Exeter Agribusiness Breakfast Minutes, April 3, 2012

SYNOPSIS:  The early spring has given good opportunity for fieldwork operations.  Most of the spring cereals and direct seeded alfalfa are planted, and manure applications have been made on excellent soil conditions.  Not all soils are dry; growers should be cautioned to watch soil moisture conditions. The hard frost Monday March 30th (as low as -12 at ground) had significant impacts on established forage fields.

WHEAT: Damage reports and requests for November planted stand assessments are coming in to Agricorp. Less then 5% of the wheat in this area will be replanted, and many Nov stands are excellent. The closer to the cold, wet conditions beginning October 13th the wheat was planted, or the poorer the drainage, the worse the stand.

Nitrogen application progress ranges widely, from 10% to 90% complete (area specific).  General consensus is that most nitrogen applications to date have been with urea, while 28% users have been more likely to wait.  More Agrotain Plus is being used this spring than normal, with the dry conditions around application.  There is little Ontario data to support this cost, hopefully some data will be generated this year.  Manganese deficiency is showing on fields with a history of Mn problems.  Significant leaf injury from the frost on a few wheat fields, either in frost prone locations or stressed (ie: Mn issues).  All wheat fields will recover from the frost.

Sulphur: has been applied with the nitrogen on significant acreage, again with wide variation, with the best guestimate being 50% of the acres getting S. 5 to 10 pounds of sulphur should be ample (2 to 4 gal ATS, 25 to 50 lbs NH4SO4).  Many growers are doing plots (AWESOME). Please share all data at harvest or visual differences during growth with Peter (peter.johnson@ontario.ca) to learn as much as possible. The jury is still out if the warmth this spring will change the availability of soil S reserves compared to the last two years.

CORN: There is a few acres of corn already planted, with more being planted every day.  One report of corn at the spike stage already. Research data clearly supports highest yield potential with planting dates of late April. Even in Illinois, where March or early April planting dates are more common, late April planting dates have the highest yield potential.  If growers choose to plant, remind them that there is no more supply of the highest yielding corn hybrids.  If replant is neccessary, they will only have second or third tier hybrids.  Encourage growers to wait, or plant a few acres, rather than going full steam ahead.

ALFALFA: Established stands took the frost HARD!  Some fields and some individual plants have the stems frozen right to the ground.  These plants/fields will be set back significantly, as new growth will have to come from the crowns, which have been depleted from the initial growth.  Fortunately, most stands are generating new growth from auxillary buds on the stems, with only stem tops or partial stems frozen.  There will be some impact on these plants, but significantly less.

Newly seeded alfalfa and clover were injured by the frost, but stands are okay.

WEED CONTROL: Chickweed, dandelions, fleabane and other perennial and winter annual weeds are getting big.  These weeds should have been controlled in wheat fields in March, but still warrant control at this point.  Most annual weeds are just emerging, with lambsquarters emerged and the first ragweed plant noted.  There is ample time to control annual weeds.

Growers should consider burndowns on no-till fields soon, as perennials and winter annuals will soon get hard to control.

AGRICORP: Growers who want to remain in the Risk Management Program MUST insure all their crops.  Thus if a grower has November planted wheat, they must call Agricorp and offer it for insurance.  Otherwise they will not meet the criteria for RMP.

Any replant issues with early planted corn will be dealt with on a case by case basis by Agricorp, depending on the weather reports and 7 day forcasts at the time of planting.  Agricorp expects all growers to use best management practices.

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 10th, 7:30 am, Ridgetown

Tuesday April 17th, 7:00 am, Exeter.

If you have questions or comments about these minutes, please contact Peter Johnson  peter.johnson@ontario.ca or Horst Bohner horst.bohner@ontario.ca