General Information on Crop Production

Successful crop production depends on a number of inter-related factors. Keep this in mind when making decisions on production inputs. Factors to be considered include:

  • Seed bed type and preparation
  • Seed variety and quality
  • Seed treatment
  • Seeding method and timing
  • Fertilizer application
  • Pest management, including weeds, insects and diseases
  • Harvesting method

In general, expect best results when the proper balance of inputs is tailored to the particular soil and climatic conditions involved. For example, maximum returns from good-quality seed and fertilizer are reached only when integrated with other management practices such as effective pest control measures.

For variety selection, refer to the current issue of Seed Manitoba.

Assess management practices and production costs carefully to select the optimum crop combination that will maximize profits. To assist producers in deciding which crops to grow, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development has produced Guidelines for Estimating Crop Production Costs. These brochures are published annually and estimate the production costs for several different crops. They are available from MAFRD GO Teams Offices and Centres.

Crop Rotations
Alternating broadleaf and cereal crops is generally recommended; specific cases are discussed under individual crop sections. Further information on crop rotation can be obtained from Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiative's Crop Rotation Chart.

Use of Good Seed
Always use good, preferably pedigreed, seed of a recommended variety. Pedigreed seed consistently outyields poorly cleaned seed. Thorough cleaning removes weed seeds and most diseased kernels and retains only the large kernels that produce larger, more vigorous plants.

Integrated Pest Management
Integrated pest management (IPM) involves reducing pests to tolerable levels, allowing agriculture to remain productive and profitable while minimizing health and environmental risks. The elements of an IPM program are:
  • Collect specific field information, such as rotations, fertilizer applications and previous pesticide applications
  • Identify potential pests
  • Establish and maintain a good record-keeping system
  • Identify potential pests
  • Establish monitoring/scouting procedures
  • Establish injury levels/economic thresholds
  • Apply corrective action to maintain pest populations below threshold levels
  • Establish a good record-keeping system
  • Evaluate the effects and efficacy of pest control measures

Each step of an IPM program is unique and requires input based on individual situations. Determining the incidence and distribution of major and beneficial insects in a crop is the first step in the development of an IPM strategy. To assist growers in making pest management decisions, Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development has developed a Field Scouting Guide. At the beginning of each section in the book, there is a brief discussion of proper scouting techniques for insects, weeds and diseases. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development also produces a Guide to Field Crop Protection, which contains current information on economic thresholds, pesticide resistance updates and pesticide recommendations.

IPM involves the judicious use of management tools, such as using pesticides only when numbers or damage exceed economic thresholds (ie, when yield loss is greater in value than the cost of chemical and its application). In recent years, some agricultural pests have developed resistance to herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Resistance develops as a result of repeated use of one or more pesticides with the same mode of action over a number of years. Producers should follow management practices that prevent or minimize the development of resistance. These include the rotation of both crops and pesticides. Use products with different modes of action when rotating pesticides. Crop rotation is recommended as a management tool, and specific cases are discussed under individual crop sections. Additional information on crop rotation can be obtained from the Crop Rotation Chart produced by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, as well as the Guide to Field Crop Protection.
For further information click on one of the following: plant diseases, insects and weeds.
For copies of this information or for additional resources contact a MAFRD GO Teams Office or Centre.