23 June 2022

by Jeff Vanrobaeys

Many wheat growing geographies in Canada  have received substantial amounts of rain this spring, in addition to the challenges of preparing seed beds and planting, excessive rainfall can also fuel disease.  Given these conditions, and if they match in your area, this could be the right time to apply to wheat. (1) show that protecting the flag leaf of wheat, triticale, and oats from disease can assure 70 percent or higher of the crops yield potential. Plan to protect yields with a treatment when conditions align for the best chances to protect your crop from a likely pressure. In an anticipated high disease pressure year, consider applying a protective fungicide treatment to wheat. It is too late to make a preventative application, once disease pressure and damage is already visible within a field. Types of fungicide treatment A fungicide application  helps protect further damage to the plant and as a result can greatly impact yield. There are many types of wheat and small grain fungicides. Those fungicides that contain a strobilurin, such as azoxystrobin, (Group 11) or a triazole, such as triticonazole, (Group 3) are common choices for wheat growers. A combination of both Group 11 and Group 3 fungicides are commonly used as well. Products that contain  strobilurin should not be applied past anthesis as it can increase the DON level of grain.  is an excellent option to apply after flowering.  One of the major advantages of prothio - teb is the product is both a contact and systemic fungicide so as result the product has great curative and preventative properties. Always scout early for leaf diseases, FBN® has great fungicide options from flag leaf to flowering stage of development. Sources (1) University of Nebraska Crop Watch

14 June 2022

by Brad Roberts

The strength of Farmers Business Network® is the opportunity to share information, insight, and feedback between you and your fellow farmers. Stay Up to Date This Planting Season We are currently polling members to track Canadian progress for cereal, canola, and soy during this year’s planting season. And luckily, you’ll be able to track those results right here on this page. Locking in on the correct data is important for all of us. Week Ending June 14, 2022 Here's this week's planting progress for 206 farms over 0.66 million acres. Week Ending June 2, 2022 Here's this week's planting progress for 223 farms over 0.76 million acres. Week Ending May 26, 2022 Here's this week's planting progress for 533 farms over 2.59 million acres. Week Ending May 16, 2022 Here's this week's planting progress for 521 farms over 2.34 million acres.

13 June 2022

by Brad Roberts

The strength of Farmers Business Network® is the opportunity to share information, insight, and feedback between you and your fellow farmers. Stay Up to Date This Planting Season We are currently polling members to track U.S. progress for corn and soybeans during this year’s planting season. And luckily, you’ll be able to track those results right here on this page. Locking in on the correct data is important for all of us. Week Ending June 13, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,774 farms over 6.3 million acres. Week Ending June 7, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,346 farms over 5.8 million acres. Week Ending June 3, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,975 farms over 7.1 million acres. Week Ending May 31, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,069 farms over 5.0 million acres. Week Ending May 25, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,883 farms over 6.9 million acres. Week Ending May 20, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,114 farms over 6.3 million acres. Week Ending May 17, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 2,180 farms over 5.2 million acres. Week Ending May 11, 2022 Here's this week's planting progress for over 2,075 farms over 5.9 million acres. Week Ending May 2, 2022 Here are the results of this week's planting progress for 1,490 farms over 3.1 million acres. Week Ending April 28, 2022 Here's this week's planting progress for over 2,044 farms over 4.7 million acres. Week Ending April 22, 2022 This week we're tracking planting progress. Check out the data.

31 May 2022

by Brant Caley

You likely have some understanding of what regenerative agriculture is – but just in case you don’t – it’s defined as deploying farm practices that improve the health of your soil. Reducing tillage, planting cover crops, and reducing synthetic fertilizers are among the regenerative practices that have been credited with improving soil health. The benefits associated with regenerative agriculture are generally accepted as good but are hard to quantify.  The big question is — will these practices increase your bottom line? And if so, how? Let's unpack the different ways that regenerative agriculture can affect the profitability of your farm. Reducing tillage The pendulum has swung back and forth on reduced and no-till tillage practices. , three-fourths of FBN® members now practice no-till or minimum tillage. Reducing tillage leads to reduced soil erosion and increased carbon in your soil. Short-term ROI is easy to calculate for switching from conventional to no-till. , a disk ripper + field cultivator tillage program can cost over $35/acre. Eliminating this pass may immediately impact your bottom line. In most cases this reduction in tillage will lead to a need for an additional herbicide pass, which can typically cost $20-$25/acre, but that cost is ordinarily more than covered. Additional considerations are required (soil compaction, planter durability), but if no-till can work on your farm, the potential ROI is clear.   Planting cover crops Planting a cover crop can extend the window of soil coverage on your farm. A well established cover crop has been shown to reduce soil erosion, improve crop resilience, and lead to increased carbon in your soil. The cost of a cover crop is easy to quantify. Prior to recent spikes in input costs, farmers were found to spend anywhere to implement a cover crop program in their operation. Additionally, NRCS reported state-by-state cost-sharing programs for approved programs in some states. Contact your local NRCS office for more information about cover cropping systems in your area. "In 2020, a study of members reported corn crops following a cover crop were often more productive with yield averages around 4.5 bu/acre higher. New crop cash corn prices for fall delivery (as of early May 2022) are hovering around $7/bu; in this scenario, taking that yield boost into consideration at these prices, a farmer will see a benefit of $31.50/acre. Based on these findings, ROI potentials can range from $10/acre-$35/acre per year. Many soybean producers have indicated similar trends equating to positive ROI as well; is currently studying these trends." Improve crop nutrient efficiencies  So improved yield resilience almost covers the cost of planting cover crops, but a bit more is needed to flip “green” the ROI analysis. Fortunately, planting cover crops and reducing tillage can improve nutrient retention, ultimately,  reducing the demand of synthetic fertilizers  By improving organic matter and unlocking the nutrients already in your soil and keeping them in place, it's possible to reduce the application of  nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium after adopting no-till and cover crops.   Each farm is different; the right factors need to be taken into consideration  and test strips should be performed before farm-wide implementation of cover crops and other regenerative practices. In the right scenarios, fertilizer demand can be greatly reduced through incorporating systems that limit nutrient leaching, utilize cover crops that can fixate nitrogen, and improve the overall soil health which may increase the storage capacity of nutrients within the soil.  It's possible to start reducing your P and K in year-three of implementing regenerative agriculture.  Reductions depend on your soil and practices, but improved soil health can contribute to 15 pounds per acre of P in year-three and 20 pounds per acre in year-five. A reduction of 10 pounds per acre of K can be achieved by year-three with some long-term scenarios benefiting producers up to 30 pounds per acre.   Reducing nitrogen is a bit more complicated. Implementing reduced tillage and cover crops can reduce the need for nitrogen over time, especially if a nitrogen fixing cover crop is used, but the significant reductions, up to 40 pounds per acre in year-five, will more likely come from precision management and application of nitrogen in addition to regenerative practices. Applying nitrogen using the “ ” (right source, right rate, right time, and right place) can lead to immediate reductions in nitrogen.   Reducing fertilizers can provide noticeable returns on investments but are typically spread over multiple years.  Patience and continued evaluations of an operation can yield significant savings over time.  Summary In summary, regenerative agriculture can have a positive ROI impact immediately.  The range of ROI depends on your operation, equipment, and soil but has the potential to significantly impact your bottom line.  The key to successfully adopting regenerative agriculture is to adopt these practices without a reduction in yield.  to help you have a smooth transition.   What’s your experience generating an ROI with various regenerative agriculture practices? Let us know in the Community Forum. NOTE: Recent, current and future volatilization in markets and costs may impact above scenarios and ROI potential on your operation.

04 May 2022

by Rejeana Gvillo

With planting progress for the US lagging the average for a handful of crops, lots of questions about prevent plant and the risk around those totals are surfacing. Already the world is facing supply uncertainty, and the threat of losing additional ground for corn production specifically heightens concerns. To answer whether we should be concerned about prevent plant now, we looked at historical levels of planting progress and the relationship to prevent plant totals, then zoomed in on North Dakota (ND) as risks there are mounting.   Digging into the data We gathered data from two key sources to answer the question: is it too early to be concerned about prevent plant?   Weekly Crop Progress reports - these are issued by USDA on Mondays (as of the prior Sunday) during the key weeks of the growing season for the US - usually April-October or so, depending on the year. FSA crop acreage data - these data sets are released monthly, usually from August - January.  The data included progressive totals of prevent plant, failed, planted, and volunteer acres with the final report usually released in January. Crop progress to date vs history - Focus on US corn As of April 24, the US corn crop was 7% planted versus the average of 15%.  Going back to 1980 and looking at the same week across time, here are some stats. Bolded years are record-yielding years, green years represent record-production years. So, at the national level, the current planting pace to date is not worrisome. We have had several years of progress that have run behind this year’s to date pace that ended up being records (2009, 2013, 2014).  Historical vs April 24 US corn planting progress stats Back to 1980 Minimum progress 2% (1984, 1983) Maximum progress 50% (2010) Median progress 9% (including 2011, 2015) Average progress 11%  (2007) Years below 7% 14 (including 2008, , 2013, , 2018, 2019) Years above 7% 24 Years at 7% 5 (1981, 1995, 1997, 2020, 2022) Does North Dakota pose risks? At a national level this year’s corn planting pace to date does not seem too threatening. But we decided to specifically zoom in on North Dakota. We did that for a couple of reasons. First, ND has led the US in prevent plant acres of major crops in five of the last 15 years making it highly prone to planting challenges.  And this year’s planting season has not started out well as record cold temperatures for this time of year, combined with several big snow events, have kept farmers on the sidelines. While this time of year is generally not the height of planting in ND, the weather in April along with the forecast through the first week in May suggest ND could face an uphill challenge getting the corn crop in the ground over the next 30 days. Precip concerns Over the 2nd half of April, corn growing regions in North Dakota got nearly 4 inches of moisture from several feet of snow fall. That is the highest two-week total for this time of year with the next highest being 1986 at 3 inches and 0.8 inches on average. Unfortunately for producers, there is ample moisture in the near-term forecast as well which stretches into the first week of May as of this writing.  Temp concerns On top of all the moisture, temperatures have been record low for this time of year. The average daytime high for the 2nd half of April is projected to be a brisk 41 degrees, a full 17 degrees below average at this time of the season. The most recent year that was close was 2013, when the last half of April temperatures were 44 degrees. That was a year when North Dakota had significant corn prevent plant, with 13% of the state’s corn acreage not planted. Here again, weather models are forecasting continued cold to persist into the first week of May.  We still have time Still focusing on ND, we looked at the day of the year (DOY) that ND historically has 10% of the crop planted, 20% planted, 30% etc. We then tested those interpolated values with prevent plant totals for each year.  The DOY we need to keep an eye on is around 145 or May 25. If the state has 60% or less of intended corn in the ground by then, the risk of having prevent plant acres increases significantly.  Essentially, in the coming 28 days, ND corn planting progress needs to be at that threshold or more to alleviate concerns about not getting the whole corn crop in the ground. What it means for the farmer The world is already on edge about price risk in the grain and oilseed complex. US farmers surprised the market in March with lower than expected corn intentions for the coming growing season. Any hint of further cuts in acreage due to Mother Nature’s fickle ways could add more fuel to the price outlook. While still time to see a change in weather to have beneficial impacts in planting pace, it will require a significant warm and dry trend in the Upper Midwest to give farmers a shot ahead of the late May deadline. 

13 Apr 2022

by Jason Riddle

Since the beginning of what we consider today to be agriculture, which was around 10,000 years ago, farmers have had to compete with harmful organisms to insure food security – insects and pests.  As with abiotic causes of crop losses including the lack or excess of water in the growing season, extreme temperatures, high or low irradiance and nutrient supply – biotic stressors have the potential to reduce crop production substantially. Pest insects can have adverse and damaging impacts on agricultural production and market access, the natural environment, and our lifestyle. Crop plants are attacked by many pests that affect plant survival, growth, and reproduction and as a result influence crop yield. The magnitude and frequency as well as the net effect of such interactive outcomes on crop plants are not well understood (1). This is why it is so important to speak with your agronomist about potential issues for the upcoming season and work out what crop protection inputs you may need. Insects are responsible for two major kinds of damage to growing crops. First is direct injury done to the plant by the feeding insect, which eats leaves or burrows in stems, fruit, or roots. There are hundreds of pest species of this type, both in larvae and adults, among orthopterans, homopterans, heteropterans, coleopterans, lepidopterans, and dipterans. The second type is indirect damage in which the insect itself does little or no harm but transmits a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection into a crop. Examples include the viral diseases of sugar beets and potatoes, carried from plant to plant by aphids (2). Without preventive protection with chemicals, natural enemies, host plant resistance, and other non chemical controls, 70% of crops could have been lost to pests. Weeds produced the highest incidence or loss (30%), with animal pests, pathogens, and plant diseases being less important (losses of 23 and 17%). The efficacy of control of pathogens, plant disease management, and animal pests only reaches 32 and 39%, respectively, compared to almost 74% for weed control. Taking into consideration all of the above, a well developed and nimble crop protection plan is essential ensuring growers get their highest possible yields. Benefits of insecticide application Here are some of the benefits of insecticide application: increased yields of crops because of protection from defoliation and diseases; prevention of much spoilage of stored foods; and  prevention of certain diseases, which conserves health and has saved the lives of millions of people and domestic animals.  Pests destroy an estimated 37% of the potential yield of plant crops in North America. Some of this damage can be reduced by the use of insecticides (4).   Let’s break this down further. Insecticides can increase yields, improve production & income They are a simple and effective way of controlling pest populations that would otherwise lead to the damage of crops. Without insecticides, large portions of cultivated crops would be lost, leading to a loss of income for the farmers, and also a waste of the resources that were used to grow the crops. With insecticides, it is possible to have higher yields and Insecticides improve the quality of crops Consumers expect pest-free fruits and vegetables and insecticides play a direct role in ensuring the crop quality isn't hampered by insects. Controlling insects also controls some plant diseases that are spread by insects which can lead to quality deterioration. Insecticides can provide quick pest control Insecticides make it possible to control pests quickly. Even when there is a high population of damaging pests, in most cases insecticides can be used to reduce the pests within hours. Insecticides can provide protection against multiple pest species Some insecticides provide broad-spectrum protection and some can be used in combination with another which makes it possible to control many pest species at the same time. Insecticides are constantly developed to provide protection against new pest species As pests evolve, chemical insecticides are formulated to provide protection sooner than other alternative methods of pest control (5). While the insects and pests are sadly inevitable there are plenty of options available to growers to ensure their yields are safe. Another factor to consider is planning ahead to ensure that you have access to all crop protection products you need and are not being caught short. The last two years have shown us that the best chemical is the one that is one on your farm and when it comes to insects and pests it is extremely important to plan as far ahead as possible to secure your products for the year. It is imperative to stay abreast with any pest and insect trends that are emerging during the season to remain proactive and on the front foot in the battle for the best possible yields.  Learn more To view FBN’s full range of crop protection products please visit the link below: Sources 1. Gagic, V., Riggi, L., Ekbom, B., Malsher, G., Rusch, A., & Bommarco, R. (2016). Interactive effects of pests increase seed yield. , (7), 2149-2157. doi: 10.1002/ece3.2003 2. Insect - Damage to growing crops. (2022). Retrieved 1 April 2022, from 3. Yield Losses Due to Pests - AGRIVI. (2022). Retrieved 1 April 2022, from 4. Insecticides - Benefits Of Insecticide Use. (2022). Retrieved 1 April 2022, from,the%20lives%20of%20millions%20of 5. UPL - Corporate News. (2022). Retrieved 1 April 2022, from

12 Apr 2022

by Simon Uphill

First of all, what is AgTech? Agriculture technology is the use of technology in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture with the aim of improving yield, efficiency and profitability for farm managers and growers.  Today’s farms and agricultural operations are vastly different than those a few decades ago, primarily because of advancements in technology, including devices, sensors, machines and information technology. Contemporary ag entities routinely use sophisticated technologies such as aerial images, temperature and moisture sensors, robots and GPS technology. These devices have allowed many businesses in the ag industry to become more profitable, efficient, safer and environmentally friendly. AgTech can take many forms and can also include any of the below:  Drones  IoT-based sensor networks Phase tracking  Weather forecasts  Automated irrigation  Light and heat control  Biotech  Software for disease prediction and soil management Farmers have been quite slow in adopting this technology for the past decade, primarily because of operational traditions and ambivalence to invest dollars into innovations that are unfamiliar and for some who believe there is little to no return on their investment. With this in mind, there has been a shift in this mindset over the last few years as the workforce in farming begins to move into millennials, predicting that millennials will drive 75% of the technological change in the farming industry. This is hugely important as precision ag is reported by , to reach $43.4 billion by 2025. Why ‘smart’ farming is created by AgTech? What most people still don’t realise is that ‘smart’ farming is very different from the traditional concept of farming. Many see the image of the farmer as someone carrying a pitchfork and riding a tractor, however the new generation of farmers can run their farms from an app on their phone while flying a drone and utilising a wide range of sensors and machine - learning capabilities. Today’s agriculture industry is no longer constrained only to large fields of crops, with the help of AgTech we can now grow food indoors in a number of urban environments. Rethinking modern agriculture will be imperative to innovating against global food shortages and ensuring survival. It is clear to see that most current forms of agriculture pose existential threats to the food system, with the way we produce food exacerbating climate change, which in turn threatens our food supply. This circular problem requires a fundamental shift to the way we farm and produce food of all types. Overall technology disruptions in emerging markets have a fit and purpose but none more so than the agriculture industry. The focus of AgTech disruption is not on consumer convenience or entertainment, but on something far more important - the collective survival of mankind. As the world grows and as we face more and more natural disasters brought on by climate change, we as a population are going to have to adopt more efficient practices to produce enough food for a global population. Learn more To find out more about our data platform and how it can help you make better on farm decisions, please visit . Sources

09 Mar 2022

by German Mandrini

The Economic Optimum N Rate (EONR) is the N rate that can help maximize profit potential for a given field. Many methods promise farmers that they would predict the EONR of their fields with higher accuracy and, consequently, increase their profits. Some are simple, require few inputs, and provide recommendations that do not change for particular years or fields and instead are designed to work well on average across a wide range of growing conditions. Among these is the (MRTN), the current recommendation system promoted in the US Midwest, based on decades of real-world trials conducted by several universities in the area. Some other methods are complex and usually require specific inputs at the field level or sometimes for different soils inside the field. Every year, they provide a particular N recommendation, varying according to the soil and crop conditions. A fundamental assumption of these recommendation methods is that an improved prediction accuracy – will save N inputs when possible, improving economic and environmental outcomes. Are those complex tools better? So far, studies have shown that complex methodologies struggle to increase farmers' profits, which explains why adoption remains low. A covering 49 sites and three years of trials help explain the reasons. In that study, they compared many N recommendations tools available nowadays, including tools that require site-specific soil information  (e.g., PPNT, PSNT) or complex simulations programs (e.g., Maize-N) and simpler tools that provide a stable recommendation for a broad region (e.g., MRTN). Among 31 tools, the MRTN was the tool that best maximized profitability. Additionally, they also measured the environmental outcome of the tools, shown by how much N is lost from the soil-crop system, and complex tools did not provide consistently better results in that aspect either.  compared MRTN with a complex tool that used machine learning, soil sampling, weather, and crop information to improve the accuracy of the predictions. They found that the complex tool slightly increased the accuracy of the recommendation, but that did not translate into higher profits. The reason is that predicting EONR is challenging since it depends on the balance between what the crop needs and what the soil will provide, and both are unknown at the time of making a decision. The EONR is highly variable across fields, and it changes every year even in the same field. In that context, complex methods can not achieve an accuracy high enough to meet their promise of increasing profits and many times recommend N rates that are far from what the real EONR need was. Simpler methods, with static N recommendations that work well in most situations, escape that problem, and never recommend N rates far from the target, as it happens with the complex tools. From an environmental point of view, they concluded MRTN used at the low end of their recommended N range achieves similar N losses than the complex tool. So, how does MRTN work? Experts from the universities' extension service divided the area into regions with similar soil and crop growing conditions. They conducted trials with several N rates in those regions for multiple years. In each of those trials, we can obtain what is known as the profits response curve to N, which shows what the profits for increasing N rates are. Then they averaged all the profits curves for multiple trials and finally selected the N rate that maximizes the return to N -that's where the name comes from. Every year, new trials are conducted, and the MRTN calculation is updated to keep it current with new hybrids and any change in weather patterns that affect the response.  The MRTN is an improvement over old methodologies known as yield-based approaches -i.e., the 1.2 lb. N per bushel of expected yield. Those methods were developed in the 1970s and suggested that higher yield potentials require higher N rates. Over time, researchers understood that in the US Midwest, the EONR was not very much related to yield at the EONR rate, meaning that high-yielding corn needs more N but not necessarily more Nitrogen fertilizer. Part of the reason is that conditions that lead to higher yields, like higher rain and temperature, also lead to higher mineralization which increases the N provided by the soil and reduces the need for fertilizer. Seeing this lack of relationship, researchers decided to move in a different direction, and that's how they created the MRTN, which is based on the N rate that maximized profits in a region instead of focusing on yield.  In summary, the MRTN is a methodology based on real data that has proved to maximize profits, even when compared with tools that use advanced technology to provide site-specific recommendations. The MRTN is also an improvement over yield-based methods that tend to recommend higher N rates than actually needed, reducing profits for farmers. *Mineralization: The release of nitrogen from soil organic matter in a form that plants can use.

11 Feb 2022

by Darryl Paulhus

Being a transplanted Canadian, I have been living and working in Australia for the past 16 years, mostly in the agriculture field. I am originally from a small farm in central northern Saskatchewan. Pulse crops played a large part in rotations, mainly field peas starting in the mid-80’s. With 1980’s technology this was a struggle due to lodging, disease and the short growing season. An Australian Canadian perspective on pulse crops My area had approximately 93 frost free days. This makes for a very compact growing season. So harvesting pulse crops was very challenging and they soon lost favour amongst growers and Canola started to become the main crop other than wheat and barley. Canada has gone on to become the world's largest exporter of Canola.  Field peas made a resurgence in the mid-90’s as better varieties became available that resisted lodging and disease. Most of the field peas were/are grown in the northern and Eastern Saskatchewan grain belt that has poorer soils than central Saskatchewan but has better rainfall. Central Saskatchewan was always the hotbed of pulse growing, especially lentils, chickpeas and dry beans. Most of this lentil production is exported to India and Turkey. Chickpeas and dry beans’ main market is the USA. Central and southern Saskatchewan were ideal to grow lentils and chickpeas and durum wheat as they have quite hot summers with lower rainfall in most of central Saskatchewan which has an average rainfall of 200mm per year. Southern Saskatchewan this total is even lower at 120 to 150mm per year. Snow does help this somewhat but with 300mm snow equalling 25mm rain it is not the answer to their moisture needs (dry beans include black, navy, faba, pinto). Lupins are a very new crop in western Canada with trials just starting in 2019/2020 to see the agronomic benefit of this crop into the western Canadian feed market. They have a ways to go to prove any benefits over the traditional barley or corn rations. Eastern Canada, mainly Ontario, grows lots of corn and soybeans as their climate is better adapted to these crops than western Canada. Wheat is also a large crop in Ontario along with dry bean pulse production. Ontario has not been as affected by the extreme dry conditions experienced in western Canada in 2021. We’ll focus on western Canada as that is the area that has the most relevance to what we grow in Australia.  The 2021 crop in western Canada was one of the worst on record with many of my mates recording the lowest yields they have ever seen since the 1930’s. Yields were in the 100 to 200kg per ha over large areas. Fortunately, they have a well established crop insurance program that has helped them remain viable. Normally, these kinds of drought conditions come in two or three year lengths, the last one being in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Their outlook for the 2022 growing season looks to be dry as many paddocks were harvested extremely low to the ground which has made any capture of moisture extremely limited. The confidence of a good season in 2022 among all the people I talk to in Sask. and Alberta is not optimistic of a good year. Below average year is their expectations.  They have the lowest carryover of crop in near history. This bodes very well for us here in Australia as we are all aware that the grain markets price the Australian crop after the North American harvest is underway. Even with the expected increase in pulse crop seeding hectares in Australia due to high fertiliser prices, the pricing should stay very firm in 2022. As always many factors play into this scenario. In pulse crops, plant stand is very important as most pulse crops do not compete well with weeds. Seeding rate plays a huge part in this; a typical seeding rate for lentils in Saskatchewan Is 85 kg/ha. Farmers that I have worked with in Australia have upped their lentil seeding rate to 65/70 kg/ha with very good plant stand numbers and increased yields over the lower seeding rates they were using previously. Most pulses we grow in Australia fit into a similar scenario. It can be very advantageous to try different seeding rates on your farm to see if a different seeding rate can pay benefits in your farming system. In pulse crops, inoculant plays a huge part in the growing of these crops as pulse crops once established can provide not only their own nitrogen but can also provide extra nitrogen to the following crops. Inoculation is the process whereby bacteria are coated onto the seed; this bacteria then infects the roots to create the symbiotic relationship with roots to allow nitrogen from the air to be absorbed by the plant to not only be used for growth but also to supply an excess that is left in the soil for the following crop.  All pulse crops should be inoculated with the correct strain of bacteria to help the plant produce this excess nitrogen and maximise the benefits of the pulse crop. Most soil contains small amounts of the correct strain of bacteria for nitrogen production but inoculation ensures that there will be enough to infect the roots. This is why these crops have become instrumental in our modern farming system rotations. Learn more To find out more about our range of products available to help your farming operation, please visit

09 Dec 2021

by Anthony Stibbard

The recent announcement by the Bureau of Meteorology that a La Niña weather pattern has developed in the tropical Pacific is likely to be short lived in meteorological terms but persisting into late summer or early autumn. This weather pattern will result in above average rainfall across northern and eastern Australia during summer. Higher chances of rainfall events, coupled with global chemical supply shortages, which have resulted in price increases means growers need to plan ahead to maximise their chemical applications this summer. Using quality water when spraying is important to get the most out of your chemical and in turn getting better results on the ground.  Summer fallow spraying in Australia comes with its challenges as is. Adverse conditions, wind and other elements all affect the quality of results. Water quality can also drastically affect the efficacy of certain herbicides. Water testing is important to understand the key elements (pH, Hardness, Turbidity and Salinity) which may be resulting in a reduction in efficacy.   Water pH Water pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of your water and is measured on a scale of 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline). Bore water in Australia tends to be alkaline and this can result in issues when being used in a spray solution. Certain herbicides, when added to alkaline water can dissociate in solution resulting in less active ingredient being available in the spray solution, and in turn reducing the effectiveness of your application. It is advisable to understand the pH of your water and then if required a buffering agent such as Tebuf 700 can be added to water to reduce the pH. Buffering agents work by reducing the pH to a certain point but will not continue acidifying your solution if more is added. Other straight acid products will continue to acidify your solution the more you add.  Water Hardness Bore water in Australia often has a high content of Magnesium, Calcium and bicarbonates. These cations and bicarbonates present in the water can bind to certain active ingredients in solutions, which reduces the effectiveness of your spray. Glyphosate and 2,4-D Amine are 2 commonly used herbicides which will have reduced effectiveness if used in water with a high concentration of cations or bicarbonates. Ammonium sulphate can be used to reduce the hardness of water and improve the effectiveness of your spray solution. The standard rate for spray grade AMS is 800g/100L but it is strongly advised to get a water test done, to assess the overall hardness in order to adjust the rate as required.  Turbid Water Dirty water can also affect the quality of your spray solution. Certain products such as Paraquat binds tightly to clay molecules in the solution and will reduce the overall effectiveness of your spray application. Spraying with dam water is usually not advised but is required in some instances. Choosing the right products to use with dirty water is important and the addition of additives such as Alum can also be used to purify your water.   Salinity Salt in solution is very common in bore water around Australia. High saline levels can also result in some herbicides dropping out of solution, a reduction in spray effectiveness. Diluting the saline water with rainwater can help to reduce the salinity. A test to understand the overall salinity in your water is important to determine suitability for spraying.  Water testing is strongly advised in order to get the most out of your herbicides and improve the quality of your summer fallow sprays. If you are looking for more information on where to access water tests get in contact with your local Department of Agriculture representative. Water test strips are also available for purchase, these test strips can be used in the field and give a good indication of pH and hardness.  To find out more about products available to help your summer fallow spraying, please visit Resource