Evaluating weed stress management tools for corn

News releases – originally printed in Agricultural Adaptation Council, October 05, 2010

October 5, 2010- Too many weeds too early in the season can be stressful on corn, causing yield loss that can’t be recovered. Research now underway at the University of Guelph is hoping to identify tools to help farmers regain potential yields in affected corn crops.

This project is designed to help identify options for recovering some or even all of the yield potential in corn that is affected by early weed stress. It is important for growers to have tools to be able to produce healthy, high yielding crops.

In field trials being conducted at the University’s research station in Elora this year and in 2011, researchers will create a stressful environment for corn plants by allowing weeds to grow uncontrolled until either the fourth or eight leaf tip stage of corn growth. At that point, the weeds will be sprayed and removed and the corn plants that are left behind will be treated with a variety of possible recovery tools, including nutrients, fungicide products and plant hormone-based products, in order to evaluate their efficacy.

Grain Farmers of Ontario received a grant of $24,200 through the Farm Innovation Program (FIP), a program aimed at boosting agricultural research, competitiveness and productivity in Ontario’s agricultural sectors, to help fund this project, which is headed by Professor Clarence Swanton.

FIP is one of the Innovation and Science Suite of programs in Ontario for Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, and is administered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) on behalf of Agriculture, Agri-Food Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“FIP is designed to support and encourage farm innovation and we are pleased to be able to provide funding for this kind of research that will help boost the productivity of Ontario’s farm sector,” says Jim Rickard, Chair of the AAC.

The AAC is a non-profit, grassroots coalition of 66 agricultural, agribusiness and rural organizations dedicated to providing financial resources to help Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food industry remain profitable, grow and maintain its economic strength.