Protect Your Investment – It is a Big One!

Now that harvest has come and gone for another year, and your grain is in the bin sitting patiently to be delivered, we need not forget about how valuable our bins are now more than ever. Maybe your bins are not as full as they have been before, but they are considerably more valuable than they have ever been.

Sample your Bins

With grain bins seemingly increasing in size, we must keep in mind monitoring these large assets is essential to keeping the quality of grain going in and coming out is consistent. Taking a uniform, representative sample is the first step to knowing how your grain bins may store over winter. One of the best ways to store this sample is to treat it the same way the bins will be treated. Storing the sealed pail/bag in the bin door, or right at the bin is usually the more representative. Storing samples in a warm shop can affect how the sample will test throughout the year.

Bin Monitoring

There are plenty of options nowadays to electronically or manually monitor storage on the farm. OPI cables are an option for many farmers to use in order to affordably and conveniently monitor grain temperature and moisture in grain bins. Make sure they get used!

Monitoring your bins can be as simple as a quick drive by on a frosty or snowy morning to see if the frost is staying on the roof of the bin. If not, it might be time to get the ladder out and do a visual and smell test.

Preparing for Longer Storage

If you’ve positioned yourself to have grain sitting in air bins, you have the option to cool the grain to better prepare it for storage deeper into the summer months. Allowing your fans to run on cool dry days with temperatures dropping to -15 degrees and lower will help freeze dry your grain. In situations when your grain is cool like this, it can give you piece of mind to storing it when the ambient temperatures start to increase in the spring and summer months.

If you do not have the option of having air bins, there are still good options to help keep your mind at ease when trying to store long term. The practice of flipping grain through the winter is an effective way to avoid grain spoiling in your bins. Pulling a load or two out and turning the bin over can allow bins to aerate and move warm spots around, decreasing the temperature in the center of the bin.

For further information please contact the Synergy AG rep in your area!

With Christmas just around the corner, we wanted to remind everyone to enjoy their families and stay safe through the holiday season. With times seemingly getting busier, it is essential to take time for yourselves and your families to rest, recuperate and recover from the stresses throughout the year.  

Trick or Treat Your Seed

October is here, and as we’re out buying treats for the trick or treaters, it’s also time we start thinking about treats for our seeds. Seed treatment, that is. Fall to Winter is the optimal time to treat seed, as crops are being sold and the bins are emptying out, and it saves us time in the race that is Spring. At SynergyAG, we are home to world-class seed treatment facilities, where we can treat anything from cabbage to corn and everything in between with a variety of different seed treatments.

So Why Treat Your Seed?

Your seed is at 100% yield potential up until it is put into the ground. Once seeded, it is exposed to many stressors that reduce seed survivability, seedling vigor, and plant health. These stressors are environmental, insects, pathogens, and overall lack of starter nutrients. It is the role of seed treatment to protect the seed from these stressors. 

Seed treatments that are available here at SynergyAG come in three main forms: Protectants (Insecticides and fungicides), Biologicals, and Nutrients. 

Protectants

Seed is treated with Insecticides – neonic, and non-neonicotinoids – to protect the seed and seedlings from insects such as wireworms, cutworms, and flea beetles. Typically, these products are systemic. This means that the insect must consume a small portion of the seed/plant for the insecticide to enter their body, move through the Central Nervous System, and kill them: preventing further damage.

The other main form of protectants is Fungicides. These are used to protect the seed and future plant from soil-borne and seed-borne pathogens. These pathogens can impact the germination or infect the seed post-germination. 

Biologicals

Biologicals are applied to the seed to help the plants grow in drought, cold, heat, and other non-ideal conditions, and helps the plants grow even better in ideal situations. These biologicals deliver microorganisms and other natural compounds that help ward off soil-borne pathogens and help with nutrient uptake. 

Nutrients

Finally, nutrients that are vital for seed germination and seedling survivability are applied to the seed for optimal uptake. Seed-applied nutrients help to feed the seedling until they can access and utilize nutrients in and outside of its row. Common seed-applied nutrients are copper, molybdenum, zinc, and calcium. Each nutrient plays its own role in seedling development and germination.

Germination is essential to plant stand, plant health, and overall crop yield. Treating your seed allows for the plant to get off to a vigorous start by minimizing exposure to stressors.

At SynergyAG, we are here to provide an even, and hassle-free seed treatment that is tailored to your needs.  Contact your SynergyAG representative to discuss what seed treatment options are best for you. Don’t get tricked by what the soil throws at your crop. Treat your seed to help maximize your yield potential!

Plant Re-Growth?

Is your field still looking green after the combine has rolled through?

With the lack of moisture experienced this past year, some combines have fired up earlier then usual, as the lifecycle of plants may have been cut short. A combination of an earlier harvest with late season rains has also led to more plants, both crop and weeds regrowing after they have been swathed and combined.

Have you ever thought about how many nutrients are used when it comes to plant regrowth?

Any actively growing plants in a field are busy taking up soil water and nutrients as they build leaf and root tissue. Although small, young juvenile plants have a high concentration of certain nutrients like Nitrogen and Potassium and can assimilate a large amount in a short period of time. In fact, many crops like Canola and Wheat take up nearly 90% of their total Nitrogen within the first 6-8 weeks of growth.

While it may be tempting to assume that these nutrients will be available for next years crops there are many factors that affect mineralization rates including plant material growth stage, Carbon to Nitrogen ratio, incorporation, temperature, moisture, and many more. The other consideration is the uniformity of regrowth, is it on every acre or patchy? How much N should I apply across the field?

As with many decisions a grower must make, the 2022 fertility plan is full of uncertainty and tough decisions. The widespread reduction in yields caused by prolonged drought, hail, and unrelenting heat this year leave enough question marks as to what to apply in the spring, with the rapid and widespread regrowth only adding to this complication. While there is no crystal ball to know what to apply, soil testing coupled with the experience and knowledge of your Synergy AG team can help you with your decisions for the upcoming year. For further information please contact the Synergy AG rep in your area!

Fall Herbicide Application

From the cab of your combine, it is the perfect time to start thinking about next year’s crop. Fall herbicide applications can be a reliable way to help keep fields clean of those winter annual and perennial weeds that will be tough to control the following spring. 

When determining to do a fall herbicide application, consider the history of the field and plan for the following growing season. 

Scouting

When you’re out harvesting this fall, take a good look at the field for small, germinated weeds. Asses the species, health, and size of the weeds present, making sure they are actively growing and have enough leaf surface to actively take the product in. Questions you may want to consider: What were some of the troublesome weeds throughout the season? Are any of those weed species perennial or winter annuals? 

Winter Annuals

Fall germinating winter annuals are controlled effectively in the fall because the plants are small and susceptible to the herbicide. These weeds will continue to grow through the fall frosts and will resume growth in the early spring. Some examples of tough to control winter annuals include Narrow Leafed Hawksbeard, Prickly Lettuce, and Night Flowering Catchfly. 

 Perennials

In the fall, perennials are sending reserves down to the roots to overwinter and will carry the herbicide to the roots. For optimal control, it is important to ensure there is enough regrowth after being cut at harvest for the herbicide to hit its target. Some common examples of tough to control perennial weeds are Dandelions, Canada Thistle, Horsetail (commonly found around sloughs), and Foxtail Barley. 

Spray Conditions

Optimal weather conditions are preferred for an effective fall herbicide application. Ideally warm fall days, temperatures greater than +10 are when the plants are actively growing. Frost and continuous low temperatures will send the weeds into shut down. Making it best to wait a few days after cold temperatures, assess the health of the weeds, and apply an application only after the weeds start growing again. 

Tank Mixing

Tank mixing is another essential consideration when it comes to fall burn-off. Tank mixing allows for herbicide rotation, especially in instances where there is a presence of resistant weed biotypes that limit herbicide group options in-crop. Although a heavy rate of glyphosate may be a straightforward and cost-effective solution, it is important to incorporate a tank mix partner to get multiple modes of action, ensure effective control and mitigate the chance of resistance. Keep in mind any re-cropping restrictions. Heat LQ, Express and 2,4-D are common tank-mix partners to consider. 

A fall weed control application can reduce the spring workload, get your crop off to a weed-free start, and allow you to get into the field earlier. Contact your local Synergy AG agronomist if you need assistance identifying weed species or creating an optimal fall burn-off plan. 

Fertilizer Decisions Following a Year of Drought

When my son was younger, he was so obsessed with anything ‘Lion King’ it was annoying. While I’m busy trying to develop mathematical algorithms to solve the world’s greatest agricultural problems, my son, pretending to be Simba is dragging me off my desk to run around the house with him singing Hakuna Matata! He is a bit older now and we don’t get to play that game anymore, but I wish we could, especially in a year like this. Scouting dry and thirsty crops while my walking boots leave a cloud of dust above the severely parched land, I need someone to remind me – Hakuna Matata (no worries), next year will be better.

It has indeed been a difficult year for agriculture in the Prairies because of the extreme drought conditions during the growing season. With the low precipitation and poor yields, many farmers are asking about what their soil nutrient levels will look like next year, and how they should approach fertilizer decisions.

What happens to soil nutrients during a drought?

Dry conditions decrease downward movement of nutrients and reduce nutrient uptake by drought-stressed plants, so there might be residual nutrients left over for the next season. But for mobile nutrients like nitrogen, whether or not significant amounts of these nutrients are available in spring will depend on how much precipitation is received after harvest. Heavy precipitation can leach nutrients out of crop rooting depths.

Furthermore, dry and hot conditions inhibit soil microbial activity, so the organisms that convert organic matter to plant-available nutrients are impeded, leading to a lower nutrient turnover than would otherwise be expected during a wetter year. In addition, biological nitrogen fixation by legumes can decrease during a drought resulting in a reduction in the usual soil nitrogen credit for the next crop.

Management activities can also affect soil nutrients for the next year. For example, during a drought, crops originally planted for grain may be harvested for forage instead, thereby removing more nutrients from the field.

What should you do?

The importance of soil testing can hardly be overemphasized, especially in a year like this. Soil testing is the best way to analyze a drought’s impact on your field and determine what your fertilization decisions should be next season. Soil sampling may be done in the fall when soil temperature drops below 10° C, or in the Spring before seeding.  A knowledgeable agronomist can help you interpret your soil test results and take appropriate action. Your SynergyAG team will be happy to discuss your soil testing needs. We’ve got your back. Hakuna Matata!

-Ikenna Mbakwe, PhD, PAg
Head of Research
SynergyAG

Desiccation

When considering your options for a pre-harvest application there are several tools available. These include swathing, systemic herbicides and contact herbicides. These can be a great harvest management tools to clean up dirty/ weedy fields, accelerating harvest and ensure seed for the following spring.

Systemic Herbicides (Glyphosate)

A pre-harvest Glyphosate application is typically used for controlling the late flush of weeds before they set seed and contribute to the fields seed bed. Where allowed, Glyphosate can be used alone, or tank mixed with Heat to desiccate crops. This application should only be applied once the grain moisture is less than 30% in the least ripe part of the field. Applying Glyphosate too early can contribute to MRL’s (maximum residue limits), which creates marketing risks. Compared to Diquats quick dry down period, Glyphosate can take 10-14 days for the crop to mature. 

Contact Herbicides (Diquat)

The use of Reglone and other diquat products can provide quick dry down and effective harvest management. The active, Diquat shuts the plant down quickly and stops the plant from maturing. For most crops, spraying Diquat can typically have you harvesting within in 4-7 days. However, unfavourable weather conditions such as cool temperatures and rainfall may delay that timeframe. To improve the effectiveness of Reglone and other diquat products apply at high water volumes and on cloudy days/ at darkness. Crop staging is very important, as applying prematurely can result in increased risk of locking in immature seeds.

Desiccation Staging

Peas:

You want to ensure the field has turned to a yellow brown colour and there are minimal green patches. On the bottom third of the plant the pods should be dry and translucent, seeds are detached and rattle. The middle third of the pea plant the seeds are yellow, full sized, firm, and seeds split when. The top third the peas are still fleshy but starting to turn from green to yellow.

(photo: Syngenta Canada)

Lentils:

The lentil field should have an overall colour change of tan, brown. The bottom third of the plant the seeds should be dry and rattle. Middle third the seeds should be mature, yellow and can be split. The top third can be green but with some colour change starting.

Canola:

With applying pre-harvest desiccating you want to see at least 70-80% seed colour change. The bottom third of the plant needs to be completely black/ brown. The middle third must be brown, with some speckling. The top third can be green but must be firm when rolled. When scouting the field it is important to step in and open the pods, as pods may appear green but seeds will be dark.

(Photo: Keep It Clean.ca)

Wheat:

The easiest way to determine if a wheat crop is ready for a pre-harvest application is the thumbnail test. Put a reasonable amount of pressure from your thumbnail into the kernel and if it leaves a dent without splitting it is ready. This is better known as the hard dough stage and must be present throughout different areas of the field. After application, harvest is typically 7-14 days away.

It is important to check with grain buyers and KeepItClean.ca to ensure your desiccated seed will be accepted at time of marketing.  Accurate crop staging is essential when it comes to desiccation timing, to ensure herbicide isn’t being applied too early and locking in immature seeds. Please contact your local SynergyAG for any crop staging questions.

Don’t Let Grasshoppers Eat Your Yield Potential

Current and previous environmental conditions are in favour of a grasshopper outbreak. Outbreaks usually occur after two or three years of hot, dry, summers and open falls. Dry weather increases the chance of egg survival which leads to greater severity of adult feeding. Open falls allow for more time for the grasshoppers to feed and lay eggs. Lentils and cereals are the main crops you should be monitoring and assessing grasshopper population levels.

Lentils

The pods on the lentil plant are usually where grasshopper damage will occur, not so much on the foliage. It is estimated that the damage from grasshopper feeding on lentils is two percent for every one grasshopper/m2. Damage may be more severe on field edges as the hoppers move in from neighboring grassy areas, so be sure to scout far into the field to ensure control measures are taken only where necessary. Grasshoppers do the most damage to lentils during the flowering and podding stage. The threshold number is two grasshoppers/m2 during this stage.

When you are out scouting for grasshoppers, it is easiest to assess the amount of grasshoppers present by using a sweep net. Sweep in a 180 degree motion and count how many hoppers are in the net. Repeat this in multiple spots of the field to get a clear understanding of the potential damage.

Cereals

Grasshoppers are a concern in cereals as well. Damage can appear as notching and stripping of leaves. The damage on the stem is a bigger concern when the stem is chewed all the way through right below the head of a maturing or mature plant.  Scouting in cereals can be done in a similar way as in lentils. You can use a sweep net to help count the number of grasshoppers in a m2 area. Another common practice is to hold a meter stick in front of you while you walk to help you visualize how large a m2 area is and count how many hoppers jump out in front of you while you walk. Control measures should be considered when you are finding 8-12 grasshoppers in the field or 13-24 grasshoppers along the edge of the field or in the ditch.

Natural enemies are an important population control factor when it comes to grasshoppers. Some predators attack when the grasshoppers are still in the soil waiting for spring while other predators attack the nymph and adult stage. Bee flies, blister beetles, and crickets are the most common egg predators. Spiders, wasps and many birds feed on nymphs and adults.

Grasshopper forecast and monitoring maps are produced yearly to help predict the severity of the damage you should expect. In years when high grasshopper numbers are expected there are spring surveys of grasshoppers and grasshopper eggs. It is beneficial to keep an eye on these numbers so you are up to date with what is happening in your area.

If you are concerned about grasshoppers in your crops contact your local SynergyAG location!

SynergyAG Announces New Retail Location in Grenfell, SK

Grenfell, Sask.] – SynergyAG is excited to announce a new independent retail location at Grenfell, Sk . that will help serve growers in and around the surrounding area. SynergyAG is expanding their footprint with a new retail location build starting immediately.

“We are very excited to be building this new location,” says Brad Hanmer, CEO of SynergyAG. “SynergyAG is optimistic about the future of agriculture and believes a strong independent ag-retail partner helps producers and rural communities thrive.”

This new location will help drive agronomic innovation, provide exceptional service and introduce new production technology and practices to improve farm profitability and sustainability.

“The SynergyAG team is looking forward to growing deep roots in the Grenfell area, employing local talent to service and support the needs of growers and the community,” says Dave Fuller, COO of SynergyAG.

Jeremy Kenny will manage the new location effective immediately. Jeremy has over a decade of ag-retail experience and SynergyAG is proud to welcome Jeremy to the team. He will be able to fully service customers confidently with the seamless support of the SynergyAG network, innovation manufacturers and distribution partners.

“SynergyAG strongly feels that having locally owned, independent retails is vital for the entire value chain in our industry.  We are very honored to bring back independent retail to the Grenfell area.” says Jeremy Kenny, Grenfell Location Manager.

SynergyAG focuses on the promotion, stewardship and retailing of seed genetics, crop protection, crop nutrition and agronomy services within their eight locations across Western Canada.

“This announcement furthers our commitment to not only the area but increases the presence of independent crop retail and local ownership in Western Canada”, says Hanmer.

For more information on working with SynergyAG, customers can visit their website https://synergy.ag or reach out to one of the contacts below.

For more information contact:

Jeremy Kenny, Location Manager, SynergyAG Grenfell, 306-451-7898, jeremy.kenny@synergy.ag

Dave Fuller, Chief Operating Officer, SynergyAG, 306-725-8240. dave.fuller@synergy.ag

Brad Hanmer, President/CEO, SynergyAG, 306-725-7544, brad.hanmer@synergy.ag

Flea Beetles: A Common Enemy of Canola

If you are a grower of canola, you’ve most likely come across a flea beetle. Flea beetles are one of the most common pests of canola. In order to grow a successful crop, it is important to have a basic understanding of flea beetles and the management strategies needed to control these pests.

Flea Beetle Damage

Flea beetle damage from feeding may affect crop development depending on feeding intensity, crop stage, and part of the plant that has been damaged. Adult flea beetles may feed on the cotyledons, leaves, stems, and seed pods of canola, mustard and rapeseed. During the larval stages, flea beetles may feed on roots. Heavy populations of flea beetles have potential to cause extensive damage and delay maturity, causing a reduction in yield and seed quality. Yield losses around ten percent are common in areas with infestations.

Economic Threshold

The economic threshold in canola is when average leaf damage reaches 25%, if flea beetles are still present and feeding. At this point, a foliar applied insecticide is recommended. If beetles are present, it’s important to scout your newly emerging canola plants for damage daily as feeding can advance from 25% to 50% damage in less than a single day, especially in warm and calm weather conditions.

Source: Canola Council of Canada

Identification & Life Cycle

There are three known species that attack canola in Western Canada. These species include crucifer, striped, and hop flea beetles. Of these, the crucifer flea beetle is the most destructive and widespread. Adult flea beetles appear twice in one growing season.

Flea beetles have a single generation per year, overwintering as adults within debris. These overwintering adults begin feeding on canola seedlings when they emerge in spring. Offspring appear in the fall and feed on leaves, stems and seed pods.


Scouting

Scouting in early spring (May to June) is imperative to catching a flea beetle infestation as overwintering adults emerge to feed. Monitor entire fields, more frequently in warm/dry conditions. Examine cotyledons and leaves of 10 plants in five different locations within a field. Inspect for small, round holes (shot holes) in cotyledons and seedling leaves.


Preventative Measures

A few simple, good management practices can go a long way in the spring to help prevent, or at the very least reduce flea beetle damage to the crop. A good crop rotation helps promote a good, healthy crop establishment. With a good stand established there will be more plants to spread the impact of flea beetle feeding. Seeding depth is another fairly simple way to give your canola crop the best chance for success. Take the time and set your drill for optimal depth. Fast, even emergence gives the tiny canola plants the best chance to compensate for flea beetle feeding and grow through the most susceptible early cotyledon stages. Finally, canola seed treatments have been a proven method to help reduce flea beetle damage. Standard treatments such as Prosper Evergol and Helix Vibrance will provide some protection against flea beetles. For extended protection there are other treatment options including Fortenza Advanced and the very well-known Lumiderm.

It’s important to monitor your plants in the early spring as flea beetles can do a lot of damage to the emerging crop. Feeding can happen on cotyledons, leaves, stems, and seed pods of canola. Preventive measures can be taken to reduce flea beetle damage including crop rotation, seeding depth, and the careful consideration of canola seed treatments. For further information please contact the SynergyAG rep in your area!

Phosphates & Soil

Phosphates, how certain types of soils can make it UNAVAILABLE to your crop

Phosphates can be your most expensive nutrient per pound most years and this year is no exception.  It is well documented and known that in a lot of cases in Saskatchewan, what you are spending your money on may not be available to this years, or subsequent years, crops?

Many factors affect the breakdown and availability of phosphates.  Here are some:

  • Soil texture. Soils high in clay content fix/absorb more phosphorus than those with less clay.
  • Soil temperature. Low soil temperature will reduce P availability by slowing the movement of phosphorus from the soil to the root and reducing mineralization of organic matter to plant available inorganic phosphorus.
  • pH of the soil. Phosphates work best in soil pH’s of 6.0-7.5.  Such a precise requirement represents a real challenge to agriculture in Saskatchewan as most of our soils have pH well above 7.

 

  • CEC (Cation Exchange Capacity). The higher the CEC the more capacity the soil can hold cations that can tie up phosphates and make them unable for the plant to get.
  • Base Saturation %. The number of positive ions that will tie up the negatively charged phosphate element.
  • Plant root type. Plants with more fibrous roots, compared to tap roots, explore more soil volume in the 0 to 6 inch depth where phosphorus is prevalent.  Therefore, fibrous roots are better able to recover phosphorus.
  • Type of phosphate being used (Monoammonium, Diammonium, Orthophosphate, etc). Phosphates need to break down into other forms of phosphate to eventually be able for the plant to be able to “drink”.

In soils with a pH of 7.5 or higher, 60-70% of phosphate being put in the ground can be tied up by the soil and unavailable for the crop you are trying to feed.

There are products out there to help make your phosphate more available and your dollar more efficient.  New and more complex phosphate products or treatments for our existing products.

Here at SynergyAG we are working hard to learn more about these new products and companies to make sure that what is coming down the pipeline is going to be effective and profitable for our customers.  Please look up your nearest SynergyAG location and get the information you need to help you get the right products for your farming application and get the actual bang for your dollar.