Ontario Grain Farmer February 2024

Published by www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca FEBRUARY 2024 RESEARCH Strip tillage research MAXIMIZING THE USE OF NUTRIENTS AND REDUCING SOIL LOSS

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FEBRUARY 2024 volume 15, number 4 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER is 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: McCorkindale Advertising & Design; Advertising Sales and Sponsorship Consultant: Joanne Tichborne 6 ON THE COVER Stormy skies ahead Treena Hein WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2024 From the CEO’s desk FEEDING THE WORLD 4 A year in review Laura Ferrier 10 Market review 2022 - 2023 Blair Andrews 12 Business side Conversations with business experts 9 GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 16 What do Canadians think about food? Mary Feldskov 14 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists 23 European trade policies Ontario Grain Farmer 18 More winter barley acres Matt McIntosh 20 Grain contracts guide Mary Feldskov 22 Ontario Agricultural Conference 2024 Ontario Grain Farmer 24 Stronger leadership Rachel Telford 26 Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 30 Farming for world hunger Rebecca Hannam 28 172024 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS CHECK HERE FOR DATES AND TIMES DECEMBER 2023 / JANUARY 2024 volume 15, number 3 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 and Sponsorship Consultant: Joanne Tichborne BIODEGRADABLE POLY 15-03 OGF DecemberJanuary 2023-24_OnGrainFarmer 2023-11-09 11:04 AM Page 3 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists ON THE COVER Strip tillage research Treena Hein REDUCING SOIL LOSS 4From the CEO’s desk Investment nets results 18GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 34Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 24Crop rotation diversification Rebecca Hannam 26A $27 billion industry Mary Feldskov 30Market access update Dana Dickerson 32Legacy scholarship winners Mary Feldskov 182024 MARCH CLASSIC VIEW THE AGENDA Building soil health over time Treena Hein 14Determining soybean yield Ontario Grain Farmer 16Weed management Lois Harris 22New fertility recommendations Matt McIntosh 9Business side Conversations with business experts 28Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists PHOTO COURTESY OF BEN ROSSER

GRAIN AND OILSEED PRODUCTION makes a huge contribution to Ontario’s economy. With the recent release of a new report by MNP, an Economic Impact Analysis of Grain Farming in Ontario, we can share the great news that the sector’s economic impact continues to grow. Commissioned by Grain Farmers of Ontario, the report provides updated statistics and information to quantify the impact of grain farming — showing remarkable growth since 2010. With a 60 per cent growth in economic output — now valued at $27 billion — the grain and oilseed industry shows no sign of slowing down. And, with more than 90,000 jobs and $2 billion in government revenue (a 64 per cent increase since 2010), Grain Farmers of Ontario has a great story to tell about how important the sector is to Ontario and Canada’s economy. At the Grain Farmers of Ontario Queen’s Park reception in December, members of the Board of Directors and staff had the opportunity to share this good news with Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Lisa Thompson, MPPs from the government and opposition parties, and Queen’s Park staff. As we head into 2024, as we continue our outreach efforts to the provincial and federal governments, we will drive home the message that supporting the grain and oilseed industry in Ontario nets positive results for our rural communities, Ontario’s economy, and Canada’s reputation as a supplier of safe, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable crops. Achieving these incredible economic numbers is possible because farmers have the tools, information, and resources they need to increase yields, adopt new technologies, and become more efficient and sustainable. Many of these tools are developed through Grain Farmers of Ontario’s investment in research and innovation. In this edition of the Ontario Grain Farmer, you can learn more about some projects we’ve funded and hear from the researchers tackling the issues that matter to farmers. On a personal note, I want to share some sad news on behalf of the Grain Farmers of Ontario staff team. In late November, we lost a valued team member, Kim Ratz, to cancer. Kim and I had worked together for almost 20 years — before Grain Farmers of Ontario formed in 2010, we both worked for one of the legacy organizations that shared office space. Kim made invaluable contributions over the years — as production coordinator of this magazine and its predecessor, the Ontario Corn Producer. As our brand specialist, she was responsible for developing the Grain Farmers of Ontario logo and designing virtually every public-facing print and digital asset we have produced. In addition to being a dedicated and talented team member, she was a valued friend to all who worked with her over the years. We miss Kim dearly.• Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario IN MEMORY OF KIM RATZ 1963-2023 Kim’s obituary can be found at www.erbgood.com 4 From the CEO’s desk Investment nets results

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6 Cover story Strip tillage research MAXIMIZING THE USE OF NUTRIENTS AND REDUCING SOIL LOSS Treena Hein AS STRIP TILLAGE HAS BEEN investigated and promoted in Ontario during the last 20 years, its use has grown slowly but steadily because it can achieve a variety of aims. For example, it can lead to better fertilizer use, reduce nutrient runoff, and boost yield. “A few years ago, we started looking at the yields that could be achieved with strip-till and sub-surface placement of fertilizer,” says Ben Rosser, corn specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “In other jurisdictions like Ohio, they’ve noticed particulate phosphorus (P) losses have been lowered through soil conservation efforts like reduced tillage, but dissolved P losses were increasing where fertilizer was left on the soil surface in reduced tillage systems. Strip-till with subsurface placement of fertilizer could potentially address both issues.” Agronomist Aaron Breimer, general manager at Elite Agri Solutions, notes that because P does not readily move through the soil and the vast majority of uptake happens through roots directly intercepting it, subsurface placement of P is a good idea. “The advent of strip tillage and autosteer has boosted the ability to utilize this approach, placing P where it’s going to benefit the crop the most,” he says. Breimer adds that a benefit of strip tillage is that the macropores suspected of causing the movement of dissolved P into tiles and out into surface water (ditches, rivers and lakes) — are disrupted and broken up, similar to conventional tillage, but between the strips the macropores are left intact. “This allows for natural drainage to still occur,” he notes, “which is important particularly when there are heavy rainfall events to prevent surface runoff.” Over three recent growing seasons, Rosser led a study evaluating the ability of strip tillage-applied fertilizer to replace surface broadcast and incorporated applications of P and potassium (K) fertilizer in lower-fertility soils and comparing yield responses to that seen with more traditional tillage and broadcast P and K applications. The trials followed soybeans or cereals and were built on previous similar research supported by Grain Farmers of Ontario conducted in different areas of the province. STRIP-TILL IN SPRING Jumping right into results, Rosser and his team found that yields of spring strip-till and P and K were significantly higher (4.1 bushels/ continued on page 8 • Growers have increasingly adopted strip tillage over the past 20 years. • The benefits of strip tillage include better fertilizer use, reduced nutrient runoff, and boosted yields. • Ben Rosser, corn specialist at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, has been conducting Grain Farmers of Ontario-sponsored research on yield improvements using strip tillage. • Rosser and his team found that yields of spring strip-till and P and K were significantly higher (4.1 bushels/acre) than where P and K were broadcast and incorporated with full-width tillage. • Conservation tillage and fertilizer placement combination can not only reduce costs ($10-37/acre savings for tillage and fertilizer application costs versus full-width tillage based on Ontario custom rates survey) but can also provide greater yields and income ($20/acre at $5.00/bushel corn). WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW acre) than where P and K were broadcast and incorporated with full-width tillage. “It’s clear that on low-fertility soils that can be successfully strip-tilled in the spring (that is, you have well-drained medium-to-lighter soil textures), spring strip-till with fertility provides a yield advantage over broadcast incorporated fertilizer,” says Rosser. “This demonstrates that this conservation tillage and fertilizer placement combination can not only reduce costs ($10-37/acre savings for tillage and fertilizer application costs versus full-width tillage based on Ontario custom rates survey) but can also provide greater yields and income ($20/acre at $5.00/bushel corn). While treatments cannot prove whether this is strictly tillage or fertility-related, fertilizer placement on low-testing soils is expected to be a strong driver.” Rosser adds that this conclusion would be especially important when a grower is not expected to build soil fertility. Rosser also reports that despite the logistical benefits of doing strip-till in the late summer or fall, many growers on well-drained soils have already moved to spring strip-till and fertilizer. “From strictly a yield perspective, it makes sense to do so, according to our data,” he says. “I think having the equipment, labour and logistics (fertilizer) in place to have both strip-tiller and planter running in spring helps them get that done. It’s not totally unlike what is needed for conventional tillage operations where secondary tillage and planting are all done in spring.” STARTING WITH STARTER Rosser found in the study that yields of spring strip-till and P and K were significantly


8 Cover story continued from page 6 higher (4.7 bushels/acre) than fall strip-till and P and K. He stresses, however, that if you have soils you are not comfortable strip-tilling in the spring (medium or lighter texture, good drainage), this difference in yield can be made up by including starter fertilizer on fall strips. In the treatments tested, the same total amount of fertilizer was applied, just at different times, so the total investment in fertilizer is the same. Breimer is cautious about spring strip-tilling or even freshening of the spring strips. “Perhaps on lighter soil, it is an approach that works, but my experience on medium and heavier soil types is that fall strip tillage is best followed by stale seedbed planting the following spring directly into the strips,” he says. In Rosser’s view, some growers will prefer to strip-till in the fall or spring and will also consider the value of starter fertilizer on their corn planter. “You have to look at whether the planter already has starter fertilizer capabilities or does this need to be added,” he explains. “And you have to look at what the expected benefit to starter fertilizer (soil test levels, etc.) will be — what are the logistical costs of running starter fertilizer relative to their perceived benefits?” On the subject of starter, Rosser’s common question is whether strip fertilizer can replace the need for it on the corn planter. From his study, he can say that moving a portion of fertilizer from fall strips to spring starter might be a slight yield benefit. “Growers would have to decide if the value of this practice ($16/acre at $5.00/bushel corn) covers the costs of investing in 2x2-inch starter fertilizer equipment if your planter is not already equipped and tendering starter fertilizer to the planter in the spring,” he says. “In our study, applying starter fertilizer on fall-fertilized strips did narrow the yield gap between fall and spring strip-till — spring strip and fertility was not significantly higheryielding than where fertilizer was split between fall strip and planter starter.” Reflecting on corn prices, Rosser notes that over the last year, they’ve been higher than $5 (though now trending down), so that would make splitting potentially more attractive than the cost-benefit analysis noted earlier. However, if a fertilizer placement and delivery system has to be purchased, growers have to factor in the current increased equipment prices into their decisions. Looking forward, Rosser says there are still a lot of questions on the strip-till fertility front, particularly how to safely apply larger amounts of fertilizer where crop injury could be a concern. He is currently working on a Grain Farmers of Ontario-funded project with Dr. John Lauzon at the University of Guelph, investigating crop safety and response for various fertilizer placements in-strip. This project is funded in part by the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP), a five-year investment by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments.•

Weighing debt options BUSINESS SIDE WITH... 9 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER FEBRUARY 2024 (J.M.) WHAT DO FARMERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TODAY’S DEBT OPTIONS? (R.L.) Farm financing has become a lot more complex in recent years. The fluctuating economic environment, rising interest rates, variable commodity markets, and rising cost of input supplies are just a few factors affecting how farmers access and manage finances. To keep it simple, let’s talk about short- and long-term debt options and how they can work within a farm’s financial plan. Short-term debt is another word for working capital. These types of loans should be financed for less than 12 months and used to turn raw materials into investments to sell in the future, like inputs to get your crop in the ground or feed for livestock. Long-term debt should be used for assets required to run your farm business, like land, equipment, or purchasing shares in a business. This can also be utilized in succession planning or, new to the list of uses, sustainability financing, like making long-term investments like solar panels, irrigation, converting the farm to organic, etc. HOW HAS DEBT MANAGEMENT CHANGED? The rise in interest rates in recent years has thrown another challenge into the financing and debt management matrix. Interest rates impact the efficiency and longevity of debt. Interest rates also have different implications on the types of debt — short-term debt is more sensitive to interest rates when compared to long-term financing. From an operations perspective, higher interest rates directly affect the payment amounts, requiring farmers to decide how to afford the payments and for how long. The increasing complexity means farmers aren’t just making production-based decisions anymore; they must also be financial managers. Drastic economic changes in the past two years have amplified this ongoing challenge. Farmers need a strong financial understanding and decision-making skill set and support themselves with a team of informed and trusted advisors. CAN YOU OFFER ANY TIPS FOR EVALUATING DEBT OPTIONS? When weighing debt decisions and financial considerations on the farm, I recommend farmers ask themselves three questions to help identify any obstacles and find clarity in their decision. 1. What is the long-term goal of my operation? Consider how the financing decision will support your business and help you achieve your goals and desires. 2. Do I have all the information required to make an informed decision? Have you asked all the questions required to understand the implications of taking on debt? Have you considered the long-term effects of your decision on your tax structure, future interest rate adjustments, changes to commodity prices, weather variability, etc? 3. Do I have the right team to help me make decisions today? Maybe you need to consult your advisors or add a new member of your farm advisory team to help you understand the implications and navigate today’s challenging financial and farm business management environment. Once you understand these key questions clearly, sit down with your advisory team to determine if a short or long-term debt approach is the best option for your desired outcomes. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE TO HELP FARMERS PREPARE FOR DEBT DISCUSSIONS WITH THEIR LENDERS? Be prepared and know what you want. Understand what terms will work for your farm business structure, how debt will affect it and what you need to achieve your goals. Your lender will present terms and interest rates, but at the end of the day, a farmer owes it to themselves to advocate for themselves and their farm. I always recommend farmers consult their advisors before meeting with a lender because it is important to understand how decisions can impact other aspects of the business, like tax planning, shareholder commitments or even succession. Selecting the right lender is also important. Access to capital is relatively easy, but choosing the right financial partner that aligns with your farm business and future goals can be tough, especially during times of uncertainty. Find a lender who is as invested in the sustainability of your farm and agricultural industry as you are and one that will weather the transition of economic and commodity cycles with you. Your best success in managing debt is partnering with a lender aligned with your vision for your farm operation.• Roxane Lieverse, Executive Vice President and Head of Agricultural Banking, Rabobank Canada Business side Jeanine Moyer

10 Research Building soil health over time LONG-TERM STUDY OF TILLAGE, FERTILITY, AND MORE Treena Hein CUTTING-EDGE RESEARCH INTO SOIL HEALTH continues in Ontario, led by a University of Guelph team. “Healthy, resilient soil is key to maintaining crop productivity,” notes Dr. Laura Van Eerd, professor of sustainable soil management at the University of Guelph. “This is particularly true in extreme weather years where drought or excessive moisture conditions are exacerbated in poor, degraded soils.” Van Eerd has been conducting a long-term soil health study with the help of a large, hardworking team. “My research program is only possible because of graduate students such as Yajun Peng, postdoctoral fellow Dr. Inderjot Chahal, and colleagues Dr. David Hooker and Sean Vink,” she explains. “Sean is our research technician who provides leadership through understanding how to farm and conduct research at the same time and is an outstanding resource.” This research was funded in part by the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a collaboration between the Government of Ontario and the University of Guelph. For years, Van Eerd’s team has been quantifying changes in soil health over time using indicators such as soil organic carbon (SOC) and total nitrogen (TN) storage level, which can vary in quantity due to tillage system, crop rotation, cover crop use and N application. It is important to understand the role of these management practices on SOC and TN (soil health) so that growers can make crop productivity gains and maximize profits. Also, SOC measurements may allow Ontario growers to trade in carbon credits in the future. “However, meaningful Ontario data is needed,” says Van Eerd, “and the long-term tillage system-crop rotation-nitrogen trial at Ridgetown is well suited to provide this information.” The trial was initiated in 1995 on clay loam soil in a split-split plot design with four replications. Using this experimental site, the team proposed to assess the differences in SOC and TN among crop rotations such as corn-corn, soybean-soybean, corn-soybean-wheat, or soybean-wheat, tillage system effects (zone-tillage versus conventional fall plow with spring secondary tillage), and the effect of N rate in the corn and wheat phases of the crop rotation. They also wanted to measure levels of SOC and TN by identifying sequestration rates and changes in storage from 2006 to 2019. Other questions were: How much carbon storage can we expect when we have a red clover cover crop after wheat, and from N fertilizer rate effects in the crop rotation? And how can we define the relationship between soil health and crop yield (and variability in yield over time, also called resiliency) under various management practices? PHOTOS COURTESY OF LAURA VAN EERD

Chesley 519-363-3192 Lucknow 519-529-7995 Walton 519-887-6365 Meaford 519-538-1660 Mount Forest 519-323-2755 Owen Sound 519-376-5880 REACH FARTHER, WORK SMARTER. brandt.ca The all-new Brandt XT-Series grain cart utilizes simple innovations to eliminate common delays, so you can Lead the Field. Industry-leading auger reach delivers ultimate visibility while steep tank angles ensure complete tank cleanout. Keep your harvest moving with optional features including a joystick control kit, auto-lock auger fold and more. Robotically-welded frames, modular tanks, protected electrical systems and simple drive systems deliver unrivalled uptime. Increased Productivity Easier to Operate Engineered for Durability 11 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER FEBRUARY 2024 RESULTS Here are a few takeaways for Ontario grain farmers from the study analysis. The effects of crop rotation on soil health are still being analyzed, but some conclusions in this area are available. 1) Building SOC through crop rotation depends on type of tillage system. This means that there is no ‘one-size’ fits all approach to increasing SOC storage. 2) No-till systems, in general, build soil health. Many studies have shown that no-till leaves the soil structure and organism communities intact, promoting soil health. This study also showed that the modified no-till system had a greater potential in building soil health (building SOC and TN levels) than conventional tillage, fall moldboard plow, at all soil depths. Particularly in the top 20 centimetres of soil, the SOC level was much higher (14.1 Mg/hectare greater) with no-till. “How much this is due to more extensive roots versus crop debris is a question I and many international researchers want to answer,” says Van Eerd. “This project was not designed to answer that, but other research This research project received funding from Grain Farmers of Ontario. continued on page 12

12 Research continued from page 11 is suggesting we’ve undervalued how much carbon is below ground in roots, root exudates and in the rhizosphere microbe community.” It is worth remembering that reduced tillage approaches protect the soil from erosion. By keeping soil in the field SOC and total N also remain in the field. This is one way to ‘build’ soil health in reduced tillage systems. 3) Potential of red clover to build SOC depends on amount of N applied. Hooker explains that the potential for underseeded red clover to build SOC depends on good red clover stands, but the results in this trial show red clover biomass depends highly on the amount of fertilizer N applied to the wheat. “This is a confounding effect,” he notes, “and further explorations are underway to tease apart this interaction.” GENERAL CROP PRACTICE GUIDANCE Crop rotation, tillage system, and nitrogen rates may have a greater influence on SOC and total N levels; however, detecting changes is challenging due to the inherent variability in soil sampling over time and spatially across different cropping systems. “This lack of effects could be due to many things, including a relatively short time, 13 years, of sampling to observe carbon stocks increase,” says Van Eerd. “It could also be due to a plateau in the rate of organic carbon accumulation or soil saturation (where no additional SOC storage would be expected) or a combination. Research is underway with Dr. Adam Gillespie to explore other possible reasons, such as partitioning of carbon in particulate organic matter and mineralassociated organic matter in surface soil.” Nevertheless, Van Eerd and her colleagues recommend that the research is consistent with the principles of Ontario’s ‘Soils For Life’ program — recognizing that each farm is different. These principles are to build SOC over time, keep the soil covered, minimize soil disturbance (no-till or strip-till when possible), diversify crop rotations (as well as animals), and keep living roots all year. FOR MORE Van Eerd worked with her ‘Soils at Guelph’ team to explain soil carbon, a task that is especially difficult in agricultural soils. Find out more at soilsatguelph.ca•

CABEF is a registered charity (#828593731RR0001). For more information on all registered charities in Canada under the Income Tax Act, please visit Canada Revenue Agency www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities. @CABEFscholarship cabef.org Canadian agriculture and food needs more talented people. Each year, CABEF helps students to pursue rewarding agri-food careers through seven $2,500 scholarships. We’re looking for the future leaders who will help this industry meet tomorrow’s challenges. Do you know someone who needs to fund their future in agri-food? Tell a student today. Scholarship application deadline is April 30, 2024 Want to help support the next generation of agri-food leaders? Become a “Champion of CABEF.” This program allows your organization to directly sponsor a deserving student. Contact CABEF at info@cabef.org.

14 Research Determining soybean yield INFLUENCE, FACTORS, AND VARIABLES Ontario Grain Farmer NOTHING IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH ever unfolds quickly, nor are desired results guaranteed. Delving into data and distinguishing between viable recommendations and the anomalies that may arise is enough to discourage the most resilient individuals. Every treatment, weather vagary, soil characteristic and parameter is under scrutiny to achieve consistent and reliable results to help growers. When it comes to increasing soybean yield, there have been advances in plant performance through selective breeding and transgenics, the effects of tillage, and the use of fertilizers and chemical products. The ultimate question before researchers and extension personnel is whether reducing the variability in soybeans is possible. A more enticing view of this research is the project, “100-Bushel Soybean: What’s Really Holding Us Back?” A joint three-year effort between the University of Guelph, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and funded by Grain Farmers of Ontario, it is trying to unravel the mystery of the primary influences in production. It is also the focus of Matt Rundle’s master’s project, with the goal of examining the critical variables of soybean production during growth stages R2 to R5. Rundle has been working since 2021 with Drs. Hugh Earl, Dave Hooker, and Istvan Rajcan from the University of Guelph, and Horst Bohner from OMAFRA. THE PROJECT PARAMETERS The research plots were laid out in three locations each year, providing nine site years: at Bornholm, Elora, and Woodstock in 2021 and Elora, Woodstock, and Maryhill in 2022 and 2023. Three varieties (A, B, and C) were tested in 2021 and 2022; a fourth, longer-maturing variety (D) was added in 2023. Twelve different treatments were used (see Table 1), with four untreated checks, one intermediate (half-rates of fertilizer, nitrogen and foliar fungicide) and “everything” treatments on all four varieties. IMPORTANT DETAILS The R2 to R5 stages encompass flowering and pod set, and the research hopes to explain how that range determines yield, including pod numbers, seeds per pod, and seed size. Since 2021, Rundle has been tracking above-ground biomass, interception of incoming solar radiation into the canopy and greenness, among other characteristics. Not achieving 100 bushels/acre yields or higher in soybeans will not make the project a failure, notes Rundle. The goal is to learn more that could be used in managing the crop, not to uncover some type of “silver bullet.” The 2023 data were still being analyzed at the time of writing, but there are some visible results that could be shared from those plots. Although they were not what Rundle hoped to see in some treatments, there were some intriguing indications. “There was a significant yield response to the ‘everything’ package with 61.8 bushels/ TABLE 1: 2023 COMBINED YIELD—ALL LOCATIONS Rank Treatment (number, variety and type) Yield (bushels/acre) at 13 per cent moisture 1 #6 “Everything, Variety C” (fertilizer, N and foliar fungicide) 69.5 2 #5 “Everything, Variety B” (fertilizer, N and foliar fungicide) 69.0 3 #7 “Everything, Variety A” (minus foliar fungicide package) 66.6 4 #4 “Everything, Variety A” (fertilizer, N and foliar fungicide) 65.4 5 #9 “Everything, Variety A” (minus fertilizer package) 65.3 6 #10 “Intermediate, Variety A” (half rates*) 63.0 7 #12 “Everything, Variety D” (fertilizer, N and foliar fungicide) 61.8 8 #8 “Everything, Variety A” (minus N package) 58.3 9 #2 “Control, Variety B” (uncreated check) 58.0 10 #11 “Control, Variety D” (untreated check) 56.8 11 #1 “Control, Variety A” (untreated check) 56.5 12 #3 “Control, Variety C” (untreated check) 53.0 Source: Matt Rundle, University of Guelph

15 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER FEBRUARY 2024 This research project received funding from Grain Farmers of Ontario. acre over the ‘control’ at 56.8 bushels/acre within the longer maturity variety that we added in this year,” says Rundle, a corn product placement scientist with Syngenta Canada. “However, it was out-performed by a number of other treatments, including all three of our standard varieties with the ‘everything’ package.” He concedes the results may not correlate to a set of agronomic practices that could translate to increased yields and revenues. But it is the physiological work that creates knowledge to build on for future practices or products being brought to market that might take advantage of some of the results they’re gleaning from this project. THE REALITY OF THE SITUATION Earl agrees with Rundle’s assessment: growers are more interested in defined practices that drive yield and less about the differences in pod number or seed size resulting from different fertilizer treatments. “We have especially good statistical power to compare the ‘everything’ to the ‘nothing’ treatments because we have 12 estimates of each at each location,” says Earl, associate professor of crop physiology at the University of Guelph. “The contrast is significant at every location except Maryhill (in) 2022. As it turns out, looking at the input packages, the three varieties have statistically the same yield if you grew them without any of these inputs — then they all increase by about the same amount.” He adds that each location is analyzed separately, so the least significant differences are location-specific. That way, a five bushel increase from foliar nitrogen was significant at Elora in 2021, but larger increases were not significant at Maryhill or Woodstock in 2022. TAKE HOME MESSAGE Despite the preliminary nature of the data, the lesson to be carried forward from Earl’s perspective is that if a grower’s getting very high yields, it’s likely because they’re on good soil and saw good weather during a growing season. “It’s almost like it’s an innate property of your farm,” he says. “Some growers on Class 2 and 3 soils will say the soil is a lot better than it was when they got it, so through proper management, you can increase the soil productivity. But that’s a long-term prospect.” This project is funded in part by the Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP), a five-year investment by Canada’s federal, provincial, and territorial governments.• HORST BOHNER, OMAFRA

16 Research Weed management INCREASING YIELDS AND PROFITS Lois Harris ACCORDING TO DR. PETER SIKKEMA, careful weed management in soybeans can increase yields and profits while bringing an astonishing 344 per cent return on investment (ROI). “My goal is to incrementally advance the science of weed management — hopefully to improve the information for Ontario farmers every year so they get better weed control, decrease soybean yield loss due to weed interference and increase net returns,” says the professor of weed management at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus who has been conducting research for 30 years. In his most recent research, partly funded by Grain Farmers of Ontario, Sikkema has found that a two-pass strategy is the most profitable most of the time, not only for soybeans but also for corn and dry beans. He explains that by using an effective soil- applied herbicide followed by a post-emergent herbicide to control weed escapes, growers are using multiple herbicide modes of action over time, which reduces the likelihood of resistant weeds gaining a foothold in the field. He advises growers to adjust their weed management program on a field-by-field basis because the herbicides’ effectiveness depends on soil characteristics, weed species, weed density, and what will be planted in the field next season. For soil-applied herbicides, he says, good records from previous seasons are a must so that the grower knows what weeds are typically present in each individual field. RESISTANT WEEDS Glyphosate-resistant weeds have been the focus of Sikkema’s research for half of his career. In 2008, glyphosate-resistant giant ragweed was confirmed in Ontario, Canada fleabane in 2010, common ragweed in 2011, and waterhemp followed in 2014. “The presence of glyphosate-resistant and multiple herbicide-resistant weeds has increased the complexity of weed management for Ontario farmers,” he says. Sikkema says that the proliferation of herbicide-resistant weeds is a result of changes in weed management practices across North America. “With the introduction of Roundup Ready soybean in 1997, and corn in 2001 and the concomitant repeated use of glyphosate has resulted in the selection of glyphosateresistant biotypes,” he says. He thinks that the rise of these herbicideresistant weeds is a result of a combination of weed management on the farms and the movement of the resistant biotypes, whether by wind (fleabane) or on equipment like cultivators, planters, and combines. “Generally, for an individual field, we really don’t know how the herbicide-resistant biotype got there; however, we do know it’s ending up in more and more fields across the province,” he says. In fact, glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane and waterhemp are present across southern Ontario, and herbicide-resistant common ragweed has been found in pockets throughout southern Ontario. HIGH COST OF NOT CONTROLLING WEEDS In his presentation on weed management in soybeans, Sikkema shows the results of research conducted between 2017 and 2021 in 336 field trials at Exeter and Ridgetown. With no weed control, soybean yield losses were a full 35 per cent. Using Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs crop statistics for 2018 to 2021, that loss would have resulted in an eye-popping $700 million loss at the farm gate to Ontario growers. According to his research, having a postemergent-only herbicide program can also be costly. Basically, the higher the weeds grow before applying herbicides, the greater the yield and monetary losses. Research shows that letting weeds grow from two to four inches in height in fields with heavy weed pressure means a two- bushel per acre loss per inch of weed height. His data shows that with 1,000 acres of soybean at a market price of $13.59 per bushel, letting weeds grow to two inches in this environment results in a loss of $24,590. If they get to six inches, the loss is nearly $113,000. While many growers may be tempted to wait until all the weeds have emerged, the two-pass strategy of starting clean and staying clean through the critical weed-free period results in improved weed control and higher net returns for growers in many situations. USE OF ADJUVANTS “With some postemergence herbicides, sometimes the addition of an adjuvant is not required; in contrast, sometimes they can have a dramatic effect on weed control, soybean yield, and net returns,” Sikkema says. In one example, he showed that increasing the rate of Roundup on soybeans produced

17 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER FEBRUARY 2024 basically the same yield results as adding an adjuvant to the Roundup. In another example involving a soybean crop planted after corn, he showed that adding an adjuvant to Select improved volunteer corn control by about 75 per cent and increased yield by an average of eight bushels an acre. Assuming increased gross returns of $109 per acre and a $3 per acre cost of the adjuvant, Sikkema calculated an astonishing 3,624 per cent return on investment. He says that making the choice comes down to knowing each herbicide’s active ingredient and whether or not there’s a benefit to adding an adjuvant to the herbicide. “It’s about finding the optimal adjuvant to add to the herbicide,” he says, emphasizing the importance of growers reading the herbicide label and using the adjuvant on the label. Even then, results may vary based on the water source, environmental conditions, the weed species, and the weed size at application. “On average, across a range of weed species, environmental conditions, and weed sizes at the time of application, the adjuvant that appears on the label will be the best,” he says. On a final note, Sikkema says that a perfectly clean soybean field at harvest doesn’t necessarily mean the best crop/ weed management. He says two 50-acre fields may look exactly the same at harvest. One has undergone the two-pass strategy with nearly no weeds, and the other has had early-season weed interference, causing a three-bushel-per-acre yield loss and a loss of about $45.00 an acre. So, where does the ROI of 344 per cent as a result of good weed management come from? Taking an average yield of 49.5 bushels per acre, selling at $13.59 per This could be the easiest decision you’ve ever made. Visit AgExpert.ca/gearup to learn how. GEAR UP with Farming is full of tough decisions. AgExpert Field & Accounting software is designed to help Canadian farmers make more informed decisions with the help of their data. Sign up for AgExpert and you could win! Grand Prize 2024 Polaris RANGER 1000 EPS Enter Before March 31, 2024 7948_AGEX_2023_ContestQ4_4-687x6-062_Opt-2.indd 1 2023-12-19 1:52 PM This research project received funding from Grain Farmers of Ontario. bushel, losses due to weed interference would amount to $236.60 per acre, while the cost of weed management would be $68.69 per acre.•

18 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2024 MARCH CLASSIC! Join us on March 19, 2024, at RBC Place in London, Ontario, for Grain Farmers of Ontario’s annual conference. Register online today at www.gfo.ca/marchclassic. The future is built on the foundation we give it, and Ontario grain farming has deep, strong roots that feed this country’s people and support the success of the agriculture industry. Farmers constantly show their resiliency, their flexibility, and their innovation. In times of challenge, they persevere. They learn from the past, and they invest in the future. The farmers of tomorrow, the one percent who will feed the world, will continue to build on these strong roots and show their strength and resilience every season. Grain Farmers of Ontario is a leader because of the strong roots it has in a strong board, strong team, and the spirit to push through in challenging times and put in the hard work for success. CONFERENCE DETAILS: Preregister to be entered into our February early bird draw! Register online on our website or by calling 1 800 265 0550 x308 before February 29, 2024, to win. Rooms are available at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Book online at www.gfo.ca/marchclassic, or farmer members can call (519) 439-1661. Use code “GFO” and ask to be booked under the Grain Farmers of Ontario room block. Book your room before March 8, 2024, to get our discounted room rate! For more information on this year’s March Classic, please contact Grain Farmers of Ontario at 1 800 265 0550 x308 or email bcurtis@gfo.ca. MARCH CLASSIC AGENDA MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2024 7 p.m. 2024 March Classic Welcome Reception Sponsored by SGS Canada Inc. The welcome reception will be held on the second floor of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel TUESDAY, MARCH 19, 2024 7 a.m. Attendee Breakfast Sponsored by John Deere Canada 8 a.m. Registration and exhibit hall opens 9 a.m. Opening remarks from Grain Farmers of Ontario 9:30 a.m. Shawn Hackett, President at Hackett Financial Advisors, the Agricultural Price Forecasting Specialists 10:30 a.m. Break, Sponsored by Syngenta 11 a.m. Marshall Sewell, Founder of Mind Your Melon, Sponsored by Farm Credit Canada Noon Lunch, Sponsored by Syngenta 1:30 p.m. Amanda Lang, Acclaimed Business Journalist, Host, Taking Stock 2:30 p.m. Break, Sponsored by Syngenta 3 p.m. Tareq Hadhad, Founder and CEO, Peace by Chocolate, EY Entrepreneur of The Year 4 p.m. Pre-banquet Reception, Sponsored by Bayer CropScience 6 p.m. Banquet* ($65, tickets required) featuring Adam Growe, host of Cash Cab, Sponsored by SeCan 9 p.m. Conference end * Banquet tickets can be purchased on-site at registration. Cash, cheque, or credit card accepted.

19 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER FEBRUARY 2024 TALK TODAY PROGRAM Grain Farmers of Ontario has joined with the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and Syngenta Canada again this year to sponsor the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), Ontario Division’s Talk Today program. 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 to help Ontario grain farmers struggling with mental health issues and remove any stigma still associated with talking about mental health or seeking help. The Talk Today program from the OHL and CMHA helps 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. Find out more: ontario.cmha.ca/talk-today-resources/ WINTER FARM SHOWS Grain Farmers of Ontario will be exhibiting at the following farm shows: • East Central Farm Show in Lindsay March 6-7 • London Farm Show March 6-8 • Ottawa Valley Farm Show March 12-14 Farmer-members are encouraged to stop by our booth to meet with staff and discuss any issues of concern ahead of the 2024 planting season. CEREALS CANADA NEW CROP MISSION In early December, Josh Boersen, director of District 9 (Perth) and Dana Dickerson, manager of market development and sustainability, participated in the Cereals Canada New Crop Mission to Latin America. They travelled to Bogotá, Colombia and Mexico City, Mexico and shared the 2023 Ontario wheat production and quality results with over 75 customer contacts through seminars, meetings, and company visits. South and Central America continue to be an important and growing market for Ontario wheat, with more than 60 per cent of wheat vessel exports destined for the region. During the meetings, the team received feedback on customer specifications for logistics, wheat quality and milling, and baking performance that Grain Farmers of Ontario will use to inform future market analysis and trade promotion. BEST OF CAMA Grain Farmers of Ontario was honoured to receive two Canadian Agri Marketers Alliance (CAMA) Best of CAMA Certificates of Merit at the annual Best of CAMA awards ceremony held November 2, 2023, at the Fairmont Winnipeg. The Grain Farmers of Ontario Grains on the Go trailer was honoured in the Best Exhibit category, and the Ontario Grain Farmer article, Rural Pride, written by Rose Danen, was honoured in the Best News or Feature Article category. WOMEN’S GRAIN SYMPOSIUM More than 80 women from across the grain sector gathered at the Delta Guelph Hotel and Conference Centre on November 27-28, 2023, to participate in the annual Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Women’s Grain Symposium. An agenda that explored topics like building a personal strategic plan, grain marketing, domestic violence in rural Ontario, farm transition strategies, and networking opportunities allowed participants to Discover other ways to join the GrainTALK conversation: E-News, Webinars, Podcasts, Radio, Research Days, and events. Visit www.gfo.ca/GrainTALK. continued on page 20

20 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events A Q&A with Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. As you approach the end of your three-year term as chair, what accomplishments are you most proud of? When I look back on the work of the last three years, it is remarkable to me to see how far we’ve come. Yes, I know there are miles to go yet, but to have met with the premier of Ontario and his cabinet members, the minister of agriculture, senators, the agriculture critics and MPs from every corner of the country and every party is incredible. Being a positive advocate for agriculture while also being able to answer questions and help educate or support our government advocates was a vital part of the role. Equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) are very important to me, so partnering with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to provide EDI training that helped create a more inclusive environment for people across Ontario agriculture was a definite highlight. I think, at the end of the day, I am most proud of the collective work I was able to do over the three years. I want to say that I was able to be an effective chair because of the support of an amazing, dedicated and engaged Board and the incredibly hard work of the Grain Farmers of Ontario team. No chair knows all the issues they will face ahead of time, and regardless of which issue was at the forefront at the time, I know we represented our farmers well. Being chair of this organization was a privilege. I thank everyone for their support and confidence in me. Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca FROM THE CHAIR learn new skills and grow as leaders in the Ontario grain and oilseed industry. Grain Farmers of Ontario extends our thanks to industry sponsors, including SeCan, Diageo, Corteva Agriscience, Farm Credit Canada, The Andersons, Horizon Seeds Canada, Syngenta, BASF, Greenfield Global, Bayer Crop Science, IGPC Ethanol, 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, learn from one another, and encourage more women to get involved in leadership roles within Grain Farmers of Ontario. Thank you to Grain Farmers of Ontario directors Julie Maw, District 3 (Lambton) and Angela Zilke, District 7 (Oxford, Waterloo) and delegates Ann Vermeersch, District 5 (Elgin, Norfolk), Julia Kimber, District 7 (Oxford, Waterloo), and Lauren Benoit, District 8 (Huron), for participating on a panel discussion about their leadership in their respective districts. STAFF NEWS In December 2023, Grain Farmers of Ontario said goodbye to Tom Farfaras, the organization’s chief financial officer. Prior to the creation of Grain Farmers of Ontario, Farfaras served as business manager of the Ontario Wheat Producers’ Marketing Board. Farfaras was instrumental in the financial merger of the three legacy organizations and managing the wind down of the Ontario Wheat Marketing Program in 2021, which led to the creation of the Grain Farmers of Ontario Legacy Fund. We wish Tom all the best in his future endeavours. GRAINTALK WEBINAR Do you have questions about DON testing? Grain Farmers of Ontario’s webinar, How to improve consistency of DON testing results, is available to view at www.gfo.ca/GrainTALK. PRIVACY POLICY Grain Farmers of Ontario is committed to responsibly collecting, using, and disclosing information in compliance with the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. When you voluntarily provide us with any information, we will NOT rent, sell, or otherwise disseminate your information to ANY third party. MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION CHANGES Farmer-members and industry associates who have changes to their mailing address or wish to cancel their subscription to the Ontario Grain Farmer magazine can contact Phaedra McIntosh, Grain Farmers of Ontario fee collection and reporting specialist, at pmcintosh@gfo.ca or 519-767-4130. MARKET COMMENTARY By Philip Shaw Grain markets have swooned into the new year as we are still waiting for our post-harvest rally. The nearby March 2024 corn and soybean contract has been ratcheting lower over the last three months. It reflects the big supply we are seeing based on last year’s U.S. harvest of 15.234 billion bushels of corn and 4.13 billion bushels of soybeans. “Final” numbers were released on January 12, and markets will surely be trading those and South American weather into the end of January. In Ontario, a mild winter into January helped finish the corn harvest in parts of eastern Ontario. It was a very good harvest in Ontario, and basis levels reflect the large supplies available. The Canadian dollar continues to flutter near the 75-cent U.S. level, adding stimulus to Ontario grain prices.• continued from page 19