Production Practices

At Snyder’s Sweet Corn, we grow only NON-GMO SWEET CORN VARIETIES that have been Snyder Family approved!
We are committed to growing all of our crops using environmentally sustainable farming practices
that help us to be good stewards of the land we’ve been blessed to farm.
We believe that we do not own the land, but merely borrow it from future generations.
Using this approach we try to continuously improve the land, leaving it in better condition for those to come.

 

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Integrated pest management

We use Integrated Pest Management to manage pest pressure in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner. Just like children, crops need a stress free environment to thrive. Minimizing crop stress from pests, allows the corn plants to produce cobs that are of the highest quality and nutritional value, for our family and yours.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is an approach to pest control that considers all management options to maintain pests below an economic injury level. Tools for the management of pests include cultural, physical, biological, behavioural and chemical. With IPM, adverse effects of pesticides are minimized and economic returns are maintained.

IPM programs make extensive use of information collected in the cropping system and require careful management by the grower. To implement an IPM program you must understand:
-pest identification, biology and behaviour
-beneficial organisms
-monitoring techniques
-use and timing of appropriate management tools
-record keeping
-resistance management strategies
-weed management
-spray calibration

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COMPOSTABLE MULCH FILM

In an effort to reduce our environmental footprint at Snyder’s Sweet Corn, we are pleased to now grow our early corn under COMPOSTABLE plastic mulch film. Bio360 100% biodegradable and compostable mulch film made from Mater-Bi, perfectly environmentally friendly material, a genetically unmodified starch/vegetable oil resin. Mater-Bi products have been approved by the Biodegradable Products Institute and you can learn more about their environmental accomplishments at MATER-BI

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CONTROLLED TRAFFIC FARMING

Controlled traffic farming (CTF) is a management tool which is used to reduce the damage to soils caused by heavy or repeated agricultural machinery passes on the land. This damage and its negative consequences have been well documented and include increased fuel use, poor seedbeds, reduced crop yields and poor soil function in terms of water infiltration, drainage and greenhouse gas mitigation.

Controlled traffic farming is a system which confines all machinery loads to the least possible area of permanent traffic lanes. Current farming systems allow machines to run at random over the land, compacting around 75% of the area within one season and at least the whole area by the second season. Soils don’t recover quickly, taking as much as a few years. Our CTF system on the other hand, reduces tracking by close to 50% and this is always in the same place. This is made possible by using GPS with sub-inch accuracy.

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MINIMUM TILLAGE

Minimum tillage is a soil conservation system like Strip-till and shallow tillage with the goal of minimum soil manipulation necessary for a successful crop production. It is a tillage method that does not turn the soil over. Less soil disturbance promotes a healthier environment for soil life.

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SUBSURFACE IRRIGATION

Subsurface drip irrigation is an established irrigation technology that delivers water and nutrients directly to the plant root zone, minimizing waste and improving crop performance. Over the next 5 years, we will be implementing this technology over our sweet corn land base.

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GRASSED WATERWAYS

Grassed waterways are broad, shallow and typically saucer-shaped channels designed to move surface water across farmland without causing soil erosion. The vegetative cover in the waterway slows the water flow and protects the channel surface from the eroding forces of runoff water.

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NUTRIENT MANAGEMENT

Snyder’s Sweet Corn has been able to decrease our amount of applied nitrogen by 33% in 2018, while still producing high quality and nutritious sweet corn. This was accomplished by combining three management strategies.

    *Banding nitrogen close to the corn row where roots can access it most easily for more efficient uptake.

    *Utilizing legume cover crops to convert atmospheric nitrogen (N₂) to plant available nitrogen (NO₃).

    *In-season soil testing to validate that adequate nitrogen remains available to the plants, instead of over applying to ensure adequate supply.

Reducing nitrogen application to the crop is part of our initiative to increase environmental responsibility, without sacrificing quality.

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BIRD CONTROL

Each fall, Canada Geese offer our soil ‘free nutrients’ as they forage through the remains of our sweet corn crop! This is a most welcome gift, however come spring, they return with their young families to enjoy life along the banks of the Grand River. To their delight, and our dread, our little shoots of sweet corn make for a yummy snack! In very short order, they will mow down several acres of corn plants which means less corn to harvest for your enjoyment!

In 2019 we ‘hired’ Tika, our sons dog, to guard the banks from their intrusion. While this was semi-successful, it did nothing for our other in season challenge of swarms of blackbirds who wreak havoc on the crop by pecking a few kernels from the tips of each cob causing it to turn brown and become less presentable for consumption! Their damage makes sorting a tedious task and can cause acres of loss and waste.

We were very excited during the winter of 2020 to come across a new tool using laser technology to harmlessly repel birds. To the human eye, we see a tiny dot moving along the ground in a preprogrammed pattern. A ‘birds eye’ view was captured on a rainy morning. Rain or shine, the bird sees the complete beam which encourages them to seek a less disruptive dinner table elsewhere!!

We love implementing new technologies on our farm that allow us to live harmoniously with nature!

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