Tuesday, May 17
The open weather and dry conditions last week allowed producers to plant the majority of corn acres and get a start on soybean acres, until a warm rain hit on Thursday May 12th , followed by cold wet weather through the weekend. Most areas saw at least 2” of rain. There was frost as well as some snow on the weekend, and another heavy frost on the morning of this meeting. Some stopped planting for the weekend, particularly on heavy ground that remains wet. Towards the end of this week planters should be rolling again, finishing the last of the corn acres and continuing with soybeans. Overall it is expected that we will have around 2.5 million acres of corn and 3.2 million (or somewhat lower) of soybeans; there have been a few acres where plans have shifted from corn to soybean because of the price, but not to a great extent. Wheat acres are up from years past, sitting around 1 million acres, and there is no expected change in the number of acres planted to dry edible beans.
Producers with livestock are among those with acres of corn waiting to be planted. Many have been busy applying manure. Producers are more concerned about the obvious compaction they are causing with large manure tankers. More are looking at drag hose application method because of this.
Around the meeting table, people are generally pleased with how conditions have been for planting and feel we are in a good place for this time of year. Others are more cautious, commenting that the cold weather is causing things to “move backwards”. There are also some concerns that vertical tillage has been happening under soil conditions that are too wet, and if producers have a real “feel” for what is right for soil moisture with this equipment. The weather and crops are progressing in such a way that in the coming weeks we will be trying to spray corn, soybeans and wheat as well as looking to take the first cut of hay. As ever, we will all be busy over the next few weeks!
Agricorp: To date there have been very few damage reports; it has been a quiet spring so far. Cases of frost damage on corn have been reported. Most corn is not emerged far enough for there to be widespread damage from recent frosts. It was noted that the reseeding rate for corn is $120/ac and for soybeans is $85/ac. It is best when decisions to reseed are made quickly and the crop replanted as soon as possible. There have been some damage reports for winter wheat and a low amount of acres reseeded to spring cereals, primarily because of heavy rains a few weeks back.
Acres of planted crops can be reported online; check the Agricorp website and please report acreage by this method.
Corn: Approximately 95% or more of corn acres have been planted. There are still some waiting for heavier ground to dry out. Those that have checked germination say everything looks good underground, even though most corn is not yet emerged. Plants that have spiked may have been nipped by frost, but otherwise there are no emergence issues or crusting yet to report.
The recent rains have been good in terms of activating pre-emergence herbicides for corn and soybeans, and there is still a window for soil applied products with slow emergence of the corn.
Soybeans: Regional reports on soybean planting range from less than 5% complete to over 50% complete; overall it sounds like we are at about the 30% mark. The rain and cold slowed some planting down. Conditions for soybean planting were discussed in last week’s Exeter Breakfast Meeting Minutes as well. Cold rains while soybeans are taking up water in the first 12-48 hours may negatively impact seedling emergence and vigor. However, we should not have this problem moving forward and if soil conditions are fit for planting you should be putting soybeans in. Planting early and planting into moisture are important for achieving yield potential. With upcoming warm temperatures, quick soybean emergence is expected.
Cereals: Spring cereals have all emerged nicely, and look quite good in the areas surrounding Mt Forest.
As mentioned before, some acres of winter wheat were ripped up because of damage from ponding, but this is a minor occurrence in 2016 and happened primarily on later planted wheat. With the range of planting dates there are still a range of wheat growth stages. Most winter wheat is still at growth stage 32 or 33 with some showing the tip of the flag leaf, particularly the earlier planted fields.
The second applications of nitrogen are being finished up this week for producers that decided to stick with the split application plan. Some producers are still looking to apply fungicide for stalk strength now; this is ideally applied at growth stage 30-31. The next fungicide application will be at flag leaf. Many have missed the ideal window for applying herbicides to protect yield. Winter annuals are too advanced to control now, and some spring germinating weeds are also getting beyond label leaf stages for effective control. Herbicides should not be applied if the flag leaf is visible. There is evidence of some scorch from herbicides applied at low water volumes, but it appears to be mostly cosmetic. It was noted that fields with a fall burn down appear cleaner than those without. The wheat in some places is very colourful and under multiple stresses where producers have not left fields alone, applying herbicides, then fungicides, followed by nitrogen, and all during cold weather. Diagnosing symptoms is a real challenge. Many fields likely have sulphur deficiency and some deficient in manganese; tissue tests are still pending. Where high rates of nitrogen were applied without sulphur, and because cold weather reduces sulphur uptake, the yellow colour of the sulphur deficiency is very evident.
There were comments that septoria and powdery mildew present but in low levels.
Around the table a few offered advice that producers will want to ensure they have a place to sell their wheat. Some will only be taking wheat that is on contract.
Forages: There were questions as to whether alfalfa planted last year will be susceptible to damage from frost at this time. Because the alfalfa overwintered well, damage should not be a concern except where saturated ground caused heaving following earlier spring frosts and causing the taproots to break. Some heaving has been occurring but it is not a major concern. Overall alfalfa looks good and major stand losses have not been reported. Although there is not as much growth as we would like to see because of cool weather, some producers are hoping to take the first cut as early as next week.
Some producers have harvested fall planted rye for forage, and had achieved a couple feet of top growth. They will now spray it off and plant corn.
Canola: Nearly all canola is in the ground, except for some in the New Liskeard area. Most has already emerged and is looking good, with the hopes that Tuesday and Wednesday morning’s frosts were not an issue. Acres of canola in Ontario are about 20% higher than last year. Producers increased acreage with the good planting conditions and strong price. Most of the additional acres are in the canola growing regions in the southern half of Ontario, where the risk of swede midge has historically been lower.
Weeds: Fleabane, both Canada and annual types, are present in high numbers. Not all is confirmed as glyphosate resistant, but producers are treating it as if it is. Glyphosate and Group 2 resistant Canada fleabane has now been confirmed in Bruce and Grey counties.