2018 Agronomic Resolutions

Posted in: Agronomy and Soil Health


We’ve just turned the calendar on another year. We hope 2017 was good to you, and your farming operation.

But what if we told you 2018 could be even better?

The team at Taurus would like to share Ten Agronomic Resolutions you can make for the New Year. (We’ve included links to past blogs so you can dig deeper).

Resolution 1: Implement/ expand a soil testing program.

Gaining detailed information about what’s happening in your soil is the first step in a sound agronomic strategy. Knowing nutrient levels, pH, particle size, saturation of cation elements can all inform crop input and application decisions.

If you’re not currently soil sampling, make this the year. Start by collecting samples in under-producing cropland to learn what’s going on so you can fix it.

If you do have a soil sampling program in place, maybe this is the time to expand it to more acres, or to focus on micronutrients or other factors that impact growth (see Resolution 3).

Resolution 2: Harness the power of symbiotic microbes.

Many consider the living soil to be the next frontier in crop production. Progressive growers are successfully harnessing symbiotic microorganisms such as Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF). AMF colonize the roots of most agricultural plants, greatly enhancing their ability to access water and nutrients in the soil (in particular, Phosphorus). Meanwhile, soybean and pulse growers are discovering how AMF and Rhizobium bacteria work hand-in-hand to improve nitrogen fixation through a process called tripartite association.

Resolution 3: Test soil for beneficial microbes.

There is now an innovative new Soil Health Test that can be done. Available exclusively through A&L Canada Laboratories, this test provides an accurate measurement of beneficial and neutral microbial populations in the soil. This allows you to evaluate soil health, and determine if the soil (and plants) would benefit from the addition of a biological inoculant or changes in your fertility plan.

Resolution 4: Learn how to help the crop following canola in your rotation.

For a long time we’ve observed that the crop planted after canola tends to face growth challenges and produce below average yields. As it turns out, this is due to a defense mechanism canola and other brassicas have to fight against soilborne disease. These plants produce a chemical called glucosinolates (GSLs). These GSLs indiscriminately attack all bacteria, including the helpful arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF). Growers who replenish the AMF population with an inoculant following canola will give the incoming crop a leg up and reduce the negative impact of the GSLs.

Resolution 5: Consider molecular-level technologies that aid plant growth.

A great deal of work is being done in the field of “Plant Enhancement Technology”. Scientists are going beyond the field and looking behind the microscope to find new ways to stimulate plant growth at the molecular level. One example involves improving a plant’s resistance to stresses through a process called “transcription”, which prevents the plant from initiating shutdown mechanisms that can damage or destroy the crop.

Canadian researchers, are at the forefront of this movement and are translating their discoveries into a line of made-in-Canada products designed to aid development at key plant stages.

Resolution 6: Improve pollination and fertility.

A pollination aid can provide nutrients (such as boron), polyamines and organic acids known to promote pollen development, anther dehiscence, pollen hydration, fertilization, and production of fruit, pods and seeds. Here are seven ways a pollination support complex can benefit a crop.

Resolution 7: Include tissue testing in your analytics program.

Tissue testing programs take place over various intervals of crop development. In a previous blog post, we compared it to a report card that serves as a yardstick to measure crop health by analyzing nutrient levels. Tissue testing can help you identify nutrient deficiencies before you reach the point of no return. For most crops, tissue sampling programs commence late May/ early June.

Resolution 8: Become an even better environmental steward.

Sustainability is about doing things in the safest, most efficient, environmentally responsible way possible. In farming, one way to achieve this is to ensure the nutrients you are putting into the soil are optimally utilized.

One easy win is to minimize the amount of applied nitrogen lost to the atmosphere through volatilization or denitrification. In some instances, up to 50% of applied nitrogen can dissolve in the atmosphere in the form of ammonia gas. Choosing the right NBPT fertilizer can reduce loss by up to 95%. New NBPT technologies have been developed specifically to handle better in Canada’s cool early-season climate.

Another option is to explore new “green” fertilizers developed to minimize the impact of phosphorus-based fertilizers on water bodies.

Resolution 9: Stay on top of new agronomic news and developments.

Farming today is definitely not the same as it was 20 years ago. The growers who are embracing advanced agronomic strategies and practices are pushing yield potential to new limits, and finding ways to better manage an increasing number of acres and new specialty crops.

One easy way to stay informed is to become a Taurus Insider. You’ll be notified whenever we post new blogs or have new developments to share.

(If you missed any of our past blogs over the hectic growing season, this is a great time of year to catch up.)

Resolution 10: Commit yourself to Advancing Every Acre™.

The Taurus approach to agronomy is rooted in the concept of Advancing Every Acre™. As growers take on more acres, even incremental improvements can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Watch this video to learn more about our approach, and the four pillars of our business.

On behalf of the entire team at Taurus, we wish you a happy and productive 2018!

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