It was nice to catch up with everyone at the first Simcoe breakfast meeting of the season on Wednesday, April 10th. John Hussack chaired the meeting, which focused on the condition of the winter wheat crop. At John’s suggestion, learnings from winter meetings were also discussed.
The big question right now is whether to keep poor looking stands of winter wheat, and how to figure out what percent of the stand is healthy. As spring advances, it becomes more evident what fields looks acceptable. Generally speaking, later planted wheat does not look as good but soil type and drainage are likely bigger factors. Any saturated depressions in fields do not have much green growth. Fields with good drainage or that are loamier tend to look better. Some growers that intend to keep their wheat for the value of the rotation or because they need straw have already put out low rates of nitrogen, and the wheat now has good colour. There are some concerns about more rain and wet conditions in the forecast. At this time is estimated that 35-50% of winter wheat in the region that is on heavy soils may be terminated; overall about 25% of the winter wheat across the region is estimated to be in poor condition and will potentially be terminated.
There were questions about the yield potential of late October planted wheat that is just now coming up. It is difficult to make a general statement about the yield potential, and different soils may produce different results. The number of tillers on each plant is the critical question. If plants come out of the ground and there is warm weather allowing quick growth and tillering, it may be ok.
The group were reminded about details around insured winter wheat acres. If damage occurs between the time of seeding and June 30 (referred to as Stage 1) but the grower elects to harvest the crop, Agricorp may reduce the guaranteed production on the damaged acres by 50%, or by the difference between the guaranteed production and the potential production of the crop. The Average Farm Yield will also be affected by harvesting a low yielding crop.
Some manure has gone out, and some drag hose application was observed Wednesday morning. It was stated that many manure storages are now full. Ontario farm organizations are participating in a peer-to-peer response to winter spreading of manure. There were many cases of manure being applied to fields ahead of big forecasted rains over the winter months, which results in the manure quickly moving off farm. This is likely being done to reduce all the tasks that have to be done in spring, but it comes at an environmental cost. Manure can be stored temporarily in the field, and producers should consider sharing or selling manure rather than spread during winter.
About 2000 acres of winter canola were planted across the province in the fall, and a few fields were planted in the territory covered by agronomists at the Simcoe meeting. Some winter canola in this region was planted following a burndown that included Eragon, which lead to herbicide injury and lack of fall growth leading to winter kill. Canola should not be planted in the same year as an Eragon application. Many Eastern Canadian herbicide labels do not provide much guidance on re-cropping restrictions for canola, and do not consider the timing of winter canola planting (e.g. wording may reference “seasons” rather than specifically stating how many months must pass after application) so it can be difficult to clearly determine what products are safe. Group 2 products are also a concern and can require up to 22 months to pass before planting canola. More re-cropping restrictions can be found in Table 2-2 (page 64) of the OMAFRA Guide to Weed Control (http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/pub75/pub75toc.htm).
Reflecting on Winter Meetings
DON in corn was a key point of discussion throughout winter meetings. Many different perspectives on risks and management of DON were presented through the winter and may continue as there is still high DON corn in bins at this time. Agricorp were addressing stored corn with DON up to the end of March. Risk of spoilage increases with high DON levels in stored corn. Two articles have been posted on storing mouldy corn; Part 1 and Part 2.
There are now graduated payment levels for the corn salvage benefit through Agricorp for corn with DON. Benefit amounts rise as DON levels increase. The benefit amounts are now as follows:
- For 3 ppm to 5 ppm DON, the benefit is $ 0.52/bu
- For 5 ppm to 8 ppm DON, the benefit is $ 0.79/bu
- For 8 ppm DON and above, the benefit is $ 1.08/bu
With DON having been such a significant issue, soybean topics may not have been at the forefront. 2018 was a great year for soybean yields, although some have reported a high amount of sudden death syndrome (SDS) and soil sampling has shown that soybean cyst nematode (SCN) is likely more widespread than some growers realize. SCN was, for example, found in Drumbo and Princeton.
Other reports from winter meetings included praise for Ken Ferrie, an agronomist from Illinois that spoke at CropSmart and FarmSmart in January. Ken’s review of the basics of planting was well received, and he also addressed compaction topics. His website is here: https://www.croptechinc.com/tag/ken-ferrie/ . Others mentioned Dr. Bill Deen’s research and the importance of rainfall from the middle of June to mid-July in refining nitrogen rates on corn. Some info can be found here: https://ontariograinfarmer.ca/2019/02/01/waters-influence/ .
The group would like to thank Ken Currah for breakfast.