www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca Publ ished by APPLIED RESEARCH FEBRUARY 2023 Bringing science to the farm EXTENSION CONNECTS SCIENTISTS AND PRODUCERS
DELIVER MORE SOFT RED WHEAT BLAZE R BLAZE HILLIARD CRUZE SERIOUS VARIETIES. SERIOUS PERFORMANCE. O S A Talk to The Wheat Team to get serious about wheat. We have the varieties for you! www.redwheat.ca or 1-888-733-9432 SERIOUS ABOUTWHEAT! I
FEBRUARY 2023 volume 14, number 4 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMERis published 9 times a year (December/January, February, March, April/May, June/July, August, September, October, and November) through Grain Farmers of Ontario. Distribution is to all Ontario barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmer-members. Associate Membership Subscription available upon request. Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policies of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Seek professional advice before undertaking any recommendations or suggestions presented in this magazine. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40065283. Return undeliverable items to Grain Farmers of Ontario, 679 Southgate Drive, Guelph, ON N1G 4S2. © Grain Farmers of Ontario all rights reserved. Publisher: Grain Farmers of Ontario, Phone: 1-800-265-0550, Website: www.gfo.ca; Managing Editor: Mary Feldskov; Production Co-ordinator: Kim Ratz; Advertising Sales: Joanne Tichborne 6 ON THE COVER Bringing science to the farm Owen Roberts EXTENSION CONNECTS SCIENTISTS AND PRODUCERS From the CEO’s desk INVESTMENT REAPS REWARDS 4 Nitrogen management research Treena Hein 10 Cereal straw yield potential Matt McIntosh 14 Business side Conversations with business experts 9 GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 18 Breeding innovations Melanie Epp 16 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists 25 Taking the fight to Fusarium Lois Harris 22 Alternative grain drying systems Matt McIntosh 26 Gifting a legacy Mary Feldskov 28 Investing in future leaders Ontario Grain Farmer 30 Tackling SCN with technology Rebecca Hannam 32 Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 34 BIODEGRADABLE POLY
70 active innovative and transformative research projects addressing our farmer-members’ challenges. In 2022, we talked a lot about fertilizer — availability, pricing, tariffs, and more — and it was one of the most significant focuses for Grain Farmers of Ontario staff, delegates, and the Board of Directors. We commissioned the report by Josh Linville of StoneX to help frame the ongoing challenges and create a road map to mitigate and solve the challenges in the coming months and further into the future. The January district meetings were a highlight for me — it was great to meet in person after two years of gathering virtually. Thank you to everyone who attended and to those farmermembers who let their names stand as delegates or directors. Delegates and directors play an important role in the organization, including serving on the committees that provide input and advice, and direct how Grain Farmers of Ontario funds will be invested in the programs, services, and research that will benefit our farmer-members and the agriculture industry.l 4 WHEN GRAIN FARMERS OF ONTARIOwrapped up the Wheat Marketing program in 2020, the Board was presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reinvest in Ontario’s agriculture sector through the creation of a Legacy Fund. The Grain Farmers of Ontario Legacy Fund is aptly named — the original wheat marketing fund was formed using contributions from the three organizations (Ontario Corn Producers’ Association, Ontario Soybean Growers, and Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board) that came together to form Grain Farmers of Ontario in 2010. The Legacy Fund gives us the opportunity to “think big” about ways to invest in the agriculture sector and in projects that align with our strategic plan. In the fall of 2022, the Legacy Fund’s inaugural program was launched, with 10 outstanding Ontario students receiving scholarships. You can read about the scholarship program recipients — and their ambitious goals to help advance the agricultural industry — on page 30. And in January, Grain Farmers of Ontario invested a further $2 million from the Legacy Fund to support the Grain Farmers of Ontario Professorship in Field Crop Pathology at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus. With goals that include protecting grain crops from costly plant diseases of today and those in the future, the new position will help maintain and build the university’s leading expertise in field crop research and teaching. Investments in research and knowledge transfer continue to be a priority for Grain Farmers of Ontario, helping us to meet the goals set out in our strategic plan. Through partnerships with government, universities, and industry, we support more than From the CEO’s desk Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario Investment reaps rewards
Always read and follow label instructions. Member of CropLife Canada. FMC, the FMC logo and Authority are trademarks of FMC Corporation or an affiliate. Sencor is a trademark of Bayer. ©2023 FMC Corporation. All rights reserved. 87219 - 12/22 WEED PREVENTION FROM THE GROUND UP In the battle against tough weeds, soybean growers can let their soil do the fighting. Authority® herbicides, applied pre-plant or pre-emergence, create a powerful soil-based defence that weeds can’t get past. Go with Authority® 480 herbicide for Group 14 broadleaf weed control. Authority® Supreme herbicide takes that broadleaf control to the next level and adds effective Group 15 grassy weed control too. Soybeans grow, weeds don’t show. Ask your local retailer how you can save up to $5/acre when you purchase Authority® Supreme herbicide and a Bayer Sencor® Product.
Cover story LABORATORY RESEARCH IS vital for addressing emerging problems like tar spot, corn rootworm resistance, and other diseases and pests that threaten Ontario crops. But research results need to move from the lab and be made available to producers who can apply them in the field. And that is where extension professionals come in: connecting research sources like scientists with research users like you. The connection between researchers and producers has become increasingly timely over the past few years, particularly with the wild swings in climate that have left the agriculture sector wondering how to cope. One year, the spring is so warm that producers are in their fields weeks early. The next spring, a polar vortex sweeps through the province, and they're faced with having to plant into cold soil. Such examples show why, more than ever, extension professionals have their antennae up for the unexpected. They need to be aware of changing field conditions, stay on top of research discoveries that address challenges and make producers aware of emerging opportunities. Extension professionals are used to the challenge. Extension has long been a vital part of agriculture in Ontario, dating back to the early 1900s when the provincial government posted the first agricultural representative to rural Ontario. Educationwise, the University of Guelph had an active Department of Rural Extension Studies for years. SUPPORTING EXTENSION Today, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) supports a variety of extension professionals, including field crop specialists for corn, soybeans, and cereals. Their efforts are enhanced through a long-standing agreement with Grain Farmers of Ontario to fund specific outreach initiatives related to grain and oilseed production. "Grain Farmers of Ontario support gives us the flexibility to respond especially to unanticipated, emerging situations," says Horst Bohner, OMAFRA soybean extension specialist. "Typically, extension initiatives are undertaken to augment technology transfer efforts, to improve information gathering, and to support breaking issues that occurred throughout the growing season. Extension has a budget, but you can't dedicate funding for something you don't know will happen or something that surprises everyone one year but might not happen again until several years later. That flexibility is a big reason why Grain Farmers of Ontario support is so valuable." Adds corn extension specialist Ben Rosser: "Grain Farmers of Ontario extension funding has been very important to learning and answering questions around issues that would otherwise be very difficult to fund using the traditional research funding model." Corn extension funding has been used to investigate timely questions that crop up in a particular year. These include how much grain cleaning can reduce DON levels in corn, the impact of drying temperature on test weight of late planted, very high moisture corn, and whether nitrogen top-ups provide yield responses in years with well above average rainfall in July and August. COVID-19'S IMPACT Bohner, Rosser, and cereal crop specialist Sophie Krolikowski (standing in for Joanna Follings, who was on leave), along with other OMAFRA Field Crops Unit members, support Ontario's field crop sector. The nature of their outreach efforts changed like the rest of society in 2020 when Covid-19 struck, and face-to-face meetings with producers were impossible. Those meetings, such as Ontario Diagnostic Days and the Ontario Agricultural Conference, were popular with producers and foundational for Ontario's agricultural extension. But agricultural production did not stop during Covid-19's darkest days, nor did extension. Like other information sources, the OMAFRA team put a new emphasis on digital communications, particularly video development and website enhancement. For example, the Field Crop News web page saw views skyrocket through the growing Bringing science to the farm EXTENSION CONNECTS SCIENTISTS AND PRODUCERS Owen Roberts continued on page 8 • Extension professionals connect research sources like scientists with research users. • Extension efforts date back to the early 1900s, when the provincial government posted the first agricultural representative to rural Ontario. • OMAFRA's Ben Rosser, Horst Bohner, Joanna Follings, and Sophie Krolikowski receive funding from Grain Famers of Ontario to support their extension activities. • Extension did not take a break during the Covid-19 pandemic. OMAFRA extension staff placed new emphasis on digital communications to share agronomic best practices. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW 6
JOANNA FOLLINGS, OMAFRA CEREAL SPECIALIST. ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 7 FEBRUARY 2023
season. Reports about spraying dry beans for western bean cutworm, yield potential of alfalfa, organic no-till soybean production, and the ins and outs of soil structure were big draws. The colourful news pages emphasized useful text and eye-catching photos that helped producers clearly identify pests and plants disease. Diagnostic Days went virtual in 2020 and 2021, then returned as a live event in 2022, with eight 30-minute sessions on topics such as waterlogging woes, foliar disease in corn, cover crop compendium, and herbicide injury and crop sensitivity. But this event retained a digital element by 8 having each session recorded and then broadcast across the province later. RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT The team also dedicated Grain Farmers of Ontario funding to updating and enhancing the Ontario Soybean Field Guide and the Ontario Soil Fertility handbook last year, as in-person events returned and producers looked towards receiving print copies of the material. They also produced an impressive, attractive publication called Field Crop Q&As, addressing questions such as what is a fair price for hay, how to control bluegrass in winter wheat, and how fertilizer and crop prices affect optimal fertilizer rates. On the horizon, the team expects cost of production to be a big driver in its extension efforts for 2023. "The cost of producing a crop is the fundamental thing that's changed," says Bohner. "Premiums are up, but costs have skyrocketed. The old question of 'can I afford to do a certain management technique' is still the key." Other efforts will be dedicated to updating the maturity map for corn and soybeans to reflect the increased heat units experienced in Ontario and updated soil fertility recommendations. l BEN ROSSER AND COLIN ELGIE OF OMAFRA AT THE 2022 ONTARIO DIAGNOSTIC DAYS. PHOTO COURTESY OF REALAGRICULTURE.COM. continued from page 6
9 (J.M.) WHY IS PLANT BIOSECURITY IMPORTANT? (D.C.) Biosecurity is essential for all farms, including field crops, and is best described as a management practice to prevent, minimize or control pests. A biosecurity plan is all about being proactive and having a prevention plan in place instead of reacting to an outbreak. Grain farmers face plant biosecurity pest risks like insects, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and weeds that can pose serious threats to plant health and productivity. Three key plant health biosecurity concepts include: 1. Keeping pests out. 2. If pests do arise, containing them to prevent the spread. 3. Shutting down the problemas quickly as possible to reduce impact. Pests can cause decreased productivity and increased costs, like managing herbicide-resistant waterhemp. Pests can also reduce the value of crop production due to decreased quality at the point of sale, like giberella in corn. Pest control measures can be complex, requiring farmers to consult outside experts especially in serious situations like resistant corn rootworm. And, worst case scenario, pests can limit export markets or even reduce property values. WHAT PLANT BIOSECURITY PRACTICES SHOULD GRAIN FARMERS BE IMPLEMENTING? When it comes to protecting plant health, farmers should focus on three key areas to minimize pest risks: 1. Manage pest threats from people, vehicles and equipment. 2. Implement robust production techniques that include sound agronomy and integrated pest management. 3. Operation management practices that emphasize sanitation, work processes, records and employee training. Building a plant biosecurity plan requires a system of continuously analyzing risks. Those risks will differ for every farm, so here are a few key biosecurity practices to follow. Post signage. Clearly post biosecurity or no entry signage at gateways or at any area of a farm operation where you want to prevent access to visitors, including vehicles and equipment. Control or restrict access. Vehicles and equipment are known to carry contaminants like weed seeds or nematodes in contaminated soil that could be embedded in wheel wells or undercarriage. Restricting access from fields and limiting vehicles to designated parking areas is important. Consider the external partners that access your farm yard and fields, like custom applicators, planting or harvesting equipment, mechanics, and crop scouts and make a plan to control their access to areas of the farm. Crop rotation. Implement a crop rotation designed to disrupt pest cycles by seeding non-host crops. By rotating crops, farmers can also rotate crop protection chemistries to reduce selection pressure and developing resistance issues. Scout regularly. Regular monitoring for pests is critical for early detection, management, and to prevent production losses. Understanding and using pest thresholds can help farmers make informed management decisions. Pheromone traps are a great tool to help with the early detection of mobile pests. Sanitize. Regular washing of equipment can make a big difference in the movement of pests from yard to yard or field to field. Having a designated wash area where the wash water and potential contaminants can be contained is also helpful for incoming and outgoing equipment. WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP GRAIN FARMERS BUILD A PLANT BIOSECURITY PLAN? Farmers have access to a lot of advisors and resources that can help them implement biosecurity practices, assess their risks and develop a plan for their operations. I recommend starting with the biosecurity workshop currently offered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (www.ontariosoilcrop.org). These workshops are flexible in length and provide a selfevaluation checklist for farmers to assess their operation, help them understand what is working well, and identify areas for improvement. The workshop reviews critical concepts, provides examples, and offers opportunities to share ideas. Additional resources can include Certified Crop Advisors, professional agrologists, and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs specialists. Building a plant health biosecurity plan is the first step to managing and preventing pests. I also recommend farmers review and update their plans because plant pests and associated risks are constantly changing. It is also important to share your plan with your family, staff and external farm partners to ensure everyone understands, supports, and implements it. l Jeanine Moyer Deb Campbell, CCA-ON 4R NMS RMS, Agronomy Advantage Inc. Plant biosecurity BUSINESS SIDE WITH... Business side ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 9 FEBRUARY 2023
10 EXCITING PROGRESS HASalready been achieved with four new nitrogen-focused research projects supported, in part, by Grain Farmers of Ontario. All projects started in 2022, and the teams in the first three projects are based at the University of Guelph. CARBON FOOTPRINT RESEARCH First up is a project that will provide a carbon footprint for the production of corn, wheat, soybeans, and spring cereals, headed by Dr. Claudia Wagner-Riddle and Dr. Alfons Weersink, with colleagues Dr. Laura Van Eerd and Dr. Joshua Nasielski. A grain farm's 'carbon footprint' includes all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with emissions generally expressed as carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) per year or per amount of product produced. On a grain farm, GHG emissions come from running equipment and drying grain but also take the form of nitrous oxide (N2O) from fertilizer application. N2O emissions total about 4,500 kilotons of CO2eq annually in Ontario, representing about 45 per cent of the agricultural GHG emissions in the province. Wagner-Riddle explains that more accurate grain production carbon footprint calculations for Ontario allow us to better track farm progress towards emission targets and demonstrate the on-farm efficiencies being achieved. These more accurate values can also be used to market Ontario-produced grain. The team will also investigate whether there is a link between a farm's reduced carbon footprint and improved profitability and identify opportunities for carbon footprint reduction. Wagner-Riddle explains that the carbon footprint of grains has not generally included soil organic carbon changes. "The main driver of carbon footprint values tends to be soil carbon gain or loss and nitrogen fertilizer use," she says. In terms of what individual producer practices could matter most in carbon footprint reduction, Wagner-Ridder points to crop rotation diversification with the inclusion of winter wheat, spring cereals, and cover crops as having the potential to offset nitrogen use through improved soil health, and can also result in soil carbon gains. Nitrogen management research NEW PROJECTS OFFER MORE INSIGHT AND KNOWLEDGE Treena Hein While this team might or might not find a link between a reduced carbon footprint and a better farm business bottom line, several practices may help farmers do both, building on the precision ag advancements that many Ontario farmers have already worked hard to implement. "Optimizing of nitrogen rate could increase profitability and reduce the carbon footprint," says Wagner-Riddle. "[Various fertilizer] products also have this potential if they increase nitrogen use efficiency and allow for rate adjustments." COVER CROPS AND NITROGEN Can cover crops enhance nitrogen availability to corn while, at the same time, also enhancing organic nitrogen and carbon storage in the soil? Dr. Laura Van Eerd and Ph.D. student Yajun Peng are looking into this question from the view of long-term versus first-time cover crop use among Ontario grain farmers. Also included in this project are WagnerRiddle and Anne Verhallen, soil management specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Cover crops have been widely touted for their ability to increase soil organic nitrogen and carbon storage, but farmers generally see these benefits over many years. Putting in a cover crop also requires some upfront costs. This makes some farmers hesitant to try cover crops or give up on them fairly soon. In short, some farmers view cover crops as a potential waste of their time. "To reduce this risk, we will assess economic and environmental performance (reduce nitrogen inputs and mitigate nitrogen losses) of long-term and first-time cover cropping compared to not cover cropping," explain Van Eerd and Peng. On the economics front, they anticipate that grain corn yields in the long-term cover crop Research
plots in this study will show what's already been demonstrated in other studies — that corn yields are significantly greater in longterm cover crop plots than in those without. Yet another long-term cost savings from cover cropping for Ontario grain corn producers is the reduced rate of nitrogen fertilizer needed. In this project, the team is using '15N-enriched fertilizer' to trace the pathway of applied nitrogen. "Without the 15N tracer, we don't know if nitrogen in the crop came from the fertilizer or frommineral nitrogen in the soil," explains Peng. "We applied 15N-enriched fertilizer at cover crop planting, so we will know how much fertilizer the cover crops took up in shoots and roots and how much remains in the soil to the three-foot depth in the late fall and following spring. Then, we can follow nitrogen fertilizer transfer into the following corn crop in terms of the grain, stover, roots and soil. This helps us understand how cover crops take up nitrogen and how that nitrogen is transferred to the following crop." As to which cover crops might eventually be recommended once this project is complete, Peng says, "in this experiment, there is no compelling evidence to recommend one specific cover crop over another. Thus, we suggest farmers pick the one that fits into their rotation and meets their goals." The most exciting part of this project for Peng is having long-term versus first-time cover cropping versus no cover cropping in the same field. "We can look at different cover crop species and also compare different time scales," she says. "We are excited to provide Ontario cover crop data to support farmer decision-making." LEGUME-BASED COVER CROPS In another cover crop project, Dr. Kim Schneider, graduate student Daniel Colcuc, and Dr. Elizabeth Lee (with colleagues Dr. John Lauzon and Jake Munroe, OMAFRA soil management specialist) are determining the effectiveness of legume-based cover crops in providing nitrogen benefits to a subsequent corn crop. The researchers note that red clover that is frost-seeded in the spring into a standing continued on page 12 These research projects received funding from Grain Farmers of Ontario. Genes on-line. For genes that fit your farm®, visit secan.com Genes that fit your farm®is a registered trademark of SeCan. winter wheat crop has been shown to demonstrate significant nitrogen credit benefits to a subsequent corn crop in southwestern Ontario. However, red clover stands frequently suffer from non-uniformity across a field, which has reduced their uptake by farmers. Annual cover crops planted after winter wheat harvest, specifically those that include legumes, are a potentially very good alternative to red clover — providing a nitrogen credit to the following crop in the same way. One legume cover crop option, Balansa clover, is available in the Ontario market and is being promoted for its nitrogen-fixation capabilities, but little data is available on its ability to supply nitrogen when planted as a lateseason cover crop. Colcuc says that so far, Balansa clover and the other annual legumes they chose to plant — berseem clover and Austrian winter peas (AWP) — had very mixed results when planted
following the winter wheat harvest. "In order of performance, the legumes were ranked for aboveground yield with AWP averaging 1060 kg/ha or 945 lbs/ac and berseem clover averaging 766 kg/ha or 683 lbs/ac," he says. This year, Balansa clover was not harvested due to low growth. Schneider adds that because they had seen some promising results in plot trials with berseem clover planted in early June, they wanted to see how it would do planted postwinter wheat (planted around early August). "We wanted to include the legumes as both monocultures and mixtures in order to be able to confidently say which species is providing the nitrogen credit," she says. "However, if a farmer were to harvest a cover crop for forage, they would be more likely to plant the legume in a mixture with a cool season annual grass like oats, for example. This will increase the yield and make it more suitable as a feed. But we wanted to see if there would still be enough legume in order to provide a nitrogen credit. Preliminarily, the grasses do compete with the legumes, so sometimes there was not much legume left when planted in a mixture. The AWP likely did the best in the mixtures." And how might the uniformity of red clover stands be improved? One way is to alter winter wheat row spacing. Lee explains, "I think that the general consensus is that red clover stands become highly variable when wheat yields are high, meaning wheat is outcompeting the red clover for light and/or moisture. There had been some farmer research on Twitter about dropping every third row in a conventional wheat stand that my master's student Brett Hilker came across, and this intrigued him. He suggested that we include that as an additional treatment in his trials. And wow, what a difference it made." Lee says of their conclusions on that front so far, "first take-home message: twin row wheat under high-yield conditions results in considerably high red clover stands, but there is a variety effect. Second take-home message: if you want good red clover stands, it starts with picking the right wheat variety. We do not know exactly what is going on here, but it is not competition for light. Our current 12 working hypothesis is that some wheat varieties have better water use efficiencies and therefore are not as hard on the underseeded red clover. Last take-home message: “The higher the red clover stand, the higher the subsequent corn grain yield is.” IMPROVING 4R In this project, the well-known and highlyimplemented 4R commercial fertilizer nutrient stewardship practices are being refined for Ontario crop farmers in corn and soybean production systems currently or previously receiving manures. Dr. Tiequan Zhang, a research scientist at the Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada Harrow Research and Development Centre, is working on this topic with Christine Brown, OMAFRA field crop sustainability specialist, in collaboration with Greg Patterson, CEO at A&L Laboratory Canada in London, Ont. They note that current 4R practices in Ontario have been developed under conditions where only chemical fertilizers were applied — and manure-amended cropping systems have different management requirements than those receiving only commercial fertilizer. Current Ontario 4R recommendations also do not consider the impacts of soil texture on manure nitrogen availability. Zhang and Brown explain that soil textures impact the breakdown (mineralization) of organic nitrogen and nitrogen losses which collectively alters crop nitrogen availability. Given the same quantity and quality of organic substances, sandy soils can have higher nitrogen release from organic matter breakdown as well as nitrogen leaching, while heavier soil textures can lose more nitrogen through denitrification when soils are saturated and warm for an extended period (and they can also lose N2O during spring thaw and when soils are saturated and cold). Zhang further explains that they are investigating both pig and cattle manure in this study, as well as various forms (liquid versus solid and composted liquid pig manure). "Another key factor, which is unique and innovative in this study compared with those in the literature, is that the long-term residual (or legacy) effect of manure addition is also taken into consideration for determination of fertilizer value of manure phosphorus," he says. "The portion of phosphorus in manure that is not used by crops in the year of application may still be available to and used by crops the following year(s)." In this study, the team is quantifying this portion of phosphorus applied in manure and adding it to the fertilizer values of manure phosphorus. This can then be used to guide farmers' 4R application practices. In terms of manure use, Brown says it is increasing in Ontario with better management options available and also due to the jump in fertilizer prices. She says that while transportation costs are higher, the increased fertility value combined with organic matter and soil health benefits are resulting in manure being economical at greater distances — especially solid poultry manure and liquid manure (such as finisher hog) with concentrated nutrients (that is, not materials that are 99 per cent water content). "It would be great to put a value on the organic matter contribution of manure," she says, "but that value is different for livestock farms that have diverse rotations and regular manure versus crop farms that use only commercial fertilizer." Zhang adds that composting can be an excellent approach to reduce manure volume with concentrated nutrients and reduce transportation costs. Once the practices recommended by this project are being used, the impact will not be immediate. However, Zhang and Brown believe that the 'perfect storm' has arrived for increased manure use due to higher fertilizer prices, awareness of manure impact of improving soil health, the increased focus on reducing GHG emissions and phosphorus run-off, and new manure application technologies being introduced. This project received additional funding from the Ontario Pork Producer’s Marketing Board. These research projects were funded [in part] by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), through the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. l continued from page 11
Cultivating New Tomorrows For more information, including agenda details, how to register, and hotel booking details, please visit: https://gfo.ca/about/march-classic-2023/ 2023 March Classic Cultivating New Tomorrows Mark your calendars! When you grow the food that feeds the world, you know the value of trying new ideas and embracing new opportunities. Grain farmers are always looking to tomorrow to see how the world is changing and what it will mean for their farms, their families and their communities. What upcoming food trends represent new opportunities for grains and how do we work with consumers to give them what they need and want? Every season, grain farmers are cultivating these new tomorrows. Join us for the 2023 March Classic at RBC Place in London. 2023 March Classic March 21, 2023 Grain Farmers of Ontario HEAR FROM • U.S. Farm Report hosted by Tyne Morgan • Timothy Caulfield • Sarah Kaplan • Dr. Samantha Yammine, aka ScienceSam Entertainment: Aaron Peterson, Illusionist and Entertainer ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 13 FEBRUARY 2023
14 LIKE GRAIN VOLUMES, straw yield potential continues to increase as plant breeders improve on and develop new cereal varieties. But while generally good news for producers selling straw or using it in their livestock business, there are no quick rules for assessing whether a given variety can produce significantly more straw. The Ontario Cereals Crop Committee (OCCC) began including straw yield data in crop plot assessments in 2018 to help rectify this knowledge gap. LITTLE CORRELATION BETWEEN YIELD AND HEIGHT “There are some people that grow varieties for the straw, but largely there’s no breeder out there that’s breeding specifically for straw yield. Lodging is far more critical than straw yield,” says Peter Johnson, an agronomist with RealAgriculture.com and an OCCC committee member involved in the organization’s cereal research projects. Johnson describes higher straw yields as a side benefit to yield and standabilityCereal straw yield potential ONTARIO CEREALS CROP COMMITTEE RESEARCH Matt McIntosh focused breeding programs. Perhaps counterintuitively, though, there is very little correlation between straw volumes and variety height. For example, a tall spring wheat variety like AAC Scotia produces only average straw yields despite growing to 121 centimetres. The correlation between straw and grain yield is similarly lacklustre. “This is why we ended up taking down straw yields in these cereal trials. For those that want straw, it’s a big issue. They need to know.” Research SOURCE: ONTARIO DATA 2003 - 2019 JOHNSON, FALK, KENDALL, FOLLINGS. Nutrient value $/lb Max Avg Min N 1.3 28.6 18.2 10.8 P 1.3 9.9 4.4 1.3 K 0.8 35.5 19.2 7.0 S 0.7 6.0 3.5 1.8 Total $/t 80 45.3 20.9 Cents/pound 3.6 2.1 0.9 Nutrient Removal (lb/t) Max Avg Min N 22.0 14.0 10.8 P 7.6 3.4 1.0 K 44.4 24.0 8.8 S 8.6 5.0 2.6
VARIETY EXAMPLES Data recorded from wheat harvested in August 2022 indicates Adrianus was the top straw-yielding variety, ranking 140 on the straw yield index and garnering 6.59 tons per hectare. The bottom-performing variety, Branson, clocked in at 81 on the index, netting 4.75 tons per hectare. This is despite grain yields for both varieties being nearly identical. Similar results were also incurred in previous years. Results in 2022 for varieties Cruze and OAC Constellation highlight the lack of connection between straw yield and height. While both reached virtually similar heights (100 and 99 centimetres, respectively), OAC Constellation won the straw yield race by reaching 112 on the yield index — fully 30 points higher than Cruze. Yield, straw, and other varietal data can be viewed and compared through the “Head-to-Head” section of the OCCC website www.gocereals.ca. TO HARVEST — OR NOT TO HARVEST? Aside from harvesting straw for immediate on-farm use, Johnson says Ontario does have a good export market for what is generally a secondary product. In Ontario, straw markets tend to be regional, with more buy-sell activity coming from livestock-heavy areas. Many factors affect straw prices, including what the provincial wheat acreage numbers are, how much straw is generally available, and who the buyers are. “What if you get $.07 a pound? Lots of people look at that and say, if I’m up $150 to $170 an acre, it gets to be a significant portion of the income stream,” says Johnson. Concerns about organic matter and nutrient loss continue to make the harvesting of cereal straw a contested subject. From Johnson’s perspective, however, the risks to soil health and productivity are trivial. For example, research from Dr. Dave Hooker and Dr. Bill Deen at the University of Guelph showed very little difference in organic matter in plots with and without ongoing straw removal. “If you add everything together, the loss equals two cents a pound. This is nothing for the organic matter value,” says Johnson. “If you go west, that organic matter value is a bigger deal because they don’t have a long enough season to build it anywhere else … but the new organic matter data really promotes the value of roots as opposed to the above-ground value of the plants.” “Grow a cover crop. The value of cover outweighs straw removal.” l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 15 FEBRUARY 2023 This research project received funding from Grain Farmers of Ontario. Our genes are going places (with higher premiums) SeCan Conventional Soybeans OAC Strive 2650 HU OAC Kamran NEW 2725 HU OAC Malory 2800 HU OAC Bruton 2975 HU Genes that fit your farm. ® 866-797-7874 secan.com Developed by University of Guelph. Genes that fit your farm® is a registered trademark of SeCan.
16 THE OAT BREEDINGprogram at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Ottawa Research and Development Centre, led by Dr. Weikai Yan, has been working on a project to boost yield, quality, and disease resistance in new oat cultivars. Eastern Canada has two contrasting megaenvironments that require very different oat cultivars to maximize grain yield. The project aims to develop and deploy oat cultivars that best suit those mega-environments in terms of yield, quality, and disease resistance. Megaenvironment 1 includes the crown rust-prone regions of southern Ontario, while megaenvironment 2 includes the northern regions of eastern Canada. According to Yan, the project had a number of objectives beyond boosting grain yield, including improving lodging resistance and boosting crown rust resistance for southern Ontario. The project also aimed to improve milling and composition quality, including groat, beta-glucan, oil, protein, and ease of dehulling, as well as grain quality, including kernel weight, test weight, plumpness, uniformity, and hull colour. Finally, the current project also includes an agronomic study led by Dr. Baoluo Ma to explore best agronomic practices to maximize yield, quality, and lodging resistance. NEW VARIETIES RELEASED Two new varieties were released in 2022. AAC Dehaan (OA1644-13) was released for mega-environment 1, which is high-yielding, high quality, early maturing, and offers good lodging resistance. "It is so far probably the best variety we've developed," Yan said. AAC Dehaan is also moderately resistant to crown rust, a constant problem in southern Ontario. Without crown rust resistance, growers are looking at a 25 per cent yield loss. Currently, most growers apply fungicides two times each season to address crown rust issues, but with the new crown rust resistant cultivars, Yan said they might only need to spray once, which could save up to $75/ha. The second release, AAC Wight, is more suitable for northern Ontario. It is higher yielding than AAC Nicolas and offers better quality in terms of test weight and betaglucan, but no crown rust resistance, as crown rust is not an issue in that region. Breeding innovations OAT AND SOYBEAN VARIETY DEVELOPMENT Melanie Epp "Higher yielding cultivars are more demanding in terms of lodging resistance," says Yan, adding that these new cultivars offer a nice balance between the two. Yan's program aims to release at least one new cultivar for mega-environment 1 and two new cultivars for mega-environment 2 in early 2023. FOOD-GRADE SOYBEANS Each year, demand for non-GM, food-grade soybeans makes up about 25 - 30 per cent of the total market share in Ontario and Quebec, according to University of Guelph breeder Dr. Istvan Rajcan. To meet this demand, he is continuously developing new high-yielding, disease-resistant, value-added soybean cultivars for the Maturity Group 1-00 growing regions. New soybean varieties developed within his program incorporate elite Canadian and exotic source material to enhance yield. New cultivars offer enhanced value and opportunities for value-added markets, including improved tofu and soymilk properties, higher sucrose content, saponin, isoflavones, and modified oil profiles for the health foods and bioproducts markets. Finally, new cultivars offer improved genetic resistance to soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and better resistance to white mould. Rajcan's breeding program annually releases 3 - 5 new soybean cultivars that meet grower demand. The new cultivars are high yielding and high in protein, which makes them suitable for the food-grade market. "In recent years, we switched our focus towards the development of soybean cyst nematode resistance in all of our new cultivars," says Rajcan. "It used to be an optional trait for my target region in southern Ontario. We have Research
stopped selecting material that didn't have resistance because the market demands it." "SCN is not in every county of Ontario," he adds. "But it is in enough counties of my target region that I cannot afford not to include that trait in the new cultivars." Rajcan's program is also working diligently on developing cultivars with white mould resistance. "It's a difficult target because white mould is sporadic," he says. "When it comes, it can hit the crop hard and causemajor yield losses, especially in susceptible cultivars." To address this issue, graduate student Deus Mugabe, under the supervision of Rajcan, is evaluating the genetic causes for white mould resistance in Ontario soybeans. Mugabe has evaluated the population by inoculation and isolating DNA from the population. The isolated DNA has been sent for genotyping. "When we get that genetic data back, we will be able to put it together with phenotypic data for resistance and identify the genetic loci or quantitative trait loci that are causing resistance," Rajcan explains. "So, in the future, we can select for resistance in the lab without having to expose the material always to the fungus." Another aspect of the project is increasing the diversity of soybean varieties. To do this, Rajcan is crossing elite Canadian germplasm with modern Chinese genetics. "The genetics of North American soybeans is known to be narrow," he explains. "By crossing with Chinese cultivars, we're trying to incorporate new yield, seed quality, and resistance genes into the breeding program." "There's a constant concern by breeders that a narrowing of the genetic diversity in a ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 17 FEBRUARY 2023 These research projects received funding from Grain Farmers of Ontario. genetic pool may lead to a plateau in breeding, which means we keep doing the same thing, but there's no more increase in yield in the progeny," he adds. That has not happened so far, but Rajcan says he wants to be proactive. Rajcan's breeding program recently released several new cultivars that show great promise. Two of note include OAC Kamran, suitable for Maturity group 0, and OAC Aberdeen, suitable for Maturity Group 1. Both are SCN-resistant and high yielding and offer high protein. Dr. Yan’s oat breeding program at AAFC Ottawa and Dr. Rajcan’s soybean breeding program at the University of Guelph are funded in part by the Government of Canada under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriScience Program, a federal, provincial, and territorial initiative. l CropBooster® Oligo® Prime and RR SoyBooster® Oligo® Prime in corn, soybean and wheat crops Agro-100 has conducted over 100 trials to confirm the value of its newOligo® Prime technology. In corn, average yield increases were greater than 9 bu/acre. Talk to your Agro-100 representative or Ag retailer. 1 866 770.8887 • www.agro-100.com download the Agro100 application for free today! Proven Biostimulant Tank Mix Program now activated by Oligo® Prime YEARS ® agro_agrofoliaires_thirdH_CropBoosterOP_03.indd 1 2022-12-21 11:02
18 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events Cultivating New Tomorrows Join us March 21, 2023 in London, Ontario for the 2023 March Classic! Registration is now open, visit www.gfo.ca/marchclassic to register today. When you grow the food that feeds the world, you know the value of trying new ideas and embracing new opportunities. Grain farmers are always looking to tomorrow to see how the world is changing and what it will mean for their farms, their families and their communities. What new technology will be available and how will it help grow the best, most abundant amount of food for the world? What new regulations are potentially coming? How will we work with government to ensure food security and to ensure farmers ability to keep their family farms running for generations to come? How will we help new farmers enter into the fields? What upcoming food trends represent new opportunities for grains and how do we work with consumers to give them what they need and want? Every season, grain farmers are cultivating these new tomorrows. Conference details: Preregister for the 2023 March Classic by February 28 to be entered into our early bird draw! Registration can be found online at our website or by calling 1 800 265 0550 X308. Rooms are available at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Book online at www.gfo.ca/marchclassic or farmer members can call 519 436 1661 and use code GFO or ask to book under the Grain Farmers of Ontario call-in block. Book before February 28 to get our discounted room rate. For more information about this year’s March Classic please contact Grain Farmers of Ontario at 1 800-265-0550 X308 or email email@example.com. 7 a.m. Complimentary breakfast for March Classic attendees, sponsored by John Deere Canada 8 a.m. Registration and Exhibit Hall opens 9 a.m. Opening Remarks Grain Farmers of Ontario 9:30 a.m. U.S. Farm Report hosted by Tyne Morgan Join us for live taping of the U.S. FarmReport, with host Tyne Morgan, as they explore the latest in marketing trends 10:30 a.m. Break, sponsored by Syngenta 11 a.m. Timothy Caulfield, Professor of Health Law and Science Policy and Bestselling Author of Relax: A Guide to Everyday Health Decisions with More Facts and Less Worry. Noon Lunch, sponsored by Syngenta 1:30 p.m. Sarah Kaplan, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, and author of The 360° Corporation. 2:30 p.m. Break, sponsored by Syngenta 3 p.m. Dr. Samantha Yammine, aka ScienceSam, Neuroscientist, Science Communicator, and Digital Media Producer. 4 p.m. Reception in Exhibit Hall sponsored by Bayer CropScience 6 p.m. Banquet*($50, tickets required), sponsored by SeCan Featuring Illusionist Aaron Paterson 9 p.m. End of Conference * Banquet tickets can be purchased on-site at registration. Cash, cheque, or credit card accepted. 2023 March Classic Exhibitor information March 21, 2023 Grain Farmers of Ontario Cultivating New Tomorrows
FARMERS NEED FERTILIZER: REPORT In December, Grain Farmers of Ontario released a new report by Josh Linville of StoneX: “Farmers Need Fertilizer,” which represents a robust study of fertilizer and the circumstances and trends that have led to the current negative environment for farmers and the Canadian food system. The Farmers Need Fertilizer report outlines the complexity of global fertilizer supply, demand, and price and shows how Canada’s fertilizer tariffs impact farmers in Ontario. It also explores the investments required to address the fertilizer supply in Canada in the longer term. “The results of the report echo what we have been saying. ‘Farmers Need Fertilizer’ shows that the best short-term solution for food security is for the Canadian government to remove the burden of tariffs on imported fertilizer,” says Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. “The report also explores the magnitude of the investment required to implement other solutions to address Canada’s fertilizer supply.” The report is available at www.gfo.ca/governmentrelations/fertilizer-report/ BEST OF CAMA Grain Farmers of Ontario was honoured to receive a Canadian AgriMarketers Alliance (CAMA) Best of CAMA award in the Crisis Communication, Issues Management, or Government Relations category for our 2022 Fertilizer Response. The awards submission highlighted our government lobbying activities, media outreach, and farmer-member communications. The Ontario Grain Farmer magazine received a Certificate of Merit in the Best Magazine Category. The awards were presented at the Best of CAMA ceremony on November 3, 2022 in Niagara Falls. TALK TODAY PROGRAM Grain Farmers of Ontario has joined with the OHL and Syngenta Canada, who will serve as presenting sponsors of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division’s Talk Today program, now entering its ninth season. Talk Today provides mental health support to players and raises awareness about mental health and suicide throughout the League’s communities. Mental wellness is a priority area of focus for Grain Farmers of Ontario as we look to help Ontario grain farmers struggling with mental health issues and remove any stigma still associated with talking about mental health or seeking help. This Talk Today program from the OHL and CMHA helps to start much-needed conversations and educate people about mental health issues. February is Talk Today month in the OHL, with game day presentations, educational activities, and social media campaigns held League-wide aimed at reducing the stigma associated with mental health and addiction. Grain Farmers of Ontario’s public outreach campaign, Good in Every Grain, will be activating onsite at the arena concourses at eleven OHL games across Ontario this month. These activations will be able to continue the Talk Today conversations on mental wellness and help raise awareness of the unique challenges Ontario grain farmers face and the potential mental health issues they face producing grains. For more information, please visit www.gfo.ca/event/ or contact Rachel Telford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 226 979-5581. WINTER FARM SHOWS Grain Farmers of Ontario will be exhibiting at the following farm shows: • East Central Farm Show in Lindsay March 1 - 2, • London Farm Show March 8 - 10, • Ottawa Valley Farm Show March 14 - 16. Farmer-members are encouraged to stop by our booth to meet with staff and discuss any issues of concern ahead of the 2023 planting season. 19 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER FEBRUARY 2023 Contest of the month Enter to win the monthly online contest for 2023 at www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca. In February, enter to win a Branded 45 qt Tailgatrz cooler courtesy of Bayer CropScience (valued at $475). The contest is open to all farmer-members and is online only.
20 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events WOMEN’S GRAIN SYMPOSIUM Sixty women from across the grain and oilseed industry — including farmer-members, agronomists, and industry representatives — joined Grain Farmers of Ontario staff for the annual Women’s Grain Symposium on November 28 and 29 in Guelph. The event featured guest speakers on grain marketing, mental wellness, farm transition, leadership, personal development, entrepreneurship, and more. Grain Farmers of Ontario extends our thanks to industry sponsors, including SeCan, FCC, Spirits Canada, Syngenta, BASF, Greenfield Global, Peavey Mart, RBC, and P&H Milling, for their support of the event. The Women’s Grain Symposium is held annually to offer women farmer-members and grain industry representatives the opportunity to network, collaborate, and learn from one another and to encourage more women to get involved in leadership roles within Grain Farmers of Ontario. Thank you to Grain Farmers of Ontario delegates Kristen Carberry from District 11 (Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York), Margaret Vincent from District 8 (Huron), Julie Maw from District 3 (Lambton), Kaye McLagan from District 9 (Perth), and Jennifer Doelman from District 13 (Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa) for participating on a panel discussion about their leadership as delegates. CEREALS CANADA NEW CROP MISSION Dana Dickerson, manager of market development and Brendan Byrne, chair, travelled to Mexico and Colombia in December to participate in the Cereals Canada New Crop Mission. They were joined by Paolo Santangelo, operations manager of SGS Canada — Crop Science, as part of the Grain Farmers of Ontario – SGS Laboratories joint venture that conducts quality testing of Ontario wheat. They met with millers, industry, and government officials to promote Ontario’s soft red winter wheat and grow existing and build new customer relationships. GRAIN FARMING 101 In November, Laura Ferrier, Grain Farmers of Ontario agronomist, and Josh Boerson, director for District 8 (Perth), hosted an Ontario Grain Farming 101 video viewing and pizza night at the University of Guelph. More than 30 attendees watched the Ontario Grain Farming 101 videos and had the opportunity to ask Josh questions about his farm and topics of interest. Attendees included undergraduate and graduate students and faculty representing a wide variety of areas of study, including agriculture, microbiology, zoology, biochemistry, and water resource engineering. Grain Farming 101 is an online video series that shares on-farm information and experiences and explores topics and themes around grain farming. MARKET COMMENTARY by Philip Shaw Farmers across the great North American corn belt are changing gears with the turn of the calendar year. As of this writing, the final numbers on the 2022 U.S. growing season are not yet available but were announced January 12, 2023. In the December United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, corn yield was maintained at 13.930 billion bushels on a yield of 172.3 bushels per acre. The soybean yield was maintained at 4.346 billion bushels on a yield of 50.2 bushels per acre. In Ontario, the final yields for corn came in at 166 bushels per acre and soybeans at 48 bushels per acre. With such a dry season in many parts of the province, that is surprising. The Canadian dollar continues to add stimulus to Ontario grain prices fluttering near $0.74 – 0.75 U.S. FROM THE CHAIR A Q&A with Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. What do you hope 2023 will bring for grain farmers in Ontario and the organization? We started the year off well with our commitment to, and investment in, research and field crop expertise through our gift to the University of Guelph for a field crop professorship. Continuing on that, I know that this organization provides excellence for our farmer-members that is unmatched in the industry. I hope that 2023 brings with it continued excellence that opens doors to new markets for our grains, that sees the federal government recognize the importance and value of supporting farmers through carbon tax and tariff removal for food production, and that the public sees the benefits of how we farm and acknowledges farmers as the experts in food production. But, most importantly, I hope that 2023 brings our farmer-members success, health, happiness, and resilience in tough times should they come. Be safe and well and all the best this year. • Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.