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!

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