The Canadian soybean industry has grown more than 450% since 1980, with continued growth expected into the next decade. The growth breakthrough came in the late 1970s when new varieties were developed tailored to Canada’s shorter growing season. While the bulk of soybean production remains in Ontario, breeding programs have allowed the crop to move out of southern Ontario to other areas of the province, along with Quebec, Manitoba and PEI. Today Canada is one of the top ten suppliers of soy products globally.
Different thinking needed to manage resistant weeds
For soybean growers, giant ragweed, common ragweed and giant fleabane are weeds that can cause real problems in their crop. Those weeds have become more difficult to control due to the spread of glyphosate resistance. Research from Ridgetown College shows that crop management is critical to limiting resistance and ensuring crop protection products remain effective. Rotating chemistries is an important way to keep resistance at bay and to make sure weeds are effectively controlled into the future.
Scouting is key to managing disease
Field scouting is crucial in identifying disease, but often once the disease can be seen it’s too late to effectively treat the crop. An early warning system is being developed by the University of Guelph to help soybean growers better manage disease. Seed treatments can keep away opportunistic seed-borne diseases such as fusarium root rot, rhizoctonia, pythium, phytopthora, white mould and phomopsis. Leaf diseases such as bacterial blight, leaf spot, downy mildew, powdery mildew, mosaic viruses and soybean rust can be controlled with a foliar fungicide.
Attacking insects from the ground up
Aphids are the most damaging insects for soybean growers, despite the fact that they only became an issue in Canada in 2001. Aphid damage on soybeans can ultimately result in smaller pods and a reduction in seed quality. Seed treatments provide early season control but often a foliar insecticide application is needed mid-season in years that aphid pressure is high. Seed treatments on soybeans also manage seed-borne insects such as seedcorn maggots, white grubs and borers.