Exeter Ag Breakfast Minutes, May 15th, 2012

Included: Weed control updates, wheat stage and spraying, aphids, forage management options, corn, soybeans, tour invitation.

Synopsis: A recollection from a well seasoned farmer: the last time weather like this occured was in 1945! DRY! The region has missed any rains of significance. Corn emergence is excellent, soybean planting is 75% complete, edible bean plantings will start later this week.  Burndowns are working slowly (10 days visual, 21 days to bare ground). Tremendous amount of wheat sprayed with herbicide/fungicide over the weekend at flag leaf stage (very late).  Many weedy fields of corn need herbicide immediately.  Sidedressing will gear up next week.  Many hay fields have more dandelions than alfalfa, with growth extremely short.

Invitation! Everyone is invited to the Huron Research Station for the June 26th Ag Breakfast meeting.  Breakfast will be provided courtesy of Syngenta with a short tour of the HRS research plots following the meeting.  There are a multitude of interesting things to see at the station.  Plan to attend.

Wheat:  Advanced wheat is heading as far north as London, with the first fusarium sprays being applied in Essex today.  Winter barely is in full head.  While the crop looks good visually, it is short and with more leaf dieback due to frost than normal.  Yield potential may not be quite as high as growers were hoping.

Virtually all the wheat in the region at flag leaf emergence (37) to full flag leaf stage (39).  This is at least two weeks ahead of an “early” wheat crop, so be sure combines are fully tuned up as soon as planting is complete. Wheat sprayed with a herbicide on the weekend is stretching the label at this growth stage.  Occasionally spraying this late has caused crop injury problems with reduced pollination.  This reaction is rare but something to be watched for at heading.

Very little disease in the wheat crop.  Dead leaf tissue at the bottom is not septoria but frost.  A little powdery mildew can be found, with significant levels only in the lushest fields or highly susceptible varieties.  At this point most growers can wait for the fusarium fungicide for foliar leaf disease control.  The two fusarium fungicides are Prosaro and Caramba.  They are equal in efficacy.  Remember that forward back spray nozzle configurations are essential for good fusarium control.

Sulphur deficiency has been found in a number of wheat fields.  Again this year it appears that 0.30% is the critical sulphur level, not 0.20% as is suggested in text books or on tissue anaylsis reports.  Aphids are building in fields along the north shore of Lake Erie.  Manure applied to wheat fields has not been providing expected nitrogen in a number of cases.

Corn: Emergence is excellent in most fields.  There are some emergence issues with frost damage on very sandy soils, and in some instances wheat stubble deep ripped last fall has gone extremely hard beside plowed ground that has remained soft and with much better emergence. There is little above ground difference between corn planted April 9th and April 30th (1 leaf?).  There is considerably more root growth on the early planted corn.

Cutworm injury has been reported south of London.  Scout fields that had significant weed growth before planting.  Sidedressing is just beginning.  Lots of weedy corn fields that need immediate attention.

Soybeans: Planting is 75% complete and progressing rapidly.  Early beans have emerged, with emergence in 7-8 days where beans had moisture.  Dry soils are a concern.  Innoculant use has increased significantly with pre-innoculant product use up 400%.  There was a 15% increase in innoculant supply that has all disappeared, with supplies sold out at the supplier level.  This increase is predominantly driven by both an improvemnet in ease of use of some products, and Horst’s work showing yield increases of 1.1 bu/ac from innoculant use.

Forages: There are significant issues in the hay crop.  Grasses are heading and short, many fields have more dandelions than alfalfa, and where the alfalfa is good growth has been dismal.  Cutting in the critical harvest period last fall coupled with a wet fall and no snow overwinter, followed by repeated frosts and dry weather this spring have been the “perfect storm” for a hay crop shortage.  Forage quality is anyones guess, and likely growers should look at a “scissors cut” program to determine quality.  Growing degree days or height measurements will be useless this year.  Many gorwers should begin to think of alternative sources of forage now, such as a forage crop after wheat, more corn silage, or adding more nitrogen to existing grass stands to promote growth and increase protein.

Weed Control:  Dr. Peter Sikkema joined the group for the weed control discussion.  Much of the following is from his research.

  • Spreading Atriplex: Sencor or Lorox as part of the burndown have excellent activity.  Pardner is of limited value.
  • bluegrass species: Very tough to control. Research is underway.  Fall application of glyphosate may work better.  To date no excellent answers.
  • Chickweed: Refine in the fall even at 20% of the rate gave near perfect control the following spring.
  • Glyphosate resistant giant ragweed control in winter wheat: surprisingly, only Trophy gave essentially 100% control.  All other products ranged from 50 to 75% control.  A summary of the work on giant ragweed is available at
  • Glyphosate resistant Canada fleabane control in corn: Integrity is excellent, as well as combinations including Broadstrike (e.g. Primextra + Broadstike, Dual II Magnum + Broadstrike).
  • Dessicants in dry beans: Valtera early in the fall can be followed with winter wheat, but late fall applications will damage the winter wheat.
  • Classic? Do we add classic to the first trip or the second trip over the field? Lean toward the second trip.  Improved nutsedge and perennial sowthistle control. First trip would give better wild carrot control.
  • Glyphosate additives (pH adjusters): the is no science that suggests any improvement when adjusting the pH. Mostly better to spend those dollars on additional herbicide.

Agricorp: Damage reports on winter wheat are done.  November wheat acres inspected and accepted for insurance are greater than the acres of earlier wheat released for reseeding.

Crop Insurance deadlines:

June 15: Last day to report unseeded acreage.

June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.

July 10: Premiums due.

 Chair for this meeting was Barrister Gordon.  Thanks for keeping us on time.  Chair for next meeting will be James Hodgins. 


Publication 812 – Field Crop Protection Guide is available at any resource center, or by calling ServiceOntario Publications, 1-800-668-9938 or 416-326-5300.

CropLine – 1-888-449-0937

CropPest Website – http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/field/news/news_croppest.html

Stratford Crop Technology Contacts:

Horst Bohner, 519-271-5858 or horst.bohner@ontario.ca

Peter Johnson, 519-271-8180 or peter.johnson@ontario.ca