Palmerston Agribusiness Breakfast Minutes – Tues April 10th, 2012

Synopsis: The majority of spring cereals crop have been planted. In eastern Ontario about 60% of  spring wheat has been seeded.  The early spring has allowed for a lot of field work and manure application to occur in good soil conditions. The majority of winter wheat has received some nitrogen, with many growers opting to split apply. The consensus was that it is too early to plant corn; the best corn is typically planted in late April.

Wheat:  Between 60 – 90% of wheat has some nitrogen applied. Many are split applying nitrogen, with a few using Agrotrain.  Optimum timing for the second application of N is at growth stage 31-32.  ATS (ammonium thiosulphate) is being added to N applications.  Some suggested it will stabilize N and reduce lossess between application and crop uptake, especially with cold conditions slowing crop development.  Research has not indicated strong support for reductions in N losses by adding ATS.   The best way to reduce N loss is by applying prior to a rain. Many growers are applying higher rates of N than they have traditionally used, with a 120 lb/ac N rate being common.  Growers applying high N rates should evaluate if  using a growth regulator is warranted where lodging is a concern.

Early planted wheat looks excellent. The best wheat is that seeded into canola stubble, because of early seeding date and the stubble which helped hold the snow. Wheat stands that received starter fertilizer are much better than those without. Wheat stands especially those planted in late Oct – November looked alot better 3 weeks ago.  Poorest stands are those planted around Thanksgiving and those seeded in November particulary no-till stands. The dry soil conditions has resulted in the seed furrow opening exposing the roots in late planted wheat seeded into imperfect soil conditions.  These fields need to be watched as in some cases the wheat has very little root. The hard frost March 30th appears to have killed a lot of the volunteer canola. Re-check these fields to ensure that the canola is in fact controlled. Avoid spraying herbicides during cold weather. There is a fair amount of winter annuals present  that need to be controlled although application has been delayed due to the low temperatures and concern for crop injury. European chaffer damage to wheat in Port Elgin area resulted in reseeding claim.

Corn: Very little corn has been planted so far. Corn planted at the end of April has the highest yield potential. Corn planted now is at a higher risk of chilling injury , therefore it is recommended to wait until after mid April. A number of hybrids are in short supply and may not be available for replanting. Growers should evaluate their soil conditions and the 7 day weather forecast when deciding when to start planting.

A question about residual corn herbicides: “If corn is hit with a killing frost late in the spring, a residual herbicide was applied and the decision is made to re-plant to soybeans, are there concerns about crop injury?”

Answer: If this unfortunate event was to unfold it would be prudent to read the appropriate corn herbicide label to see if statements exists that allow for other crops (in this case soybean) to be planted in the same year of application. The manufacturer should also be contacted to confirm the interpretation of label statements. A University of Guelph study evaluated this scenario and recently published a manuscript entitled “The effect of residual corn herbicides on injury and yield of soybean seeded in the same season”.

Corn Fertilizer question – 28% applied preplant at 35-40 gal/ac, and would like to switch to 20 gal/ac on planter and then apply remaining N by surface applying on  60 inch spacing.  Below is summary statement from a  two year trial (2010-11) sponsored by Peel Soil & Crop that looked at ammonia losses with applying UAN by various methods at side-dressing timing.

Summary: 1) Side-dressing of UAN with poor covering of the UAN by the side-dress applicator did result in much higher N losses than correct injection. Our numbers clearly suggest that it is worth the time to get the coulters and injectors working properly to cover the UAN.

2) For producers who would rather surface apply UAN through a sprayer it appears that concentrating the UAN via streamer nozzles or a single band may actually increase the potential loss of N via ammonia volatilization. Note that this applies to situations where the crop is small enough (less than 3 leaf corn) so that crop damage is not an issue. On taller corn streamer nozzles are recommended to reduce crop injury.

The full copy of the report is available in 2011 OSCIA/OMAFRA Crop Advances report at


Many alfalfa fields have been hit hard by the frost, with regrowth now coming from the crown. It is difficult to assess the extent of the yield impact.  The issue is two fold, if the damage is wide spread over the field, the first cut yield impact will be less than the delay in maturity.  Manage the cutting schedule to ensure that the crop has opportunity for good root reserve buildup. Regrowth will also be impacted by how the stand has been managed in the past and if the stand received the adequate rest period last fall.

In the other situation where the damage is not uniform across the fields, it will mean that the crop uniformity will be impacted which will make cutting time decisions more difficult.

Canola:  Less than 5% canola seeded to date. Ontario does not see the consistent yield advantage of early seeding that Western Canada data shows.  Planting into good soil conditions is more important than seeding date.  Ideal soil temperature is above 10 C, but 5 C is a reasonable starting point.  Newly emerged seedling can withstand a light frost (0 to -2 C) and can withstand colder temperatures once ‘hardened’ off by several cold days. Establishment is the greatest challenge. Soil conditions and 5-7 day weather forecast is best guide. Cool conditions will slow emergence and early growth, so seed treatments may run out on controlling flea beetles before reaching the 4th leaf stage when plants are large enough to handle feeding damage.

Agricorp: Very few winter wheat fields have been released for reseeding. Most of the fields released to date were seeded around Thanksgiving time frame.  Adjusters are delaying making a decision on releasing wheat acres in some cases where wheat has ‘reasonable’ chance. Adjusters use same minimum plant stand count recommended by OMAFRA. It is very rare that an adjuster recommends a field be replanted and the grower wants to keep it. In these situations yield guarnatee may be reduced by 50%. Agricorp prefers if a crop advisor has checked the field and provided a recommendation on need to replant. If the wheat stand is questionable, grower needs to report a damage claim, as it becomes problematic to make the assessment at harvest

Growers need to insure all their crops to be eligible for Risk Management Program (RMP), so growers with uninsured wheat acres need to have these inspected and insured. Renewals with premiums for RMP have been mailed to growers and premiums will not be due until after June 30th when growers must report final acreage. Growers need to be enrolled in AgriStability, have a premise id number, and production insurance to participate in RMP. May 1 is deadline to make changes/enrol for production insurance or RMP.

Growers need to follow good management practices and look at the weather forecast in deciding when to plant. Agricorp does not have an established early planting date for crops.  Decision on a claim for replant will take into account the weather forecast at the time of planting, soil conditions, planting date. Difficult to make decision and need to consider individual circumstances.


  • ESN and KMag are difficult/impossible to get.

Next Meeting: Tuesday April 24th, 7:30 am.

Felix Weber’s – Agricoach, Palmerston
[Road 178, 1stroad west of Palmerston on highway 23, #5929]

Confirmation of attendance is not required.
Please direct any questions, comments or agenda items you may have to:


Brian Hall, OMAFRA 519-271-0083