Simcoe April 25, 2012 Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting Notes

Key messages:

  • Ensure at least 2 modes of action are used in all herbicide applications as part of the resistance management strategy.  Where weed escapes from burndown treatments require additional glyphosphate, we need to send the message of combined modes of action as good weed management stewardship, even for in-crop applications.  With glyphosphate resistant fleabane in both Essex and Niagara, it should be assumed that there are many resistant plants in all points between these areas.  Scout and follow up with escapes.
  • Norfolk sandy soils have been a hot spot for western bean cutworm (WBC) activity.  Western Bean Cutworm Trap network monitoring program is currently being established and there is a particular need for sites on sandy soils.  Information on the trap network can be found on the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition website. If you would like to participate e-mail or contact Tom Cowan at 519-674-1696 or Jen Bruggeman at 519-360-7374.  Pheromone strips will be provided. Additional scouting will be done by the WBC team during the season in hotspots.
  • Interval between tillage and planting has been longer than other years, leaving soil unprotected from erosion.  This year high winds, combined with dry conditions, have led to severe wind erosion.  Twice in 1 week dust storms significantly reduced visibility.  Close to 1million tons of topsoil moved hands last week – cheapest land transfer in a long time (B Woolley).  However on a serious note; of particular concern is wind erosion that occurs in specialty crop areas where recently soil applied herbicides move with wind to neighbouring fields.  As an industry we need to get back to basics with residue management and cover crops.  Growers need to look at the weather forecast and time tillage and planting so that soil is turned over just before planting.  Excessive tillage needs to be re-evaluated since all proactive measures taken to build structure over the past few years are lost in one wind storm.

Discussion highlights:

  • From beginning of April – just over 100 CHU recorded (east Elgin).  It takes approximately 180 CHU for corn to emerge.  Conditions are dry.  Simcoe and east have had more rain than west.  Since April 20: 1 inch rainfall in Norfolk, more rainfall moving east.  Some areas in Niagara region reported 3.5 inches.
  • Planting and field activity update:
  • Approximately 15% of the corn acreage (south of 401 from St Thomas to Niagara) has been planted to date.  There has not been enough heat for any corn to emerge.  Soil conditions for planting have been excellent; however cool temperature and frequent frosts have limited the amount of planting so far.    A few fields where planting depth was set at 3 inch depth to plant into moisture.  The key message from the Simcoe group is that the ideal planting depth for corn is 1.5 inches (~3.5 cm) and should be no deeper than 2 inches, especially when soil temperatures are still cold with little warmth in the near forecast.
  •  Next to no soybeans have been planted to date.
  • Wheat acres have not progressed much in the past two weeks.  Wheat stands now are closer to normal stage.  All nitrogen has been applied.  Limited weed control or fungicide applications have occurred so far mainly due to cold temperatures.  Red clover seeding was higher than normal, but is struggling from dry soils, cold temperatures and in some cases herbicide applications.  St Thomas area – areas of east  Elgin on the heavier soils – have the toughest looking wheat resulting mostly from poor drainage.  About 2,000 acres of wheat in that area will be re-seeded, mainly to soybeans.  Damage reports will be assessed until June for potential re-seeding to edible beans.  Some borderline fields are being left to get back to pre-2011 rotation schedule or for tile draining.
  • Forage stands have recovered from frost damage.  New growth from frost affected stands is coming from the crowns.  1st cut will be later on these fields and yield may be reduced.  Some grasses were affected by cold temperatures – especially orchard grass.  Forage stands that were harvested during critical period and were clipped close to the surface with no snow protection over the winter seem to have suffered more winter kill and heaving damage than originally reported.  New seedings acreage is up and stands have emerged well.
  • March 26 (-8º C) heavy frost had a big impact on cherry crop, but recent April frost (-4º C) had a much bigger impact on apply crop.  Norwich area was hit particularly hard; 100% of orchards in that area impacted – yields will be significantly affected.  Discussion about cold water impact on seed was similar to Ridgetown and Palmerston meetings.  Soils in a few fields planted April 20 had soil temperature drop from 15 C to 2 C in a 6 hour period.  These fields will be monitored for crop emergence and early growth.
  • Crop insurance – last call May 1st is the deadline for production insurance for any spring seeded crops.  Call Agricorp at 888-247-4999 between 7 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Next Meeting: May 9th, 2012  7:30 am at Little River Best Western in Simcoe.  All are welcome.  Those that can’t attend are asked to send any updates, issues, highlights, or observations as a quick note to Brian Woolley Brian.Woolley@SYNGENTA.COM or Christine Brown