news, features, articles and disease information for the crop industry


Alberta Farmers Learn About New Crop Options, Weed Resistance

28 February 2014

CANADA - At the recent Agronomy Update conference held in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, farmers heard presentations on crop pests, weed control, soil fertility, new crop options, grain storage and marketing, reports Mark Cutts, crop specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development.

Crop rotation:

The most common crop rotation in Alberta alternates between canola and a cereal crop. The market value for canola has made it very attractive to frequently grow this crop in rotation. As several of the presentations indicated, following a two-year rotation is not without some risk. Increased concern about pests (eg. disease, insects, weeds) is a reality with a canola – cereal rotation. For example, blackleg in canola was highlighted as occurrence of this disease has increased in recent years and is related to the frequency of canola in the rotation.

Herbicide resistance:

Wild oat is the most common herbicide resistant weed in Western Canada. To ensure current wild oat herbicide products continue to be effective, information was provided on integrated weed management. Management practices such as higher seeding rates, early removal of silage crops and using a crop rotation that includes summer annuals (wheat, canola, peas) , winter annuals (winter wheat, winter triticale, fall rye) and perennial crops (alfalfa) were discussed. Results of a four-year study indicated that these practices can be very effective for managing wild oat populations and, if followed, will help delay wild oat resistance.

Foliar fungicide use:

One of the biggest growth areas in pesticide use is foliar fungicides. The interest in foliar fungicides may be related to agronomic factors (tighter crop rotations); economic factors (higher commodity prices); and, increased marketing of foliar fungicides by pesticide companies. Presentations on foliar fungicide use stressed the importance of diagnosing the diseases present (eg. leaf disease in cereals), understanding the risk of disease development (eg. sclerotinia in canola), applying the fungicides at the proper time, and understanding the nature and key properties of the fungicide being used.

Disease diagnostics:

The development of digital technology has allowed high quality images to be collected by producers, agrologists and researchers. Once these images are collected, issues such as plant diseases can be diagnosed by other people viewing these images. The use of digital photographs may allow for quicker disease diagnosis and can aid in making proper management decisions on the farm. However, to be effective, the use of this approach requires quality photographs and relevant background information on the field in question (eg. crop rotation, herbicide history, soil characteristics, weather conditions).

Field scouting:

Presentations highlighted the importance of being in the field to evaluate growing crops. Field scouting can occur throughout the growing season. Evaluating crops at the time of emergence and determining the presence of weeds, diseases and insects as the growing season progresses is important to ensure successful crop production.

TheCropSite News Desk

Our Sponsors