Ridgetown Ag Breakfast Minutes, May 22, 2012

Included:  Stripe rust in wheat, fusarium control (to do or not to do), aphids above threshold (wheat), corn replants and adding to thin stands, bugs in bins and more.

Synopsis: Spotty rainfall across the region, from almost nil to 3″+. Many “last 50 acres” switched from corn into soy with price rally. Limited replant corn and soy on heavy soils worked fine and planted just before a heavy downpour.  New Ontario corn replant calculator is available and can be downloaded here.  Wheat is heading 2 weeks early, with much of the fusarium spraying targetted for late this week.  Stripe rust and high aphid numers positively confirmed in the region.  Hay crop is dismal, at 50 to 65% of normal.  Continued reports of insects in stored grain.

Wheat:  The wheat crop continues to be short and “unimpressive” through much of the region.  Some question of the value of using a fusarium spray on a mediocre crop.  Comment of the day “A poor crop CAN get worse. Spray!!” (Al McCallum).  At todays wheat price it takes about 4 bu to cover the fungicide. Research averages about 8 bu yield increase, and you cannot predict the weather.  In rainfall zone fusarium risk is significant.  Spraying wheat for fusarium continues to look like a good insurance program at the worst, with the potential to be very profitable.  Stripe rust has been positively identified south of Chatham, which dramatically increases the need to consider fusarium fungicides.  Current estimates ranged from 50 to 80% of the crop targetted for fusarium fungicide.

Aphids and armyworm can be found in wheat fields, with some fields reaching threshold for aphids in the Kent Bridge area.  Scout!  50 per stem is the threshold at heading, although at very early heading this number could be reduced to 30/stem.  Armyworm insecticides will control aphids as well.  Mildew is prevalent in lush fields depsite the dry weather.  Otherwise disease levels are low.

Corn: Stands are generally good, with some interesting scenario’s discussed.  Corn (and soys) planted into heavier soils that were worked fine and packed tight to conserve moisture, and then planted within 2 days of a heavy downpour, are struggling and often need replanting.  Every day, and perhaps every hour, made a difference in emergence.  Planting depth has also been an issue, with some growers finding wheat stubble working up so much better than corn or soybean stubble, that when it was planted seed depth went from 1.5″ to 3″+, and suddenly stands are poor and variable on the wheat stubble despite much better soil conditions.  A case for downpressure technology, and for getting off the planter and checking seed depth when there is a change.  Side dressing is beginning.

There were questions around thickening up stands versus ripping up and replanting.  See http://corn.agronomy.wisc.edu/Pubs/UWEX/NCR344.pdf You can thicken a stand up until the 2 leaf stage, after that you are better off to rip it up and replant.  There was some disagreement with this data, especially when on extremely heavy soils (like the breadbasket of Ontario, Lambton County).  Replanting is no guarantee of a stand on these soils, so thickening up may be more prudent.  Others questioned if this Wisconsin data applies well to Ontario.  Any Ontario data would tend to support the Wisconsin data, although it is not directly related.

Soybeans: Planting is winding down, with most areas 90% plus planted, and the few wet areas well over 50%.  A few replants as described in the corn section above.  Soil conditions in some areas are extremely dry, with palnting depths often too shallow.  Beans need to be INTO moisture. Planting depths of at least 2.5″ are required in some fields to achieve this.  Beans are emerging well in most fields were moisture is adequate and planting depths are sufficient.  Some variable stands are expected and beginning to show.

Weed Control: Control efficacies of various herbicides on glyphosate resistant weeds were reviewed by Dr. Peter Sikkema.  See May 15th Exeter breakfast minutes for details.  Many pre-emerge herbicides are in need of rain for activation, with weed escapes beginning to  show.   Cleavers have been identified in a number of wheat fields across the region, although at low levels.  Spreading atriplex control in no-till fields is challenging, with most growers adding some metribuzin to the burndown to improve control.

Forages:  First cut hay yields are extremely disappointing, with 50% more acres required to fill silo’s.  Grassy hay stands responded well to applied nitrogen were growers applied N.

Insects: Alfalfa weevil is at high enough levels in many fields to warrant immediate harvest.  Wireworm and black cutworm reports are out there, but very little damage to date.  Chafer’s are an issue in forages in some regions, as are cereal leaf beetle.  Western Bean Cutworm traps are going up thjis week, 1 week ahead of schedule.  Results are posted on the Canadian Corn Pest Coalitioin website.

Some growers are scouting bins for bugs by loading the truck, with very poor results when they arrive at the delivery point.  Tolerance for bugs in delivered grain is ZERO, and in wheat to a flour mill that menas zero whether the bugs are dead or alive.

Other crops:  Limited sugar beet replants were required (8%) due to frost, wind and crusting.  Crops look good.  Tomatoers are 60% planted and on track.  Early peas are in full bloom and the heat is not welcome.

Crop Insurance deadlines:

June 15: Last day to report unseeded acreage.

June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.

July 10: Premiums due.


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

Crop Technology Contacts:

Adam Hayes, 519-674-1621 adam.hayes@ontario.ca

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

Albert Tenuta, 519-674-1617 albert.tenuta@ontario.ca

Tom Cowan, 519-674-1696 tom.cowan@ontario.ca