Western Bean Cutworm control in the future.

As Western Bean Cutworm (MBC) appears to be increasing in numbers in Ontario, corn growers are looking to control measures for this emerging pest. Articles are being written about Herculex and Yieldgard Bt events and what kind of control can be expected. While this only tells of what control measures are available to date in the marketplace it does not discuss a new trait being developed by Syngenta called Agrisure Viptera (MIR 162). We expect the major wave of WBC infestation to hit Ontario in 2011 – 2013 and if these were the only control measures available we would be concerned. But they are not. Syngenta Seeds anticipates having the new trait Viptera registered for use by that time (hopefully sooner). Agrisure Viptera through current testing offers better control of a broad range of Lepidopteran species including Western bean cutworm. Although it is not registered and not offered for sale intial testing has shown the following results.
Agrisure 3000GT and Agrisure GT/CB/LL plus Agrisure Viptera stack technology are not currently approved for sale or use in Canada and are not being offered or promoted for sale. These products will not be available for sale until all necessary regulatory approvals and authorizations have been granted.


Soybean Seed Quality 2010

We have been receiving quality from our bin samples on our soybean seed for the past few days and in general things look pretty good despite a very tough fall harvest.  Seed coat integrity is excellent this year, bleach score numbers have been very good.  A bleach test is a test NK uses to gauge seed coat integrity.  Very little mechanical damage has been noted as well, mainly due to the good moistures at harvest.  This year the seed is in 14.5%  range instead of the 8 and 9% beans like last year.  This makes conditioning much easier on the seed with less damage.

There are some disease issues out there again this year though.  Seed phomopsis is back again, not to the levels it was last year but it is here.  

In an early (vegetative stages) infection situations Phomopsis seed mould is characterized by fine cracks that usually develop near the hilum of the infected seed.   A white or grey mould is sometimes visible on the seed surface. The yield, SAR (seed appearance rating), and germ of the seed is reduced.   This year again we seem to have a late infection again (late reproductive stage) where the appearance of the seed is not affected but the spores are on the seed coat.  Once the seed germs the fungi moves to the seedling and kills it very quickly.  Hence low germ numbers are noted.  Treatment with Apron Max or Cruiser Max cures the disease and increases the germ % substantially in some cases 25% to 30%.  If you are planting certified seed than low germs are not a concern.  If you are growing certified #1 the seed has a minimum germ of 85%, 90% with NK seed as our standard is higher than minimums required by law.  However trials with Cruiser Max have shown increase yields and quality on crops grown with Cruiser Treated seed.

We do not seem to pay as much attention to the benefits of Cruiser Max on seed and soil bourne diseases but as a “operations person” I see the benefit it has on seed germ and vigour. As an agronomist I see it in the field in increased stands and harvest bushels.  It must be noted along with the soil bourne insects , soil bourne diseases are always present and a producer can really benefit from the  protection we get from Cruiser MAX both in quality of grain and increased yield.   Certified seed is an investment why not protect that investment as much as possible and really there is no better start than the first one.

What is your most important selection criteria for corn hybrids?

What is most important to you when you select corn hybrids? Fill out the poll and then see the results of others.

Weakened US Dollar what does it mean for Canadian Ag?

Over the weekend India purchased 200 MT of gold.  This amount equals 8% of the world’s total output in gold.  Did they buy the gold  because they have high hopes and are very bullish on this commodity?   Partly yes but more due to the fact they  wanted out of US dollars and needed a more stable investment, so they liquidated their US dollars and bought gold.  The international monetary fund confirms that more and more countries are liquidating US dollars and purchasing gold.  Which looks like it is going to provide a very good return as long as it is not on a bubble. We have seen the Canadian dollar rise against the US recently and it is not because our robust economy or any super bright future out look.  It is due to the fact that the US dollar continues to weaken on the world markets and will most likely stay weak for some time.  The US dollar affects AG commodities very similar to any other products exported in Canada.  The higher Canadian dollar makes our corn, soys and wheat more expensive in the US.  In other countries it could be the other way so direct exports elsewhere is a good possibility.  However there is another way though that the higher Canadian/ lower US dollar affects AG that other is does affect other exports or commodities and that is effect on our crop basis. The closer the exchange rate the smaller (lower)the basis (usually) and the lower the Canadian dollar vs the American the higher the basis (double usually).  Right now in many areas we see very little basis and on some crops even a negative basis.  We will really need to rely on market demand and supply to move the basis anywhere, at least more than we have in the past.  We saw this especially with corn through July August where we saw strong levels for local basis indicating lower supply but continued demand.  The futures where lower based on speculation.  Now we do not have a weather market on our side for the futures market but we do have a lower yield in the US which when final tallies come in will help at least our futures price.  I think will we will really need to keep an eye on the futures to see any real gain in the markets especially around the USDA reports.  Reports of lower US yields will really help us now or an alien invasion in the US.

How are you going to use test plots this year?

Field and soil variability and less than ideal weather coupled with the late harvest question the value of this years test plots. How are you going to use this years test plots?

Ear Mould in Corn – Update

corn mould

2009 Cladosporium mould

Contributed by NK Sales & Agronomy Lead, Deb Campbell
The blue-green mould I have seen in fields in the past few days has actually been confirmed as Cladosporium Ear Rot by the University of Guelph Diagnostic Lab. It is not Penicillium as first diagnosed although I still believe this one is present too. Cladosporium mould is quite common on insect, hail or frost damaged corn. Mycotoxins are not associated with this pathogen however several ear moulds are common in fields this year and mould levels are increasing as harvest is delayed. Bottom-line, harvest as soon as possible and dry your grain and test for toxins if you are feeding this grain. High moisture corn stored at 26% is at risk for mould levels to continue to increase in storage. Likewise, wet storage bins and temporary corn piles in yards should be dried immediately. I have attached a link to some related information from the US they are battling the same challenge in their harvest.
How Delayed Harvest Might Affect Ear Rots and Mycotoxin Contamination?
2009 Corn Quality Issues – Field Molds
2009 Corn Quality Issues – Storage Management
2009 Corn Quality Issues

The economics of delaying corn harvest to field dry corn

Field drying versus early harvest 2009
An excellent article on looking at the economics of leaving corn out to field dry or harvest early by Robert Moloney from NK Brand Seeds.

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