Soils

swathing canola

Enhanced efficiency fertilizers had little impact on yield

In this 2-year study, there was no significant benefit of a urease inhibitor, with or without a nitrification inhibitor, on canola and wheat N removal, N uptake, nitrogen use efficiency or yield. These inhibitors also did not significantly reduce the amount of leached nitrate in…

JD wheat harvest

Enhanced efficiency fertilizers cut nitrous oxide emissions in spring wheat

Nitrification-inhibitor products – either alone or in combination with an urease inhibitor – reduced N2O emissions by 38% to 43% compared to untreated urea in spring wheat in southern Manitoba. However, there were few yield or grain protein benefits to using the EEFs products. Environment…

Red combine harvesting corn in a farm field

Starter fertilizer increased corn grain yield

Starter phosphorus (P) and zinc (Zn) fertilizer increased early-season growth, plant height, P concentration, and uptake of P and Zn in plant tissue, relative to the unfertilized control. In some cases, starter fertilizer reduced days to maturity and grain moisture content. The  largest responses were…

canola swathing

Optimizing nitrogen fertility for hybrid canola

Canola yield increased by up to 40% with increasing N rate up to 134 lbs/ac (150 kg/ha) pre-plant (i.e. close to seeding) application via broadcast or banding. There was no significant difference in yield between pre-plant only N application and a split pre-plant plus top-dress…

No till seeding

No-till improves yield and soil organic carbon in western Canada

In western Canada, no-till improved wheat yield by 7%, canola by 10%, and legumes like beans, peas and lentils by 9% compared to conventional tillage. These higher yields provide higher carbon inputs into the soil to help increase soil organic carbon and reduce greenhouse gas…

Wheat Cu and Zn fertilization plots

Copper and zinc antagonism on low phosphorus soils

When Cu and Zn fertilizers were applied to phosphorus (P) deficient soils at 4.5 lbs/ac (5 kg/ha) rate, wheat yields were reduced. Symptoms of micronutrient metal toxicity were observed at early growth stages, and included purplish-red colour and chlorotic leaves. Liebig’s Law of the Minimum…

wheat in polyhouse micronutrient

Antagonistic effect of Cu+Zn on low phosphorus soils

The combined application of Cu + Zn had a significant negative effect on wheat yield grown under phosphorus (P) deficient soil conditions on a Dark Grey Chernozem Tisdale soil. This indicates that if Cu and Zn deficiencies are going to be corrected, P fertility should…

greenhouse pots

Temperature and soil moisture impact micronutrient uptake

Wheat, pea and canola uptake of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and boron (B) was greater with optimum soil moisture and warm temperatures compared to drought and saturated soil moisture conditions or cold temperatures. Micronutrient deficiencies can occasionally occur on Prairie soils, but crop response to…

Pea cereal plots

Pea-Cereal intercrop has advantages for forage production

Benefits of a pea-cereal intercrop for forage production included nitrogen (N) fixation and transfer of fixed N from the pea to the cereal component while maintaining dry matter yields equivalent to a cereal monocrop. Intercropping pea with a cereal crop for forage production is gaining…

canola field blooming

Reduced emissions with EEF fertilizer but little agronomic benefit

At 4 of 6 site-years, SuperU reduced N2O emissions by 30% to 57% compared to conventional urea, for all placement methods. However, there was no yield or economic benefit derived from the use of the enhanced efficiency fertilizer (EEF). Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a major…

Winter wheat seedling

EEF liquid N strategies for winter wheat

Liquid UAN with an urease inhibitor in a split application optimized N use efficiency, grain protein, yield and yield stability. EEFs did not affect greenhouse gas emissions. With the development of enhanced efficiency fertilizers (EEF), winter wheat growers have the opportunity to improve nitrogen use…

faba bean in flower

Nitrogen fixation and nutrient uptake in faba bean

Average faba bean nitrogen (N) uptake was 205 pounds per acre (230 kg N/ha) and phosphorus (P) uptake was 23 lbs/ac (26 kg P/ha). Overall, faba bean fixed 88% of its nitrogen from the atmosphere. Faba bean is a high-protein pulse crop that has the…

banding winter wheat

Urea fertilizer strategies for winter wheat

On dryland sites that have low to moderate productivity, winter wheat growers should band all N at planting to ensure maximum grain yield and protein content. For irrigated winter wheat production or in dryland areas with high yield potential, a split application of fall banded…

no-till seeding

Glyphosate enables carbon sequestration

The use of glyphosate and the introduction of glyphosate-tolerant crops spurred the development of no-till farming practices and the reduction in summerfallow.  On a 2,470 acre (1000 ha) farm, the net increase in carbon sequestration due to these farming practices was equivalent to the emissions…

urea on snow

High broadcast urea volatilization losses occur on frozen soil

Cumulative NH3 loss (% applied N) from broadcast urea was highest with late-fall application at 16.4%, followed by 11.4% with winter applications and 2% with spring applications. Addition of NBPT urease inhibitor reduced losses by 65.6%. Broadcast urea is a practice that some winter wheat…

Seedling canola

Performance of phosphorus source and placement varied little

In this controlled environment chamber study, struvite and MAP had similar crop biomass yield and phosphorus (P) uptake in canola. There was no difference in canola germination between MAP and struvite, or opener spread of 1 inch or 3 inches, or fertilizer rate up to…

Blooming canola

Sulfur uptake from a co-granulated phosphate fertilizer differed across three climate zones

A lab-produced phosphate fertilizer fortified with two forms of sulfur (S) and labeled with 34S was created by the University of Adelaide to simulate MicroEssentials fertilizer and to obtain a better understand  of S recovery and uptake. Micro-plot trials were carried out at three sites,…

Mid-row band N

Nitrogen management strategies for spring wheat

Under relatively dry conditions of this study, grain yield was not influenced by rate, source or timing. Split application of N resulted in higher grain protein. The application of a PGR increased grain yield but resulted in lower grain protein. When high N rates were…

soil cores

Soil health scorecard developed for Saskatchewan

A Saskatchewan Assessment of Soil Health (SASH) scorecard was developed to help assess soil health from soil tests. The most important factors in determining soil health from soil tests were soil carbon and nitrogen factors of soil organic C, active C, total N, and soil…

210 2c

Diversified crop rotation can replace winter wheat/fallow

On the semi-arid plains, this 6-year crop rotation study found that increasing cropping intensity with spring wheat, pea or lentil could match annualized total grain yields of winter wheat-chemfallow, as long as winter wheat followed a cover crop or fallow. Winter wheat-fallow rotations are practiced…

Nitrous oxide plot measurements

EEFs did not reduce nitrous oxide emissions in winter wheat

Three enhanced efficiency nitrogen (N) fertilizers applied at seeding or in split applications between fall and spring did not reduce nitrous oxide emissions compared to conventional urea or UAN fertilizer when applied at 80% of recommended rate. A split application of 30% N at seeding…

Black medic in oat stubble

Agronomic benefits of black medic cover crops

A long-term study at Indian Head, Saskatchewan evaluated the effect of medic on grain yield, N and P of flax, wheat and oats with three different N treatments. Overall, medic had the greatest impact on crop productivity at the low N rate of 20 per…

soybean visual response to K fertilizer

Soybean largely unresponsive to K fertilizer in Manitoba

Soybeans were found to be largely unresponsive to potassium (K) fertilizer even on low K-testing soils in Manitoba.  Despite visual K deficiency symptoms mid-season, there were still no yield responses to K fertilizer at varying rates and placements.  The current soil test threshold of 100…

Canarygrass heads

Correcting chloride deficiency in annual canarygrass

At chloride-responsive sites, Cl– fertilization increased annual canarygrass yield by 70%. However, without Cl– fertilizer, the application of other macro- and micro-nutrients did not provide a yield response at these sites. Additionally, soil testing did not adequately predict Cl– fertilizer response, indicating that Cl- fertilizer…

Canarygrass seedheads

Canarygrass response to nitrogen and fungicides

A nitrogen fertilization rate of 44.5 lbs N/ac maximized canarygrass seed yield. Foliar fungicide application increased seed yield by 8.5%, and is important in areas where septoria leaf mottle is prevalent. The fungicide application did not improve the responsiveness of canarygrass to N fertilizer, so…

lentil seedrow

Seedrow starter blend recommendations for lentil and soybean

A rate of no more than 9 lbs. N + 9 lbs. P2O5/ac as a starter seed-row 28-26-0 fertilizer blend was found to be the optimum rate that maximized yield in soybean and lentil. Higher rates reduced emergence and decreased the proportion of nitrogen derived…

Bale grazing

Bale grazing on forage fields leaves short term impacts

In the first season after winter bale grazing, forage yield at the grazing site was reduced by 68% compared to control plots, but no difference in the second season. Residual nitrate-N and Olsen P in the soil were also higher at the centre of the…

root rot soybean

Soybean root rots more prevalent on saline soils

Twenty short season soybean cultivars were evaluated for root rot on saline soils. While there were differences among cultivars in tolerance to Fusarium avenaceum and Rhizoctonia solani and different salinity levels, all cultivars were still impacted to varying degrees. The objectives of the research were…

Ducks pond

Broadcast phosphorus increased snowmelt runoff losses

Applying monoammonium phosphate fertilizer using broadcast without incorporation, especially at rates above that normally recommended for a single season, is not recommended due to the increased potential for P export offsite in spring snowmelt runoff. Phosphorus from non-point sources such as snowmelt runoff is a…

foliar P plots

Seed-placed phosphate outperforms foliar applications

In this study, foliar phosphorus (P) application was unable to substitute for seed-placed P. Overall, foliar P had a marginal effect on grain yield, P uptake and seed nutritional value. Generally, little research has been conducted in western Canada to assess the potential of foliar-applied…

Spray nozzle ES

Sprayable elemental sulphur has potential

A sprayable micronized elemental sulphur fertilizer applied prior to seeding showed potential for correcting nutrient deficiencies in canola compared to application of ammonium sulphate fertilizer. However, not even ammonium sulphate resulted in a significant difference in yield due to constraints of dry or excessively wet…

riparian pond

Impact of vegetated filter strips on phosphorus surface runoff varied

Vegetative filter strips, or buffers, were effective at retaining phosphorus after a runoff event during the growing season but not in the spring or fall outside the growing season. The findings of this study suggest that vegetative filter strips are inconsistent and not likely to…

soybean vegetative

Soybeans unresponsive to starter N

Starter nitrogen (N) up to 75 lbs. N/ac broadcast and incorporated before planting a Maturity Group 00 soybean cultivar found no differences in biomass, grain protein, or oil content. There was no yield response for treatments receiving starter N fertilizer relative to the unfertilized control…

wheat stubble

Pre-seed glyphosate application had little impact on wheat rhizobacterial communities

After seven years of pre-seed glyphosate application in a wheat-wheat or wheat-pea rotation, in min-till or no-till, there were few effects on the wheat rhizobacterial communities. Due to widespread adoption of no-till management and use of glyphosate-resistant transgenic crops, glyphosate is the most widely used…

Wheat heads

In-crop N application to wheat

[Editorial Note: This 26-site research study was conducted across the Prairies 20 years ago, but results and lessons learned are still applicable today.] In-crop application of 14 lbs. N/ac of broadcast ammonium nitrate or foliar-applied UAN were generally equally effective at increasing grain protein content…

composting

Short term legacy effects of feedlot manure

Research was conducted in southern Alberta to look at the effects of long term feedlot manure application on irrigated barley yield, macronutrient supply, earthworm abundance, and water extractable carbon in a clay loam soil. Two to 3 years after manure application was stopped, barley silage…

triple shoot

Placement outside the seed row is fine for phosphate

Placing phosphate fertilizer in the seed row has its challenges because seed damage can occur at fairly low rates. Rather than short the crop with a low seed-placed rate, this study found that the full recommended rate placed outside the seed row is the better…

banding N

Band nitrogen to reduce losses, improve NUE

This one-year study supports previous recommendations that in-soil banding of nitrogen fertilizers during seeding or near to the time of seeding is a best management practice to enhance nitrogen use efficiency (NUE). Increasing farm size in western Canada has led many farmers to move back…

cultivator

Heavy tillage on moist fields increases compaction, reduces yield

Heavy tillage
 can increase soil compaction, reduce soil strength
 and reduce
 canola yields, especially when carried out under higher moisture conditions and in the spring, prior
 to planting. Excessive precipitation and limited drying weather around the time of various field operations (ex. seeding, input application…

black medic

Black medic cover crop improves soil stability

Generally, a black medic cover crop reduced the proportion of small aggregates and increased the proportion of large aggregates. Medic offers a natural way to maintain soil health in low external input cropping systems. Black medic is a self-regenerating cover crop that grows under the…

seedling canola

Foliar-applied P can help with in-season deficiency

While this Saskatchewan study did show a yield response for foliar-applied phosphorus (P) when compared to a control without any P fertilizer, the best practice is still to meet crop needs with fertilizer applications before or at the time of seeding. This study evaluated the…

wheat fertigation

Fertigation of wheat and canola

In canola, the net return with the full rate of nitrogen side-banded at seeding was always greater than the same rate split-applied as side-banded N and fertigation. In HRSW spring wheat, late-season in-crop applications of N by fertigation could be used to boost grain protein,…

faba bean nodules

Pulse crops differ in nitrogen fixation dynamics

The research suggests that improving pulse nitrogen fixation by targeting an increase in nodule numbers and nodule biomass could help improve long term cropping sustainability and reduce reliance on inorganic N fertilizer. In addition, developing pulse varieties with improved water-stress tolerance may improve the N-fixation…

Lentil close-up

Seedrow starter fertilizer for pulses

Sensitivity of pulse crops to seedrow placed nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur fertilizer products was lentil > pea ~ chickpea > soybean ~ black bean > faba bean. Overall and under good moisture conditions, a maximum of 10 kg N/ha rate as starter in the seedrow…

seedling flax

Flax response to N and P fertilizer

On sites testing low in nitrogen (N) fertility, flax yields were 39% higher with rates of 90 lbs. N side-banded per acre. Flax response to phosphorus (P) averaged 7% and rates of no more than 18 to 36 side-banded P2O5 per acre were justified. Phosphorus…

unloading wheat

Building phosphorus fertility

Over six years the highest wheat yields were achieved where a medium-high soil phosphorus (P) level (15 ppm) was achieved with an initial broadcast application of 327 pounds P2O5 per acre. On soils with very low P fertility, yields were four to five bushels lower…

P banding

4R management of phosphorus fertilizer

To achieve 4R principles, placing ammonium phosphate fertilizer in a band, in or near the seed-row, at the time of seeding and at a rate that matches P removal by the crop generally provides the greatest P efficiency, long-term sustainability, and environmental protection for small…

ww seeding

Nitrogen management strategies for winter wheat

Split applications of N usually provided the maximum yield and protein, particularly with Agrotain or SuperU. This study consisted of two experiments each conducted at five sites across western Canada at Brandon, Manitoba, Hallonquist (south of Swift Current), Saskatchewan, and Lethbridge and Lacombe, Alberta to…

soybean phospphorus plots

Phosphorus management for Saskatchewan soybeans

Seed-placed rates of up to 35 lbs. P2O5 per acre (40 kg P2O5/ha) were safe across a wide range of conditions. However, seedrow safety was hard to predict, so sideband is still the preferred method for high P application rates. When soil test P levels…

Sask Soybean N

Nitrogen management options for Saskatchewan soybeans

On land without a history of soybeans, dual inoculant provided a 24% yield benefit with an overall yield increase of 7 bu./acre (500 kg/ha). Starter N provided little yield benefit when good N-fixation was achieved. In-season N application could be used to rescue a poorly…

alfalfa bales

Higher wheat and canola yield after two years of legume forages

Wheat yield was up to 45% higher after two years of alfalfa and up to 60% higher after two years of red clover compared to barley-flax rotations. The yield advantage carried over into the second year with up to 55% higher canola yield after the…

Lentil close up

Nitrogen fixation varies between and within pulse crops

At Swift Current, Saskatchewan, faba beans fixed 60 pounds of nitrogen (N) per acre followed by field pea at almost 50 lbs., chickpea at 46 lbs., lentil at 44 lbs., and dry bean lagging behind at 8.3 lbs. But there were varietal differences within each…

mature soybean

Assessing soybean rotational benefits

Soybeans provide similar rotational benefits as pea and lentil on subsequent wheat and canola crops – but keep an eye on phosphorus fertility. Nutrient uptake, removal and rotational benefits have been frequently studied for pea and lentil in western Canada. Research at the University of…

Mature peas

Reduce nitrogen fertilizer by 25% with pulses in rotation

Maintain canola and malt barley yield and quality with 25% less nitrogen (N) fertilizer with pulses in rotation. A three year study at seven locations in western Canada looked at the impact of crop rotation and nitrogen rate on canola and malt barley yield and…

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