Group consensus is that for the most part everything is excellent, one of the best starts to a crop year in a long time. The only real large concern is the future need for rainfall as fields while in good shape currently, could turn around without some moisture shortly. This is especially true further east.
Agricorp has received next to no damage reports from this springs seeded crops. A few acres of soybeans have been reseeded following cold strong rains on the weekend around May 13th, but this is a small minority.
The vast majority is planted, but still a bit happening where corn planting will follow harvest of cereals for feed. Only areas with heavy textured or poorly drained soils were still working hard at completing corn planting, ie parts of Peel, Halton, Niagara. Reps at the meeting from a wide stretch of geography reported corn stages anywhere from just spiking to greater than 5 leaf. No real issues were identified on the corn crop.
Most corn sprayed with pre herbicides got some rainfall after herbicide application but there still are escapes happening. However, important to find “skip” areas in the field that the sprayer missed to see that these important pre programs are delivering in excess of 80% efficacy even where rainfall was low. While weed emergence was slow early on with cool soils, the heat of last week has brought things on quickly and people need to keep an eye on weed staging. Some lambsquarters are reported to be beyond the 6-8 leaf stage, and will become increasingly difficult to get speedy and thorough control as they get bigger. Sowthistle and annual grasses are also reported as being problematic at present.
Although the crop was quite yellow a week ago, the hot humid weather through the end of last week and over the weekend moved corn along quickly. Corn usually adds a leaf every 2-3 days, but late last week was adding one per day. The crop is finding moisture to date and is growing rapidly.
Producers have started side dressing where it’s their main method of nitrogen application. The labs are getting busy with N testing. Remember it’s a 12 inch composite soil sample, well mixed in the field and kept cool until it can be submitted to the lab. It was noted that people are asking for sulfur assessment in the 12inch soil sample along with nitrogen. Adding the S analysis can delay getting the results back.
There was some discussion about the level of interest in seeding cover crops into a standing crop, especially rye grass and annual rye in corn. While the interest was really high earlier, it has waned a bit with the dry weather and some fearful of putting cover crops into the mix to compete with the corn for moisture. But those who had positive experiences with it previously are still gung ho as they like the biological benefits, as well as the stability it offers for harvest and help in reducing the rutting under poorer conditions.
This is where the real concern was over lack of rainfall and fear of crop drying out. Most pre programs on IP beans have not received a rainfall to activate them. Rainfall over the weekend was extremely spotty and even where rain fell, the amounts were small. The biggest rain recorded was around Guelph at about 1inch but this was still on a limited area with much lower values within close proximity. Much of these acres will need to be carefully monitored. Rain is needed within 7-10 days of application for activation in general. Also, the amount of rain needed is in the range of ¾ inch or more. These fields will have to be monitored thoroughly the next couple of weeks to determine if additional action must be taken. With IP soybeans the timings of application to ensure good efficacy are critical and weeds can quickly grow past label recommendations leading to much reduced control. With much of the soybean crop emerging under these warmer temperatures of last week, the weeds are doing the same meaning the time crunch for critical window for control prior to onset of yield impact is tighter and we have to keep on top of it.
95% of the crop is planted and doing well. Where there was some concern about crusting and emergence problems, the heat of the past weekend brought those acres along nicely and the expected acres for replant remain low. Where some soybeans were planted into well worked ground ahead of the cold substantial rains of the May 13th weekend, and planted deep to moisture, there were some emergence problems resulting in replants.
Weed control spraying for the most part is finishing up. Stands look short with lots of tillers and very bushy plants. Those who had reported sulphur deficiency symptoms last meeting and applied product to address it report good response.
Several in the group reported findings of stripe rust, mainly in the highway 7-8 corridor. Still a minority of fields, but scattered around more widely than expected so everyone should be watching for it. Where a T1 (although these tended to be late this year, such as a T1.5-2.0) spray was applied the disease issues are not as much of a concern. Caramba fungicide can only be used once per season and like other products should offer about two weeks of control. Thus if this product was used for rust control you need to switch to a , Prosaro, Folicur or other products for your T3 timing for Fusarium head blight control. There was a bit of concern over lack of inventory of fungicide products so those wanting to spray should be sourcing product. We are past the timing when strobilurin fungicides should be used.
Discussion about the merits of spraying fungicides and how to time sprays continues. In conversation with Peter Johnson, with the increased use of higher rates of nitrogen in wheat (>90 lbs/ac) it is a given that fungicide should be used in order to capture the yield potential of the higher fertility. Low to mid 20C weather is best for wheat and disease development, so there is a lot of growth and infestation potential out there. Even without rainfall there is a lot of moisture in the canopy with early morning dew. At the meeting the emphasis was on wheat that had not been sprayed at T1 and where there is concern of keeping the flag leaf clean for yield and quality for straw. Every year there are people not taking the time to make the right nozzle selection. It is a toss-up; head protection nozzles do not give as uniform and thorough a canopy protection, but it is the upper part of the canopy we are trying to protect at this time.
Much of the wheat crop is approaching or in head and applications should be timed correctly to be effective, so scouting at this point is crucial. Later planted fields are still a bit behind so make sure all fields are checked as staging is critical. Latest planted field in the area reported to be at flag leaf unrolling stage (Z47), while earlier planted fields at heading (Z55-59).
There has been minor reporting of what is likely spindle streak mosaic virus. If symptoms are similar to stripe rust but you cannot rub off the rust like pustule, it is likely the virus . There is nothing you can do about it except to be aware of it.
There is some variability in color in wheat fields. There has been a significant amount of stress to the wheat crop with the cool and dry conditions during spraying fertilizer, herbicide and fungicide.
Cereal leaf beetle has been detected at threshold levels in traditional problem areas such as Alliston. This is a bit earlier than expected and is a warning to others to be scouting for this pest.
A bit of discussion on red clover stands with, as usual, the opinions being across the spectrum. Clover stand establishments are “hit and miss” across the region. Consensus on poor stands are that the drier conditions and thick cereal foliage are likely hurting red clover establishment but only time will tell.
It was confirmed that acreage is up by about 20% from last year’s 30,000 acres. Most planting is done in the south including Bruce and Grey counties, although the odd field is still going in. Late plantings are at a much higher risk of swede midge damage impacting yield. In the north, only Cochrane and Matheson still have some acres being planted with most of New Liskeard and Earlton areas complete.
Flea beetles are reported in some fields, surprisingly even on some virgin ground in the Bruce peninsula. It seems to be worse further north and west. However, flea beetle can also be found in earlier planted canola that has grown past the point of economic damage and the stands are looking good. Canola staging is from just planted to almost bolting. Earlier planted fields have received herbicide and nitrogen and sulphur will be top-dressed next week.
Swede midge continues to be the number one problem. All the information on control strategies has been brought together on an info sheet at fieldcropnews.com (http://fieldcropnews.com/2013/06/canola-swede-midge-update-populations-peak-with-hot-weather/). Traps have detected adults in Renfrew, Elora, parts of Grey County and in New Liskeard, but there are only reports of threshold levels in New Liskeard so far. Traps are an important part of this pest’s management. They are expensive but you need to make the investment in the right number of traps and the commitment to check them regularly or your investment is wasted. In New Liskeard, trappings are reported in both current canola fields and fields being monitored for potential planting next year. This continues to be the number one problem in canola.
Significant acreage of adzukis and whites are in. Some producers waited over the weekend hoping for some rain, and while planting is now in full swing some areas are still waiting for moisture. Beans planted into good conditions a week ago have emerged.
There continues to be the odd call for people wanting crop insurance well after the deadlines. People have to be more on top of this. Damage calls have totaled ~100 provincially to date, which is very low. Some of these came in just this week following some spotty pea sized hail in Middlesex and up through Perth over the weekend. Reporting of planted acres is at about 10%. Lots of people are all done planting and encouraged to report their acres sooner than later. Also producers are encouraged to use the online reporting system. June 30th is the reporting deadline and they always get overwhelmed with people trying to report right at the last minute.
The forage rainfall program available online has 350 weather stations out across the province. While they are on a two week delay for reporting, the trends may be of interest to some people (http://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/ProductionInsurance/ForageRainfall/Pages/RainfallData.aspx )