay Ahead of Weeds pg 22 What to Know Before Signing a Grain Production Contract pg 27 International Year of Pulses: How Soybeans are Part of the Mix pg 30 The 2015 Results are In pg 32

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Letter from the Editor


s the seeding season is on the top of mind for most Western Canadian growers at this moment, we are excited to bring you our 16th edition of Growing Soybeans. As you all know by now, soybeans are near and dear to our hearts because we know the value they bring to the world food supply, not to mention all of the other handy things they provide society (see Issue 1, available on www.northstargenetics. com). We also know the value they bring to Western Canadian farmers as a crop. They are resilient, require few inputs, and are extremely marketable. This is why Growing Soybeans is going strong and excited to embrace another year of great soybean potential. This is our 16th edition of Growing Soybeans, the first issue we are releasing in 2016, and 2016 is the International

Year of Pulses, as stated by the United Nations. Coincidence? I think not. This is the year for soybeans (even though we do acknowledge that soybeans are not technically a pulse crop, but all pulse associations in Western Canada have lumped them into pulses, so we will here as well). For this issue we have looked into what the International Year of Pulses will mean for soybeans in Western Canada and the world. Most importantly, for this time of year we have brought you some new insight for seeding. With the uncharacteristic weather we saw last spring, many soybean growers were left wondering when to start seeding. Should you wait until the ideal date or the ideal temperature? We have asked Terry Buss for some rules of thumb for seeding. We also asked Brent McCarthy of McCarthy Seed Farms about his seeding practices for Saskatchewan, as someone who had great success growing soybeans

last year. What practices did he use to bring him such a successful crop? We also know the importance of trials and testing different products, varieties, and methods. We have talked to the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation about their soybean trials, and we have also looked into local dealer trials and how they can be of value to growers and provided some tips for all of the tours your could attend this summer. We’ve also paid special attention to crop protection this issue. From weed control and management to disease control and resistance management in various forms, we want to be sure your soybeans are protected this year. With much more in the pages to come, please enjoy this issue of Growing Soybeans, and we wish you all the best for your soybean crops this year!


Why Soybean Seeding Date is a Critical Decision Each Year By Cheryl Manness


ith the spring we had in 2015, it left a lot of farmers wondering whether they should take the chance on seeding soybeans. The variability of spring weather can create a challenging decision making process at the time of year when most farmers think they have their plan fully laid out and ready to go. With increased acres of a farm dedicated to soybeans, the risk factors need to be weighed and measured. One of the biggest challenges with growing soybeans is choosing the right timing for planting, taking into consideration all the factors necessary to give the plants their best start possible. The most important factors are soil temperature and the weather forecast during the planting window. Even though soybeans generally produce higher yields when planted early, the seed and seedling can be damaged by both low soil temperature and frost. According to data collected by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC), the general trend for seeding many crops appears to be the earlier the better, but not too early, especially with soybeans. When soybeans are planted too early they can be exposed to an increased risk of spring frost.


Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) recommends the optimum time to plant soybeans is between May 15 and May 25, or when the average soil temperature has warmed up to at least 10° C with 18-22° C being ideal. Soybean seedlings can tolerate a light spring frost for a short period but will not recover if damaged. “That’s traditionally where it’s been set for the last 10 years,” said Terry Buss, Farm Production Extension Specialist – Pulse Crops, MAFRD regarding the recommended seeding window. “I think we’re coming to a time when the way we decide when to seed will become more sophisticated. But generally, by the May 15, soil temperatures are warm enough and the risk of frost is lower.” “The 24 hours after seeding are the most critical. The soil temperature and the soil water temperature should be warm enough by May 15 for the seed to do well but chilling injury can still be a risk. If seeds imbibe soil water colder than 4.5° C within the first 24 hours, significant seed damage will occur if not germination failure. A cold rain in the first 24 hours can also cause similar damage to the seed.” By mid May a killing frost is still possible, as well. Research has documented that beans at the early seedling stage have survived exposure to temperatures ranging from -1.1° C to -1.8° C and very brief periods up to -2.2° C. It should be noted that soybeans bring their growing point above the soil surface during emergence which decreases their ability to harden off to the degree that canola can. Frost or freeze damage extending below the cotyledons translates to complete death of the seedling. When the only option is to seed a little early with less than optimum temperatures, seeding depth is critical. Seeding as shallow and uniformly as possible, while still placing seeds into moisture, will help maximize soil temperatures, as well as seeding into the field with the blackest soil

first. Controlling depth at seeding from a maximum of 1.5 inches to as little as 0.75 inches is recommended. “There isn’t much difference in harvest dates even if the beans are in the ground a couple of weeks early if those couple of weeks were cold ones,” suggests Buss. “Early seeded beans don’t usually emerge as quickly as later seeded plants due to colder soil temperatures and they can struggle more. Plants that take longer to emerge can be weaker and may have decreased tolerance to diseases such as Phytophthora wilt, which shows up later in the season.” Beans are photoperiod sensitive, which means they react to changes in night length, beginning to produce flowers during the growing season after nights start getting longer and days start getting shorter. As the days get shorter the plant starts to move into the reproductive growth stages, flowering then setting pods and seeds. Planting soybeans later than the recommended window will force plants into their reproductive growth stages when the plant is much smaller and less advanced than those planted at the optimum time and can result in reduced yield. “Generally, the more nodes on the main stem before they go into the reproductive stage the better the yield,” says Buss. “Besides time of seeding, another important factor is deciding on a seeding rate,” says Buss. “Row crop or solid seeding, according to research conducted in Manitoba, the optimum economic seeding rate will be between 140,000-155,000 live plants/acre. Calibrate carefully. Work from your live plants/acre target back to your actual seeding rate. Seed retailers can help you with this. “If you are a solid seeder, I strongly recommend that once the crop is up to put a hoola hoop out and do a count of live plants to find out how close you got to your target stand density. Unless you measure, you will not know for sure. For solid seeders, counting the plants in a

28.25 inch hoola hoop and multiplying by 10,000 will give you your live plants/acre count. There are also apps designed for smartphone use that will allow producers to use a hoola hoop of any diameter and will automatically calculate stand density using the data they input. Row length based stand density measuring tools and apps are also available for those row cropping.” First-time growers likely won’t have the necessary bacteria species present in sufficient numbers in their soil for the beans to fixate nitrogen. Buss suggests, “First-time growers should double inoculate, both on the seed and in the row. The granular in the row provides a back-up population of Rhizobia, especially when the weather isn’t very conducive to inoculant survival. Fungicides can be really important as well, especially to protect seeds from disease during wet, cool weather.” Buss also suggests that the idea soybeans don’t need fertilizer because they don’t often show a yield response to phosphorus (P) or potassium (K) applied in the year of production is incorrect. Soybeans need fertility, just in a different way. Soybeans like fertile soil, not fertilizer. “What we’re trying now is to think about fertilizing soybeans as a crop rotation issue. Laying down P and K with other crops in the years before soybeans are grown on a field. Beans use a lot of both P and K, but they prefer it in the soil, not as applied fertilizer. Get the soil in the proper condition ahead of time to optimize soybean growth. Soil test and use proper crop rotations.” As with most crops, Buss recommends always purchasing quality seed as the best place to start. “I also can’t stress enough how important data collection and the hoola hoop is,” states Buss. “Understanding how your decisions through the seeding process have affected the plant stand and yield is very valuable information to have for future crops.”


After Three Years, Soybeans Earning a Place on This Saskatchewan Farm By John Dietz

Southeast Saskatchewan seed grower Brent McCarthy is back in school, learning to grow soybeans.


earning things is a big part of the farming agenda for Corning, Saskatchewan seed grower Brent McCarthy. For this year, he’s looking forward to his fourth crop of soybeans and a few more acres.

McCarthy had success with his soybeans in 2015, and talked about some of that experience in the previous issue of Growing Soybeans, and we thought it would be interesting to hear what he is planning for 2016 to achieve the same level of success or higher. McCarthy Seed Farm is located in the Kipling area of southeast Saskatchewan. The farm produces about 3,500 acres of pedigreed seed, mostly cereals and pulses, out of 4,500 seed acres. “Last year (2015), finally, I think we had success,” McCarthy said in early January. “The first two years were basically a steep learning curve for us. We learned to manage different things. We got it right and had good luck this year.”

The first soybean crop was about 65 acres. They took it to about 240 acres in 2014 and to 350 acres in 2015. This year, they plan to grow about 440 acres. All of it will be in pedigreed seed with Roundup Ready 2 soybeans, supplied by NorthStar Genetics. “We’ve concentrated on early varieties. Early maturity was our limitation for yield, and NorthStar Genetics had some of the earliest on the market,” McCarthy says. Now he has experience with three early lines: NSC Reston RR2Y, NSC Moosomin RR2Y, and NSC Watson RR2Y. “I very much like Watson. It has the maturity. It’s the one that will be well suited for here,” McCarthy says. What he’s also learned, and this is important, is that soybeans are sensitive to location. The best choice for Corning, SK may not be at all suited to a farm at Moosomin. “It will be Watson this year on the majority of our soybean acres, but I’d like to try a few varieties. Soybeans do seem to be area-specific,” he says. “A variety that does well in southwest Manitoba may not yield as good here, and we’re not that far away. You need to find the variety that performs best in your area.” NorthStar describes NSC Watson RR2Y as its earliest variety, at 2225 heat units, suited to the black soil zone of Saskatchewan as well as dark brown and brown zones. However, the heat unit need for NSC Moosomin RR2Y is less than 2300 CHUs and for NSC Reston RR2Y, only 2325 CHU.


“Watson came in a week earlier than the Reston, side by side on the same halfsection,” he says. “For me, that takes the security risk out of the equation. Now we have soybean maturity similar to flax, in my opinion, in this area. Now we can focus on the agronomics, the yield, and marketing.”

“We had very good luck with that tank mix. It rained again and by the time August came around, a little volunteer canola was flowering in the soybeans but we didn’t think it affected the yield,” he says. “You do need good weed control for all of June.”

His yields for the two varieties were in line with the area production, around 32 bushels per acre.

To this point, the grower hasn’t needed to invest in disease control for his soybeans. Sclerotinia disease symptoms appeared in his Reston soybeans in 2014, but it was below the threshold for spraying.

The two were very similar except for one other detail – the Watson beans closed their canopy earlier. “Watson seemed to fill in earlier and cover the ground earlier than Reston,” McCarthy says. “That helps in your weed management and in keeping your crop clean, which goes right back to yield. When you look at all the factors in growing soybeans, covering the ground is pretty important.”

Weed control Early, he learned that soybeans are not very competitive compared to wheat or canola. Weed control was a problem in his first soybean fields. They need a warm seedbed, so they’re waiting in the shed until the May long weekend. Weed control has to wait, too, until just before planting. Then, they may need until early July to close the canopy. Glyphosate doesn’t touch the volunteer canola in soybeans when both have the glyphosate-resistance gene, even if the soybeans are planted in wheat stubble. “We grow all Roundup Ready canola. That issue has kicked us in the butt in past years. We have to manage it,” he says. “We typically seed our crops into heavy stubble but, for beans, we get the dirt black so it warms up better.” For the burnoff before seeding, McCarthy trusts glyphosate and Express SG herbicide to control the volunteer canola, grasses, and broadleaf weeds that are well established. In crop this year he used glyphosate and full-rate Viper herbicide.

“With that dry July, we had no risk of sclerotinia this year. Sclerotinia can show up, and it’s definitely an issue, but not in a big enough way yet to warrant spraying,” he says.

Machinery McCarthy likes the fact that he can put in a soybean crop and harvest it with only one real adjustment in his equipment. He solid seeds the beans and other crops with a Bourgault para-link drill. He shoots for 200,000 seeds per acre, at the same 0.75inch depth as his canola. A land roller is essential for pushing down stones after seeding, but he already had that for his peas. He also had a belt conveyor for loading the peas, and now the soybeans, but points out that an auger is “good enough” for commercial soybeans going to an elevator. “If you’ve grown peas or lentils you can easily grow soybeans,” he says.

Overall, given the markets and experience, McCarthy is comfortable with putting 10 percent of his land into the next soybean crop. “It’s not a lot of risk. You can still have a yellow pea or a red lentil or other pulse crop,” he says. Soybeans are a new crop for anywhere in Saskatchewan. Lots of growers are watching the performance of the beans and the experiences of early innovators. “We’ve made the mistakes,” McCarthy says. “To be successful, weed control is number one. Keep this crop clean. Put them into warm enough soil with the right variety, and right plant population, right inoculant, do the due diligence on weed control, and be prepared for the harvest. If you do that, I think you’re going to have success with them.”

His one machinery purchase was a flex header for harvest, to shave the profit off the ground. He used a rigid header the first year. After that, he invested. He says, “I think a rigid header is fine for a first year grower. You are going to miss a few soybeans because you do have to scrape the ground pretty close. I sure like the flex head. It does a nice job now, and we can use it on our peas and lentils.”


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Some Useful Research Highlights From the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation By Geoff Geddes A space in the crowd “Soybeans appear to be relatively insensitive to row spacing,” said Holzapfel. “In 2014, we actually saw yields increase with increasing row spacing. But in hindsight, our granular inoculant rate was limiting and this was likely a confounding factor. In 2015, the results favoured the 10to 12-inch row spacing, although soybeans still performed quite well and managed to fill in the canopy right up to 24-inch spacing.”

Health before wealth


Currently, most of the foundation’s soybeans are planted into fields that are new to this crop, making proper inoculation critical. oybean farmers can harness the latest research to help them battle the elements and give their seeds a fighting chance.

A leading source of such research is the Indian Head Agricultural Research Foundation (IHARF), a non-profit organization based in Saskatchewan whose mission is to promote profitable and sustainable agriculture by facilitating research and technology transfer. Over the years, IHARF has pursued many research activities relevant to Western Canadian growing conditions. To complete these activities, IHARF manages both a smallplot research and demonstration program

as well as a field-scale program on 1,200 acres of land cropped by IHARF every year. “To be successful in the long run, you need to stay on the cutting edge of research,” said Chris Holzapfel, Research Manager for the foundation. “That’s why we focus on factors that are within the farmer’s control and give them the greatest chance for success.” Here are some factors in growing soybeans that IHARF has been researching and what conclusions they have come to or are working on.

“We have always used seed treated with liquid inoculant but require at least a full rate of granular inoculant on top of that,” said Holzapfel. “In some years, particularly under less favourable conditions (i.e. 2014), soybean yields continued to climb with increasing granular inoculant rates of up to at least twice the labelrecommended rate.” Having said that, he stressed that one can’t overlook the law of diminishing returns. “Once growers have gone through a couple of cycles of soybeans in their rotations, the benefits to dual inoculation or rates exceeding label recommendations are likely to diminish. Research in Manitoba 11

Because soybeans require a long growing season and are typically the last of the crops harvested in Western Canada, growers might be tempted to seed early. According to Holzapfel, it’s one temptation they’d be wise to resist. is showing this to be the case there. In 2014, we also had a very strong response to N fertilizer application and we are doing more in-depth research on this matter now; however, I don’t expect to see a benefit to N fertilization under most conditions based on work that has been done elsewhere.”

The rate debate What is the optimal seeding rate for soybeans? To some extent, it will depend on who you ask and when you’re asking, but there is agreement on general guidelines. “In 2014 we had an extremely strong response to seeding rate, but yields were low and the highest rates would not likely have been economical. Preliminary inspection of 2015 results suggests that yields were leveling off at more modest rates in that year. At the same time, higher plant populations may result in taller plants (and pods that are higher off the ground and therefore easier to harvest) in addition to promoting earlier maturity, which is important in our environment.” Currently, Holzapfel is recommending at least 200-220K seeds/acre, which is in line with the recommendations that industry had established before Chris and his team began their work.

Taking their place Sometimes, it pays to be shallow. While there are exceptions, soybeans generally do not require deep seeding in spite of their relatively large seed size. 12

“We are looking at either 0.75” or 1.5” seeding depths and, although there haven’t been any major agronomic differences between the treatments, shallower seeding will generally result in more rapid and uniform emergence and an overall smoother seedbed.” Not only is it unnecessary to use deep seed placement for soybeans; it can actually be harmful. “Field peas have traditionally been our most important pulse crop in this region and many growers will seed this crop quite deep (i.e. >=1.5”) to ensure that it is in moisture long enough to germinate and get out of the ground. This does not appear to be necessary for soybeans and seeding too deep can delay emergence, increase seedling mortality and, perhaps, result in lower pods that are more difficult to harvest.” Holzapfel acknowledged that you may want to seed a bit deeper if planting into very dry soils, but said he rarely encounters this condition in the no-till, heavy clay soils he uses for his research. As well, he stressed that “whether you have stones or not, it is always recommended to roll fields after seeding as this will make harvesting the lowest pods much easier and more efficient.”

Timing isn’t everything, but it helps Because soybeans require a long growing season and are typically the last of the

crops harvested in Western Canada, growers might be tempted to seed early. According to Holzapfel, it’s one temptation they’d be wise to resist. “At best, seeding early is not advantageous, and at worst, it’s detrimental. We are doing some seeding date work and, while we appear to be doing okay seeding in the first or second week of May, there is no maturity or yield advantage compared to postponing seeding to the third or fourth week of May.” In fact, in 2015, the foundation had soybeans seeded on May 7 and May 19, and both dates emerged and matured within about a day of each other. When seeding is pushed into June, however, Holzapfel found that there’s often a higher risk of frost injury in the fall and subsequent yield and quality loss, although even these crops tended to catch up quite quickly to the earlier seeded treatments later in the season. “Industry typically recommends seeding into soil that is at least 10 o C. Since soil temperatures go up and down dramatically with the weather, my own somewhat crude recommendation has been to wait until at least the middle of May and then go in when the forecast looks nice and warm for a couple of days.” It’s a lot to consider, but nobody said farming was easy. If it was, those weekend gardeners would be challenging the soybean growers for a piece of the profits. Given our desire to make everything we do faster, simpler, and more user-friendly, it’s one concern that farmers can cross off their list.

Why Local Strip Trials are So Important By Andrea Hilderman



he use of strip trials to demonstrate how a new practice or product performs in a local environment is becoming more and more widespread. Growers are very interested to see how new innovations perform in their local area before they make a big investment. Strip trials are becoming a larger part of the marketing process at the retail level as well, addressing this preference of growers to see first, then buy. But even beyond that, growers are using strip trials on their own farms to get an up-close and very personal look at how a new variety performs right beside a proven, if possibly, aged performer. Strip trials should be kept as simple as possible with only one or two treatments – one standard practice or product, and the other the new product or practice. Ideally, the strips should be replicated across the field. This will help to eliminate any variability in the field: low spots or other land variances. Side-by-side trials are the most reliable way to see how the two varieties or treatments stack up. Taking a strip trial to yield will mean having a yield monitor or using a weigh wagon to measure results. Strip trials are often taken to yield and the results published and available through the retail. To discuss the importance of strip trials, we chatted with Rick Storoschuk, sales agronomist with GJ Chemical in Manitoba. “Soybean strip trials, or strip trials for any commodity, are an important way to understand how a new product is going to perform in your own backyard,” explains Storoschuk. “As a sales agronomist, I have to be confident that what I am recommending to my grower clients will work for them. They are looking to me to help them with their decision making, not give them a sales pitch.”

As well as engaging growers in the results at the end of the season, Storoschuk gets a lot of value out of touring growers through the trials in season. “A tour gives me and my growers a really great chance to get into the crop and evaluate it,” he says. “There’s no substitute for this hands-on experience. It can create both confidence and excitement if the product is promising. Or it can be a really easy way to see what is not going to work.” When it comes to soybeans in particular, Storoschuk says that growers are most interested in maturity first and foremost, and then pod height. “Without knowing the maturity compared to what they are already growing, most guys won’t be comfortable to try it,” says Storoschuk. “With the confidence they gain by seeing it in a trial, most will try a lot more acres than they would if they didn’t.” Storoschuk is committed to improving the bottom line for his growers. “By providing reliable advice on what varieties to choose, as an example, then I am providing a valuable service. The value of these local trials is really critical.” Those growers that put the strip trials out on their land are very important. “Our cooperators tend to be really engaged with us in the entire process,” he says. “They take that extra care in seeding and in maintaining the strips throughout the season. Generally, they’ll place them by a highway, which is great for visibility. At harvest, we’ll come in with a weigh wagon. The cooperators also provide us with a tremendous amount of information about the trial – emergence, observations about the in-field operations, and how well the variety is to harvest. Invaluable information.” The yield data is important, Storoschuk notes, but it’s not as important as the in-season performance. Touring growers and staff through the fields in the summer is where many decisions are made about whether or not to give something new a try or not.

Photo courtesy of GJ Chemical


Will We See More LibertyLink Soybeans in Western Canada? By Bruce Barker


oundup Ready soybeans have long ruled the roost in Canada and the U.S., but more and more growers are turning to LibertyLink soybeans – primarily to help manage herbicide resistance. All things being equal, including yield, that trend may develop in Western Canada as well. “We started to move to LibertyLink® soybeans a few years ago in response to glyphosate resistant weeds developing. We wanted to have an alternative mode-ofaction in our rotation,” says Andy Beyer, of Beyer Seed Farm, Kent, Minnesota. “It works for us to do that.” Beyer grew several LibertyLink soybean varieties in 2015, including NS0801NLL and NS0571NLL. While these NorthStar Genetics varieties have longer maturity than recommended for Western Canada, NorthStar Genetics has one suitable variety, NSC Mollard LL. NSC Mollard LL is a 2450 CHU (00.6 relative maturity) variety with a branchy plant architecture, very high IDC score, and mid-tall height with high pods for an easy harvest. Beyer says he isn’t giving up any yield by moving to LibertyLink soybeans. The LibertyLink varieties have been his two best yielding varieties in each of the last four years.


At Drayton, North Dakota, Roger Weinlaeder of Weinlaeder Family Farms and Weinlaeder Seed Company has grown LibertyLink soybeans for the last five or six years. He also says yield is a primary motivation for growing LibertyLink soybeans. “The number one reason is that the genetics in LibertyLink soybeans are excellent. They yield as well as any other Roundup Ready 2 soybean variety that we have grown,” says Weinlaeder. “If we grow both, LibertyLink stays with the Roundup varieties, and most of the time wins. That translates into more revenue per acre.” Like Beyer, Weinlaeder also likes LibertyLink soybeans as a means to rotate to different chemistries to manage herbicide resistance. Glyphosate resistant weeds are becoming common across the U.S., including in the Midwest where palmer amaranth, tall waterhemp, common and giant ragweed, hairy fleabane, horseweed, and kochia, among others, have been identified as having glyphosateresistant biotypes. In Western Canada, kochia resistance has been identified, and horseweed (Canada fleabane), common ragweed, waterhemp, and giant ragweedresistant biotypes have been found in Ontario.

“Glyphosate resistance is occurring everywhere around the world, and we know there are some resistant weeds in the county. Our approach is to try to deal with it before it becomes a problem,” says Weinlaeder. Dennis Lange, a pulse crop specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development (MAFRD) at Altona, Manitoba, says LibertyLink soybeans could have a fit in Manitoba, depending on the variety performance and crop rotation. In rotations with Roundup Ready canola, Lange says a LibertyLink variety could be a good fit for managing herbicide resistance, while also providing an opportunity to control Roundup Ready volunteer canola. “If Roundup Ready crops are in your rotation, then a LibertyLink soybean may make sense,” says Lange. David Kikkert, manager of soybean seeds and traits with Bayer at Guelph, Ontario agrees with Lange’s assessment on how LibertyLink soybeans can fit for Western Canadian growers. It can be a valuable tool as a rotational option for managing herbicide resistance, but only where it fits in with farmers’ cropping plans.

“If you are growing LibertyLink canola, our recommendation for managing herbicide resistance is to stay with LibertyLink canola and use a Roundup Ready soybean if soybeans are following your canola crop,” says Kikkert. “But if you have other Roundup Ready crops in your rotation, LibertyLink soybeans can be a good fit. Growers should also use additional pre- and post-emergent herbicides no matter what trait system is being used for more than one herbicide group coverage.” Glufosinate, the active ingredient in Liberty herbicide used in the LibertyLink system (In Canada: Liberty 200 on soybean and corn; Liberty 150 on canola), has the same herbicide resistance development risk rating as glyphosate, which is low. While only Italian ryegrass has been found to be resistant to glufosinate in an Oregon orchard in the U.S., the potential of further glufosinate resistance is a real possibility. Likely the reason more glufosinate resistance hasn’t developed is that LibertyLink technology isn’t used nearly as intensively in crop rotations as Roundup Ready technology that has traditionally been used every year in the U.S. Midwest in a corn-soybean rotation, and glyphosate in pre-seed, pre-harvest, and post-harvest applications. “The concept of managing herbicide resistance applies to LibertyLink and Roundup Ready crops. You want to rotate crops, herbicides, trait technologies, and have more than one herbicide group as much as you can to preserve the effectiveness of the technologies for as long as possible,” says Kikkert.

Weed control considerations Looking at weed spectrum and effectiveness on weeds, glufosinate

and glyphosate have different strengths and weaknesses. In Western Canada, glufosinate is known to be strong on broadleaf weeds, but a tank-mix is often added to boost grassy weed control. Conversely, glyphosate is strong on grasses, perennial weeds, and most broadleaf weeds, but needs a bit of help on wild buckwheat and kochia. At Kent, Minnesota, Beyer has his weed control program dialed in on soybeans. He uses Valor herbicide (flumioxazin) pre-emergent over top all of his soybeans – Roundup Ready or LibertyLink – a day or two after seeding. Flumioxazin is registered on soybeans in Western Canada as Valtera. Valor provides four to six weeks of residual weed control of a wide spectrum of broadleaf weeds including water hemp and Palmer pigweed. In LibertyLink soybeans, he sprays Liberty 280 herbicide twice. The first when the beans are about four inches high and the second just before the crop goes into bloom. “The biggest trick with Liberty [280] is to use 20 gallons of water and AMS [ammonium sulfate] additive to help with coverage. We also spray in the middle of the day when the sun is out and the plants warmed up,” says Beyer. “We’ve found way better success with this approach.” Lange says most Western Canadian growers are familiar with Liberty weed control. In canola, he says many growers add a grass herbicide such as Centurion or Select (clethodim) to Liberty 150. While Pursuit, Basagran Forte, FirstRate, Excel Super, and AMS are registered tank-mixes with Liberty 200 in Eastern Canada on soybeans, only the Liberty 200 + AMS tank-mix is registered on soybeans in Western Canada. Bayer does recommend a Group 1 herbicide tank-mix with Liberty on soybeans; speak to your Bayer representative for further information.

Why so few choices? With NSC Mollard LL just entering the Western Canadian market, the question begs to be asked. Why has it taken so long? LibertyLink soybeans were just commercially launched in 2009 after global clearances were obtained, with the first variety introduced in 2010 in Canada. Kikkert says Bayer also approached the soybean market differently than canola where the company established its own breeding program. LibertyLink soybean technology was licensed out to MS Technologies at West Point, Iowa. Once LibertyLink germplasm is developed, it is broadly licensed out to seed companies like NorthStar Genetics for production and marketing. Kikkert says getting LibertyLink soybean varieties into the Canadian market is a slower process. Plant breeders mainly focus their efforts on the biggest markets first. In Eastern Canada, six LibertyLink varieties are on the market, although that is substantially less than the choices available to growers in the U.S. “One of the challenges with LibertyLink soybeans in Western Canada is acreage. We have smaller acreage, so less effort has been put into breeding 00 and 000 maturity beans, although we are starting to see some new germplasm coming, especially as acreage increases in these earlier maturity groups,” says Kikkert. Lange says whether LibertyLink soybeans catches on in Western Canada will hinge on the yield performance and maturity of introduced varieties. He tested NSC Mollard LL a few years ago. “From what I’ve seen, the yield potential looked pretty good. Maturity was in that mid-season zone. It will be interesting to see how it does,” says Lange.


New Two-Trait Soybeans Mean Cleaner Fields and Higher Yields By John Dietz With Monsanto’s new Xtend trait in soybeans coming to the market, are there things that growers need to know about applying dicamba?

Once upon a time, perfect weed control became possible – Monsanto put a trait for glyphosate-resistance into canola, then corn, then soybeans and cotton. In the bigger scheme of things, glyphosate has been “defeated” by pigweed, horseweed, kochia, and other weeds in the U.S. Now Monsanto has introduced a new herbicide resistance trait on top of the “old” one for glyphosate resistance.

New and approved The new two-trait technology Monsanto has developed is called Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. It is the first biotechstacked soybean trait with both dicamba and glyphosate herbicide tolerance.

The new crop system, starting with soybeans, was released on February 3, 2016 because the most important soybean buyer in the world, China, said yes.

Xtend is built on the high yielding Genuity Roundup Ready 2 Yield (RR2Y) soybean technology. With the Xtend technology, over-the-top dicamba for tough to control broadleaf weeds is now available for use in soybeans.

The new soybean will be resistant to applications of both glyphosate and dicamba herbicides.

This February, China agreed to accept the import of Xtend soybeans and the trait can now be fully released to the market.

In the U.S., it may sustain the ability to produce soybeans in places heavily challenged by weeds with glyphosate resistance. On the Canadian Prairies, it may generate a weed-free window for soybeans in June


and early July and enable a higher yield potential.

Dicamba history The organic chemical 3,6-dichloro-oanisic acid was registered in 1967 in the U.S. under the common name, dicamba. Trade names were approved in 1983 for

Banvel, Banex, and Brush Buster, the first herbicides with dicamba. Dicamba is a Group 4 herbicide. Group 4 products come from five chemical families and today include 17 active ingredients. Some older Group 4 actives from other families include 2,4-D, MCPA, clopyralid, and fluroxypyr. In 1995, BASF Canada registered an updated version, Banvel II Herbicide. It is registered to control broadleaf weeds in cereals, field corn, Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans, reduced tillage, pastures and rangeland grasses, crop-free land, red fescue, canary seed, seedling grasses grown for seed, in forage and in low bush blueberries. “Dicamba is extremely strong on broadleaf plants. It has a wide application window and a powerful residual activity,” says Allan Froese, Monsanto Canada technology development representative, Carman, MB. He adds, “Original Banvel had a dimethyl amine (DMA) salt. Under the right conditions, like really hot weather and low humidity, DMA dicamba could rise as a vapor and drift miles away onto other crops.” The BASF product, Banvel II, has the same effectiveness but less volatility. The DMA salt has been replaced with diglycolamine salt (DGA) in the Banvel II formulation.

New chemistry A Monsanto premix of dicamba and glyphosate herbicides will be branded upon registration as Roundup Xtend with VaporGrip technology, Froese says. It will include an advanced dicamba product, to be branded on registration as XtendiMax herbicide with VaporGrip technology. Upon regulatory approval, XtendiMax will be labeled for use before, at, and after planting in the Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System. This low-volatility formulation is expected to provide an additional choice for broadspectrum control of weeds.

VaporGrip technology is proprietary, designed to significantly reduce dicamba volatility compared to commercially available dicamba products. Froese says, “VaporGrip doesn’t allow the formation of acid in the spray tank, so it greatly reduces the volatility.” XtendiMax has a very wide application window, from before the crop emerges up until soybeans are beginning to flower. The residual effectiveness for XtendiMax will depend on the application rate. Two rates are being registered with Xtend soybeans. The low rate, 300 g/ha (250 ml/acre), has very little residual control. The heavy rate, 600 g/ha (500 ml/acre), will give 14 days of residual weed control, according to research from the United States. There are no restrictions for the following crop, with either rate, as long as XtendiMax is applied before September 1.

Xtend soybeans Xtend soybeans for Western Canada are being developed by Monsanto in Glyndon, Minnesota and Guelph, Ontario. The two-trait beans have been in site trials for at least five years. Test sites in Western Canada have been operating for two years. The plan is that all Monsanto soybeans will have both traits. Many new lines are in development and older lines will be phased out as advanced varieties come through the breeding process. “We are seeing better weed control by adding the dicamba at the high rate,” Froese says. The traditional treatment for RR2Y soybeans is an early burnoff at planting and a second treatment when the crop is up. But, according to University of Guelph research, a better plan is to have a weedfree period from emergence until the second to third trifoliate stage. “By adding residual control with the

high rate and keeping the field clean, you maximize your yield potential. There aren’t any weeds to compete with your crop,” Froese says. “Timing of the in-crop treatment becomes more flexible. We’d see using XtendiMax in-crop if you have a glyphosate resistant weed or if it’s been too wet to get in and you need something to boost the weed control.” Residual activity of dicamba makes all the difference, he says. Glyphosate has no residual. NorthStar Genetics has two Xtend varieties available for this spring, NSC EXP 114 RR2X and NSC Starbuck RR2X.

Caution Dicamba is not strong on RR2Y canola. “Dicamba will hold back, but it won’t control canola volunteers. You are going to need to mix dicamba with something else, maybe a product like Viper, to stop the glyphosate tolerant canola in your XtendiMax soybeans,” he says. Froese warns, “The XtendiMax system has no cross-tolerance to any other Group 4 product. MCPA and 2,4-D will severely stunt the Xtend soybeans. It has the same mode of action but it’s a different chemical.” Some adjustments for sprayers probably will be needed for the Xtend soybeans, he says. “At grower meetings, we discuss everything on the label, advising them of things they need to be doing if they’re going to be successful,” he says. For instance, pay attention to prevent drift and use Size 4 nozzles. “We’re recommending extremely coarse to ultra-coarse droplet sizes, and don’t go so crazy-fast. All of our research has been done at rates of 10 gallons per acre. We recommend that you stay on label.” He adds, “We want to make sure we minimize the accidents. XtendiMax will severely injure any soybean field that isn’t growing Xtend soybeans.” 19

Soybean Fungicide Application Needs to be Considered on a Case-By-Case Basis By Shari Narine

Pushing the envelope in soybean production and increasing the acreages planted with one of the newer pulse crops to hit Manitoba and Saskatchewan will lead to more disease concerns.



s soybean interest grows in the west and as growers get more familiar with the bean and want to try different things, I think there is the possibility of using fungicides in the future,” says Doug Fotheringham, Syngenta’s agronomic service representative for Manitoba. “There’s a lot of talk about high management soybeans these days and what that means. I think guys who are more familiar with growing soybeans are trying to push the envelope a little bit … (and) there might be a need for fungicide application in the high management scenario.” At this point, though, most soybean specialists are in agreement that the use of fungicides needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis taking a multitude of variables into consideration including temperature, soil moisture, crop rotation, field history, and, of course, profitable increase in yield. If the season is promising to be dry, if the field hasn’t been susceptible to disease with previous pulse crops, if drainage is good, if fungicide application cannot take place in the R2 and R3 stages, then the cost benefit of using a fungicide is less likely to be realized. “The disease pressure is relatively low in Manitoba, in Western Canada, because it is a relatively new crop for most of Manitoba outside of the Red River valley,” says Glen Forster, BASF technical marketing specialist for fungicides, Western Canada. Forster says the Red River Valley is unique in Western Canada, where soybeans have been grown for a couple of decades and the area borders on the United States, where soybeans are also a popular crop. The use of fungicides has a bigger impact in the Red River Valley because of the potential for the accumulation of disease. But producers elsewhere in Manitoba as well as some in Saskatchewan are taking into consideration both their yield potential and making use of fungicides as a

preventative application. It is critical, says Forster, that fungicides be applied at the proper stage of growth for the plant to see health benefits. But the most effective way producers can use fungicides and the most common way producers have chosen to protect against disease is by planting treated seed. Producers have the option of planting their seed bare, but most choose to have their soybean seed treated by their retail operators, says Fotheringham. Seed treatment is a valuable tool against soil- and seedling-borne diseases, says Dr. Michael Wunsch, with Carrington Research Centre at North Dakota State University.

Daayf says his department is working on an alternative to fungicides and fumigants. “We’re trying to find microbes that naturally grow with soybeans that would provide some sort of protection for the plant against these diseases,” he says. “We’re also trying to find some (Rhizobacteria) in soybean fields, isolate them, see how they work, and then get them back into the system to protect the plants.” Daayf is collaborating with Omex Canada, a company that develops nutrients to deal with specific crops. “Sometimes just playing with nutrients helps with disease reduction,” he says.

“Once you grow soybeans more often, especially on the type of tight rotations that we have State-side, root diseases become an issue,” he says. Wunsch lists Pythium, Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, and Phytophthora as major targets for seed treatment fungicides.

Crop rotation is also an effective way to control root diseases, says Wunsch.

Forster agrees that seed treatment is valuable when considering soybean yield.

“That’s always an equation each producer has to deal with depending on the type of pathogen they’re trying to fight … because you don’t want to spend a lot of money treating whatever you are growing and in the end the return is not worth it,” says Daayf.

“Just getting it out of the ground and growing as quickly as possible, because we still do have a short growing season for soybeans in Western Canada, so any extra days you can get to ensure that the plant isn’t suffering early on is important. That includes both using good seed treatment and using a good inoculant to make sure you are doing the best that you can to get that crop growing,” says Forster. While fumigants are also an option, Professor Fouad Daayf, department head of plant science at the University of Manitoba, says that is a riskier way to treat soil-borne disease. Fumigants kill both the good and the bad microorganisms in the soil and, as it is the harmful microorganisms that tend to grow back first, fumigation would have to be carried out every year.

However producers decide to treat disease – whether it’s seed treatment, fungicide use, fumigants, crop rotation, or nothing at all – cost must be taken into consideration.

Forster encourages producers to carry out their own trials. If they see the benefit of applying fungicides then they can readily budget fungicide-use into their costs. “It’s still at its infancy and as rotations become a bit tighter, as we have more soybeans across the area, and that in itself also increases the potential of diseases to come in and to be more consistent year in-year out, and it goes from being a waitand-see approach to a planned fungicide approach,” says Forster. “Agronomy always showcases that the diseases will become more important moving forward into the future.” 21

Weed’Em or Weep: Strategies for Soybean Growers to Stay Ahead of Weeds By Geoff Geddes Like an uninvited guest, weeds are annoying, disruptive, and hard to banish once they settle in. And as with the party crasher, the best approach is to act early, keep at it, and use every weapon you have until they take the hint. The early bird gets the weed When it comes to gaining the upper hand on lowly weeds, Bryan Dion has a wealth of experience. An agronomist and co-owner of Jonair (1988) Limited near Portage la Prairie, Dion and his company specialize in aerial and ground application of pesticides as well as providing agronomic services for their clientele. “It’s really important to keep soybeans clean so they can compete better,” said Dion. “Studies show that early weed removal is very beneficial for soybeans,


Two of the biggest weed threats to soybeans are volunteer canola and wild buckwheat. In both cases, Dion finds that the sooner you address them, the better off you’ll be.

and it’s something that growers and agronomists need to work on more to make sure they are seeding in a clean field.” Two of the biggest weed threats to soybeans are volunteer canola and wild buckwheat. In both cases, Dion finds that the sooner you address them, the better off you’ll be. “You need to get on them early. If you do a pre-seed burn off and follow that with herbicide application on the first trifoliate and a second application on the third or fourth trifoliate, you should be okay. If you miss that burn off though, you’ll need to use a higher rate of glyphosate with your add-on.” Dion stresses that as weeds like wild buckwheat get bigger, the efficacy of spraying glyphosates is diminished. So just like dealing with the annoying house guest, timing is critical. Another proponent of early action on weeds in soybean fields is Paula Halabicki with BASF, the largest chemical producer in the world. In her role as Technical Service Specialist for Manitoba, Halabicki has seen firsthand the havoc that weeds can wreak on soybeans and the bottom line. “Until the plant gets to a larger stage where it can compete with weeds, any weeds that

emerge are actually robbing you of yield, so controlling weeds early on is vital,” said Halabicki. “If you don’t, you can lose 50 to 60 percent of yield potential. By keeping as many weeds away from that plant as possible and keeping competition down, you will maximize yield potential at the end of the day.”

Hit them with your best shot Whether it’s an unwelcome visitor or an unwieldy weed, you may have to approach them from different angles before they get the message. “At the first trifoliate stage, you can use Viper ADV, Solo ADV, Odyssey, or Pinnacle as add-ons to your glyphosate, or use Flexstar GT, which contains both glyphosate and Reflex,” said Dion. “Once you get to the third or fourth trifoliate, spray again with straight glyphosate as soybeans aren’t very competitive.” “Growers are hesitant to spray if they think the fields are clean,” Dion said, but he stressed that if you don’t spray your second in-crop pass at the fourth trifoliate, you’re liable to regret it as there are always weeds that go through. “There are always people calling me in August in a panic wanting to spray again as they didn’t do their second in-crop pass,


Whatever your approach, the experts agree that prevention is key. Because once that boorish guest settles into a comfy chair or an unprotected field, you’re in for a long night.

thinking that their fields were clean.” Not surprisingly, one of the biggest challenges in giving intruders the boot is resistance. “Canada is number three in the world in terms of resistant weed species with 61 unique varieties,” said Halabicki. “We recommend adding a second product to the tank to control weeds, such as a pre-seed option prior to planting or before the plant emerges from the ground.” For example, she suggests tank mixing Heat LQ with glyphosate to address broadleaf weeds. “When you combine those two and target the same weed species, you’re attacking it from two different angles, which can be highly effective in delaying resistance. Just make sure that when you are tank mixing and have a particular species in mind, that both products in the tank will control that weed. If the weed has a natural genetic mutation making it resistant to one of the herbicides, the other one will control it and prevent it from reproducing.” In the case of wild buckwheat, which is not well controlled by glyphosate, adding Heat LQ or Viper ADV to the tank of glyphosate can do the trick. And with the proper timing, these same combinations can work against volunteer Roundup Ready canola. “It is easy to lose one bushel per acre or more of canola grain out the back of


a combine or through shattering losses, which goes back into the field and becomes a weed the next year. Volunteer canola will often emerge before your soybeans, and you need to get control of it so it doesn’t compete with your soybean crop.” As Halabicki points out, this can often be accomplished by applying Heat LQ preemerge or Viper ADV in-crop.

The rotation situation For many people, variety is the spice of life; for soybean growers, it can be the key to their livelihood. “Rotating your crops year to year is important for both resistance management and disease control,” said Halabicki. “In the same way, you want to rotate your herbicides. If you alternate two herbicides, you can delay resistance longer than you would by just using one, and if you tank mix the two, it’s even more effective in postponing resistance.” As part of this process, keep in mind that different herbicides pose different risks when it comes to resistance, which is where the herbicide resistance risk triangle comes in. “Every herbicide has an active ingredient that’s classified into a certain Group, and each Group targets one part of the plant. As an illustration, Viper ADV is a mix of Group 6 and Group 2, with Group 6 targeting broadleaf and Group 2 aimed at both grasses and broadleaves.”

While Groups 1 and 2 pose a high risk of developing resistance, Groups 14 and 6 are a low to moderate risk, so you would have to apply the latter many more times before resistance would appear. For that reason, Dion warns against using a Group 2 herbicide more than once in a growing season.

Weed warnings Both Dion and Halabicki see common mistakes when it comes to weed management. For Dion, it’s not spraying a pre-seed burn off and seeding into dirty fields. Dion notes that in the spring, you can get 10 days of rain where you can’t spray and soybeans are growing through, competing with weeds, so he urges growers to employ the burn off more than they have been. In Halabicki’s experience, people don’t always clean their machinery between fields, moving resistance problems from one field to the next. She recommends always using clean, certified seeds. In addition, as glyphosate is a very important tool for growers, Halabicki advises adding a second mode of action to glyphosate when possible. Whatever your approach, the experts agree that prevention is key. Because once that boorish guest settles into a comfy chair or an unprotected field, you’re in for a long night.


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What to Know Before Signing a Grain Production Contract By Andrea Hilderman

Contracting is a way for growers to manage their marketing and pricing risks. An array of contracts are available and are, in theory, very simple. They are an agreement between two or more parties with consideration flowing both ways – in the case of a grain contract, the consideration that flows is usually grain production for money.

Production contracts are a type of contract where the grower makes a commitment to deliver a specified amount of the production from a specified number of acres. On the other side, the purchaser agrees to take delivery of that specified production. Production contracts may or may not specify price or volume, but the exact terms can differ from contract to contract, from purchaser to purchaser. Production contracts generally specify the quality, or minimum quality specifications, of the contracted production and so, generally are more common with higher value crops. A production contract may also dictate certain crop husbandry practises be used, or not, depending on the final end use. For the grower, the main advantage of a production contract is to eliminate the risk of restricted delivery for some or all of the crop. In some cases with what might be considered special crops, no minimum delivery may be required in the case of a crop failure, a so-called Act of God clause. There are some limitations to a production contract for the grower. First, it doesn’t always deal with price risk, or basis risk if that is applicable. Another limitation can

be the first-right-of-refusal requiring sale to the contracting company even if a higher price is achievable from another buyer. According to Marvin Mills, a marketing advisor with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Boissevain, Manitoba, there are a few rules of thumb for a grower to consider before signing a production contract. Those include who buys the production over and above that stated in the contract? And is there a price set for that overage? If there is a price when is it set and how is it determined? Still considering that overage production, can you get offers from competitors to ensure you are getting a fair deal? Special crops include lentils, chickpeas, etc. In the case of these types of small acreage crop, if a crop failure occurs there can be little or no opportunity for the producer to find other production to fulfill his contract. The Act of God clause is used in these cases. Soybeans once fell into that category. “However, with the growth in acres of soybeans to over 1.3 million now, an Act of God clause is a rarity,” says Jonathon Driedger, senior market analyst at FarmLink Marketing Solutions. 27

“Soybeans are now contracted very similarly to oats or canola, other commodity crops.” An Act of God clause removes the worry of production risks. There is no buyout or other penalty if the grower does not achieve the production stipulated in the contract. “Buyers use an Act of God clause to help encourage growers to plant the acres,” says Driedger. “If the volume of acres grows without this clause, then it’s not really needed in the same way. Also, the bigger production is allowing more companies to handle and market it in a similar manner to the other bulk commodity crops.” The other terms in a production contract are generally very similar to any other mainstream contract and exist to protect both the seller and the buyer. “Typically, production contracts will spell out specification such as dockage and other quality parameters, payment terms, and delivery windows,” explains Driedger. “Like any other contract you might enter into, you need to do your due diligence to ensure your interests are protected.” Do you know the buyer? If not, then some research should be done to find out more about them. Are they harder on dockage than another buyer you might have dealt with? Do they take delivery when they say they will? Are they slow to pay? “Growers can check to see if the buyer is licensed with the Canadian Grain Commission and they can ask for references from other growers the buyer might have done business with in the past,” says Driedger. “Are they a publically traded company? What does their balance sheet look like? There’s a lot of information out there if you take the time to look for it.” If the buyer is new to you and you have little familiarity with them, but you feel confident about their credibility, then the best way to establish a relationship is to start with a smaller transaction. “Get to know each other,” says Driedger. “That way, you can build up trust over a few 28

transactions and build your business together.” Sometimes a production contract can look very attractive – almost too good to be true even. “In that case the first thing to do is ask questions,” says Mills. “There is usually a reason why a contract would look so appealing – is there some inconvenience they are paying you for? In my experience, there is a reason why you are being compensated so richly.” Here are some points growers can consider if they are thinking about entering into any contract. •

Carefully read and understand all the terms and conditions. Do not take anyone’s word for what the contract contains.

Get advice if you are confused by any of the terms or conditions.

Ensure the terms are accurate – volumes, delivery periods, etc.

Ensure the buyer you are dealing with is licensed.

Any pricing should stipulate how freight charges are dealt with.

Double check all the quality specifications.

Double check all the discount schedules, if there are any. What happens if your production does not meet spec?

Are the discount schedules established at the time of contracting or during the season? Be wary if it is the latter.

Who does the grading, and how are grade disputes to be settled?

Examine the payment terms.

Retain a copy of your contract.

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International Year of Pulses: How Soybeans are Part of the Mix By Ron Friesen


hen it comes to soybeans, Denis Cloutier is a bit different from most contracting agents. He markets them for food, not feed. Cloutier is the Western Canadian agent for SunOpta Grains and Foods Inc., a Canadian company with an office in Moorhead, Minnesota. He contracts food-grade, non-genetically modified (GM) soybeans from local growers, which SunOpta buys for the food market. The soybeans are shipped to Moorhead for conditioning and then sold mainly to Asia for processing into tofu, miso, soymilk, and other soybean-based products.


Although a staple food in parts of Asia and other countries, soybeans make up a very small part of the human diet in North America. But Cloutier, who contracts three percent of the soybean acreage in Manitoba, says that’s starting to change, especially among non-GM aficionados. “It’s not growing exponentially but it is definitely growing and there’s becoming much more awareness by people wanting to buy non-GM just about everything,” he says. Cloutier is among a small but select number of industry officials who want people to eat soybeans themselves instead of just feeding them to livestock. Now, a

worldwide event being celebrated this year might help. The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2016 as the International Year of Pulses (IYP). The purpose of the event is to raise the public profile and encourage consumption of pulse crops such as lentils, dry beans and peas, and chickpeas. It’s hoped that soybeans, although technically not a pulse crop, may still ride to success on the coattails of their cousins. “I think IYP will shine a very bright spotlight for consumers and food companies on the increased role pulses can play in dealing with some of society’s chronic diet-related diseases like heart

disease and diabetes,” says Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. “Consumers are looking for high-protein, low glycemic index foods. Soybeans are certainly a good source of protein, so they fit a lot of those attributes.” That’s an important consideration for budget-conscious shoppers who want to include protein in their diets but are turned off by the sky-high price of beef in supermarkets these days, Potts adds. “Food companies and consumers are looking to plant-sources of protein as alternatives or supplements to meat.” According to Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers, pulses are edible seeds of legumes (plants with a pod). Pulse comes the Latin word puls, meaning “thick soup.” Pulses are considered very nutritious and contain high sources of fibre, folate, iron, and complex carbohydrates. They are also low in fat. Strictly speaking, soybeans are not pulses because the seeds are not dry. Instead, they contain high amounts of oil. As a result, soybeans are treated primarily as an oilseed. In North America, most soybeans are crushed and the meal is used for livestock feed, with the oil as a byproduct. But MPSG notes that soybean oil is used extensively in processed foods such as salad dressings, margarine and shortening. That makes you a soybean eater whether you realize it or not. Soybeans and pulses have agronomic similarities, too. Dennis Lange, an industry development pulse specialist for Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, points out that both are legumes, which fix their own nitrogen from the atmosphere. This makes them low-input crops because it reduces the need for nitrogen fertilizer. Because soybeans and pulses fix their own

There are protocols to follow. Cloutier says growers must start off with clean fields which haven’t had Roundup Ready soybeans on them for at least two years. Fields must be inspected and bins checked and sampled. Machinery must be cleaned to guard against crosscontamination. Essentially, non-GM soybeans for the food market are grown under an identity preserved (IP) system.

nitrogen, they leave some residual N in the soil for the following crop. Both are long-season crops and benefit from warm weather and timely rains to fill seedpods. There are other agronomic advantages, too. According to Pulse Canada, introducing nitrogen-fixing crops to crop rotations can improve the yield and quality of wheat. Adding legumes to rotations can also break up weed and disease cycles, as well as having a positive effect on soil and water. This gives growers less incentive to push their rotations and risk herbicide resistance through the continuous use of similar products. Altogether, including pulses and soybeans in the rotation can play an important role in sustainable agriculture. “At the end of the day, whether it be a pulse or a soybean, both add to the rotation in terms of breaking up disease cycles. You’re also looking at different herbicide chemistries,” Lange says. A benefit for producers of growing soybeans for the food market is price. Cloutier, who owns DNS Commodities in Winnipeg, says food-grade soybeans can fetch a premium of $2 a bushel, depending on the year. Of course, there are protocols to follow. Cloutier says growers must start off with clean fields which haven’t had Roundup Ready soybeans on them for at least

two years. Fields must be inspected and bins checked and sampled. Machinery must be cleaned to guard against crosscontamination. Essentially, non-GM soybeans for the food market are grown under an identity preserved (IP) system. Lange admits IYP alone may not increase soybean acres in Western Canada. Even so, there are reasons to believe that edible soybean consumption will grow. Throughout the world, soybeans are a more genetically developed crop than pulses. As a result, their demand for meal, oil, and food is well established. Ontario growers have been supplying Europe and Japan with food-grade soybeans for years, taking advantage of their proximity to ocean ports. In the end, IYP hopes to create opportunities for more global production of pulses and better use of pulse-based proteins. And people like Lange are big cheerleaders. “Eat more pulses,” he encourages people. “Always try to incorporate pulses into the diet for various reasons. I think the International Year of Pulses will bring more awareness of what a pulse crop is and what the benefits are. If we can incorporate a few more pulses into the diet, that will hopefully make us healthier people.” That goes for soybeans, too.


The 2015 Results are In Even with the rocky start for the 2015 crop with weather that was up and down across the Prairies, according to Stats Canada, soybean acres experienced another increase to a whopping

1,655,000 seeded acres

Manitoba continues to break records in soybean production with an increase of

9.1% 1,385,000


in seeded acres to a record


37 bu/acre 25.6% 51 million 7.8 %

CANSIM Table 001-0017



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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