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New crops, new learning curve

Include corn and soybeans the right way, and reap the rewards

There are more corn and soybean varieties designed for Prairie growing conditions than ever before. That’s good news for growers looking to diversify, but it’s important to make sure they’re incorporated in the right way to maximize benefits and yields.

Corn and soybeans are easily included in most crop rotations, providing the opportunity to expand the rotation to help manage weeds, insects, and disease, as well as other agronomic and economic benefits. Corn is a very profitable option for growers in Western Canada, and is a high-energy food source for livestock. Soybeans can provide an opportunity to include a pulse, while increasing nitrogen in the soil, and decreasing the nitrogen needed in subsequent years.

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Farmers new to corn and soybeans should be aware of any new equipment that may be required, where crops can be delivered, and what their herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide options are to ensure each remain effective in controlling weeds, disease, and insects.

Farmers need to be aware of what’s in their fields and understand their rotation. Corn should not be planted after canola to prevent nutrient deficiencies. If soybeans are planted after canola, growers can use management strategies such as adding a tank-mix partner with their glyphosate to control volunteer canola.

Manage weeds appropriately for optimum yields. Focus should be on proper glyphosate use. Consider alternative products or tank-mixes with different modes of action for pre- and post-harvest burndown. The use of multiple modes of action with activity on the same weed can help reduce development of resistant weeds and aid in control of volunteer crops.

With proper crop rotation and crop management, yields will remain high, volunteer crops will be under control and risk of resistance development will remain low.

Producers looking to include these new crops in their rotation should start with an appropriately sized acreage and speak to someone familiar with the crops to learn what is needed to be successful.

Glenda Clezy is an agronomy trials manager at DuPont Pioneer Canada.

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