Research roundup

FIND OUT WHAT’S NEW IN THE WORLD OF RESEARCH

Dealing with heavy corn residue in soybeans
Nicole Yada
Increased corn yields in the past decade have certainly helped the corn industry. But these same yield increases could have negative consequences for soybean growers. Once the growing season is over, corn leaves behind a lot of residue that soybean crops must contend with. Corn residue is good for soil organic matter, but a challenge for planting and emerging soybean plants.

Horst Bohner, provincial soybean specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, is assessing the effectiveness of current tillage methods in response to heavy residue.

He’s also exploring other options for handling this growing problem.

“We are trying to find the best way to manage high corn residue,” says Bohner. “For example, is spring the right time to use tillage, or do we need to use another, more aggressive fall system all together? Or perhaps improved no-till planting equipment is the answer.”

While most previous research has looked at areas with average residue, Bohner is working to understand the effects of heavy residue in yields larger than 200 bushels, along with earlier planted soybeans.

This project was funded in part through Grain Farmers of Ontario and Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of several Growing Forward programs in Ontario.

Limiting the impact of soybean cyst nematode
Samantha Beattie
A silent predator — the soybean cyst nematode — is infecting soybean crops, often remaining unnoticed until it is too late. It slowly draws nutrients and  moisture out of soybean plants, reducing yields, stunting growth and limiting reproduction.

Researchers are working to prevent and limit the impact of cyst nematode on soybean production through a multi-level management project. The project is led by Tom Welacky, a research biologist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who is working with Albert Tenuta, a pathology extension specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

This initiative involves supporting private and public breeders in developing and evaluating cyst nematode resistant varieties. 

Additionally, the researchers are identifying cyst nematode population types and number levels in different regions of Ontario. They’re trying to determine if a break down is occurring in the resistance of the most commonly used parent variety, PI88788. 

This research is funded by the Grain Farmers of Ontario, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the North Central Soybean Research Program. •

Taming a resistant giant
Johnny Roberts
Glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed has been found on farms in Essex County, and Dr. Peter Sikkema, Field Crop Weed Management at the University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, is leading a team trying to determine the distribution of glyphosate resistant giant ragweed in Ontario and to develop management strategies for Ontario soybean producers.   

“Our overall objective of this research is to find solutions for Ontario farmers who currently have problems with glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed,” says Sikkema. “Where it exists, it can cause up to 90 percent yield loss in soybeans.” 

Giant ragweed is extremely competitive and poses a major threat to crops. So Sikkema and his team visited more than 100 farmers’ fields in Essex, Kent and Lambton Counties to collect what they believed were glyphosate-resistant plants. They grew plants from the seed in growth rooms at the University of Guelph, then applied glyphosate to determine resistance. 

They found resistance in plants from 17 fields in Essex County. Preliminary management approaches that show promise are Roundup plus Eragon applied preplant, or Roundup plus either First Rate or Reflex applied post-emergence.

Dr. Francois Tardif of the University of Guelph completed the initial studies confirming glyphosate resistance in giant ragweed.  MSc candidate Joe Vink completed the survey and field research.

This project is funded in part by Grain Farmers of Ontario and Monsanto. Funding has also been provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program. In Ontario, this program is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council. •


Research Roundup is provided by members of SPARK (Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge) at the University of Guelph’s Office of Research. For more information, contact a SPARK writer at 519-824-4120, ext. 52667.

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