Category: SWAC

Corn School: How much corn residue should you remove?

Do your corn fields yield less than 170 bu/ac? If so, you have to be careful when removing corn residue from those fields because you could be depleting the field’s soil organic matter. That was the message USDA research agronomist Shannon Osbourne shared with those attending the recent Southwest Agricultural Conference at the University of… Read more »

Mapping profitability — a better prescription for your bottom line and the environment

Precision agriculture provides clear evidence of the impact of yield variability. But often farmers find themselves mired in a swamp of data as they work to create management zones and prescriptions to maximize yield across a field. University of Guelph’s Clarence Swanton certainly sees the opportunity for farmers to intensify management and increase yield but… Read more »

Soybean School: Investment needed to fend off nematodes

Soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is the leading cause of yield loss for the oilseed crop across North America. And unless a new source of resistance is found to fend off the pest, growers can expect to see SCN gobble up an increasing percentage of their yield in the years ahead. That was the message delivered… Read more »

Corn School: Understanding 30 years of rising yields

Ontario will set a new corn yield record in 2017 with the crop expected to hit an average of 180 bu/ac or better. Where is all that yield coming from? Corn physiologist Dr. Thijs Tollenaar has poured over the data and identified three key factors driving corn yield improvement. A long-time University of Guelph professor… Read more »

Looking back at 25 years of SWAC

The Southwest Agricultural Conference (SWAC) will mark its 25th anniversary on January 3rd, when the two-day conference unofficially kicks off Ontario’s winter farm meeting season. Over the past quarter century, SWAC, hosted by the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus, has become one of the leading farm conferences in North America. How did it start? How… Read more »

Chocolate Bars and Bran Cereal for Your Soil Bugs

There’s a concerning trend in Ontario’s soils: organic matter is being depleted. The decrease may seem small — about 0.8% over 12 years — but organic matter is vital to soil’s water holding capacity, nutrient-cycling ability, and compaction resiliency, to name just a few roles. What’s more, replacing lost soil organic matter is a slow,… Read more »

Spend Your Fertilizer Dollars Wisely

As crop yields and nutrient removal rates continue to increase, many growers wonder whether it’s time to top up fertilizer rates. At the core of the discussion in Ontario is whether critical soil test values for corn and soybeans are still valid and whether they pack the nutrient punch needed to allow new hybrids and… Read more »

If You Give a Seed An Aspirin…

Clarence Swanton has worked for 16 years on a super cool project that takes about 40 minutes to explain properly, as he did at the recent Southwest Agricultural Conference. Perhaps more impactful, however, is the time-lapse video he showed whereby the mere presence of weedy surroundings actually killed a tobacco seedling. Perhaps this makes sense —… Read more »

Corn School: Taking a Bite Out of Western Bean Cutworm

Western bean cutworm took a big bite out of many Ontario cornfields in 2016 as high populations of the pest caused increased levels of fusarium and gibberella ear rot. With the pest expected to overwinter and be a threat again in 2017, many growers are asking whether they need to spray and when. Real Agriculture… Read more »

Seven Corn Management Ideas for 2017

Put two great corn minds together and you come up with seven corn management concepts to help you boost yields in 2017. University of Guelph professor Dr. David Hooker and Maizex agronomist Greg Stewart shared the results of their brainstorm with growers attending the recent Southwest Agricultural Conference, held at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown… Read more »

Soybean School: Crop Input Lessons from Iowa Farmers

What impact do fungicides, plant population, and row spacing have on your soybean yields? The Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) has been working with growers in the state for years to help assess the impact of crop inputs and management options. In this episode of Soybean School, ISA researcher Tristan Mueller joins Real Agriculture’s Bernard Tobin… Read more »

Wheat Pete’s Word, Jan 11: Feeding Soil Bugs, Broadcast vs. Banded Fert, & Keeping it Complicated

As the winter learning season rolls forward, the agronomy questions are flooding in, and Peter Johnson, host of Wheat Pete’s Word, wouldn’t have it any other way. In this week’s episode, Johnson tackles some very complicated — but super important — ins and outs of nitrogen management. Confused about which crops leave a credit and why… Read more »

Wheat School: Understanding Those Higher Yields in Your Fields

Every wheat farmer has watched with glee as the number on their yield monitor jumps 20 to 50 bushels as the combine travels through the field. In this episode of Real Agriculture Wheat School, agronomist Phil Needham of Needham AG Technologies offers advice on how farmers can drill down through yield maps and soil tests… Read more »

Corn School: Who are the Most Profitable Corn Growers?

Who are the most profitable corn growers? The answer to this question is really quite simple, says Ken Ferrie, one of North America’s leading agronomists and crop consultants. The most profitable corn growers are those who most effectively manage the big three crop production variables: sunlight, water, and nutrients. An independent agronomist, the Illinois-based Ferrie… Read more »

4 Questions: Two Farmers Share Their Answers on Cover Crops

Ontario’s farmers are relatively familiar with using red clover on wheat to fix nitrogen and keep the soil covered into the fall, but cover crop use has quickly surpassed a one-species on one-crop approach. Lyndsey Smith, Ontario field editor for RealAgriculture, sat down with two farmers to ask them 4 Questions on cover crops: what’s… Read more »