Palmerston Crop Consultants Meeting Minutes

Synopsis: Very little nitrogen has been applied to wheat, and many are now abandoning plans for split application. In most areas the wheat looks good, including late plantings.  Agricorp has received very few damage claims, and are busy inspecting uninsured  late planted wheat.  May 1 is deadline for applying for or making changes to crop insurance. Remind growers they need to insurance all their acres to qualify for Risk Management Program.  Lots of interest in cover crops, seed supply may be limited.

Cereals: Western Ontario wheat is in good condition. Late planted wheat is living off the seminal root system and tillering would be encouraged from immediate nitrogen applications.  Some very late plantings are just starting to emerge. Eastern Ontario wheat has more challenges.  Less than 10% of nitrogen has been applied to date.  Some growers who planned on split N application are switching back to one application; others are waiting until end of April before deciding. In situations where target is 150 lb N/ac on hard red, overall rate can be reduced with split application or by using  blended N types to achieve some extended availability.  Trials show that a 50% blend with ESN will increase protein by 0.4% on average. There is no evidence that demonstrates that nitrogen rate can be reduced by split application.  The amount of loss(if any) following the initial application will determine the rate required for the second application to achieve the overall target N rate.   A few are also experimenting with 40:60 % split in nitrogen.  Split N needs to be economic but it allows opportunity to evaluate the wheat stand and adjust the second application based on yield potential. C & M seeds and OMAF are each conducting trials with N and Sulphur strategies to help provide answers.  In theory the first application of N fertilizer is utilized by plants for growth and second N application is used by wheat during reproductive stage in seed protein production. In practice, total N rate is the most important factor in both yield and protein: if there is not enough total N, increased protein will not be achieved.

Discussion on value of ammonium thiosulphate as nitrification inhibitor to reduce potential N loss. ATS has nitrification and urease inhibiting properties . It is not as effective generally as the nitrification inhibitors – nitrapyrin or DCD, or the urease inhibitor – NBPT  Conclusion-Ammonium thiosulfate is a limited use nitrification and urease inhibitor due to the rate of mineralization of the fertilizer. It may be of some value if used at the correct rate, but other products(eg. Agrotain) appear to be more consistent in their activity (Bonnie Ball, OMAF & MRA).  Some thought on using ATS for second application to extend N supply through reproductive stage for protein development, but if sulphur is required this timing is too late and yield will be impacted.

Spring wheat acreage is expected to slip by 15-25%.  Very little spring cereals planted. In spring wheat, increased attention to seeding depth to achieve quick, uniform emergence and use of a fungicide has improved management of fusarium.   Incidence of fusarium in spring wheat in New Liskeard area appears to have followed increased acres of corn. Differences in fusarium tolerance between spring wheat varieties is small; eg Norwell – is rated moderately susceptible, Wilkin is moderate, several others are rated moderately resistant. Agricorp reports receiving mixed messages on risks of planting wheat following corn silage.  Wheat following corn silage has highest risk of fusarium, and if a grower decides to plant they must use moderately resistant variety and a fungicide to be eligible for production insurance.  In these situations, Agricorp may adjust a claim based on general fusarium levels in the surrounding area.  There appears to be more interest in winter cereals because of the benefits in the rotation.

Wheat Marketing:  Growers are fustrated with consistently achieving protein in hard red wheat. Protein premium can change during harvest depending on overall market supply and quality of crop.   Individual millers may offer different pricing methods for protein. Falling number is a concern for growers and milling industry has expressed concerns about Ontario’s quality reputation.  Falling numbers can be managed by harvest timing. When it rains just before harvest, wheat kernals can swell or start to germinate in the the head.  After wetting kernels swell and develop microscopic “ridges” in the pericarp during drying cycles, resulting in reduced test weight. In addition initiation of sprouting increases the alpha amylase enzyme that breaks down starch which affects baking quality.  Falling number is used to measure alpha amylase activity. Harvesting wheat during the first drying cycle, even at higher moisture contents (18%) is preferred to reduce risk. Despite drying costs, harvesting at higher moisture and drying often makes the most $ents.


Corn: Some planting may start around Ayr area (April 23rd). Supply of some varieties particularly early maturity hybrids may be tight.  Concern about early seed stress and risk of needing to replant given tight supply on some hybrids/maturities.

Bees and Neonicitinoids(Exeter Ag Breakfast) :    More information can be found at  A number of growers are considering planter deflector technology but large equipment manufacturers are not interested in pursuing deflectors.  There are smaller companies perusing this technology.  There are some deflectors being used in Quebec. Last spring was a unique set of environmental circumstances that exacerbated the situation.  One message that needs to get out to growers is that excess talc should not be used in vacuum planters.  This adds to the amount of spent dust entering the air.  These seed treatments are designed to remain on the seed and put in the ground.  New lubricant technology may significantly reduce the problem.  If there are any incidences of affected bee hives this year please contact

Linda McIntosh Regional Manager Pesticide Compliance Program – Health Canada 255 Woodlawn Rd W, Unit 109 Guelph ON, N1H 8J1 Phone: 519-826-2895


  • Some alfalfa fields cut late last year are questionable
  • OMAF Field Crop Unit placing increased emphasis on two themes
    • WANTED: 30% residue cover all the time, dead or alive. 30% residue cover has been demonstrated to significantly reduce soil erosion
    • Phosphorus and Potash management.  Evidence that soil levels of both are decreasing in Ontario fields. At same time Nutrient loading of Phosphorus in Great Lakes & Lake Simcoe are increasing and contributing to algae blooms is reinforcing the need to manage P and reduce soil erosion. A meeting with Conservation authorities serving Lake Huron/Erie watersheds reinforced need to work jointly on conservation efforts. Conservation staff report loss of woodlots, increased tillage, loss of buffer strips & grass waterways as some of the contributing factors.
  • Variety Registration office and Minister Ritz are requesting comments on modernizing current system to reduce barriers to market access of new varieties, increase competitiveness and innovation  and reduce regulatory hurdles. Submissions need to be received by May 23rd.
  • Long term rotation studies: Growers are showing increased interest in maintaining good rotations. Few long term rotation studies exist. Concern was expressed about value of these trials and potential loss of these. University of Guelph has one long term study ongoing that is yielding valuable information.

Crop Insurance deadlines:

  • May 1: New applications and coverage changes
  • June 15: Last day to report unseeded acreage
  • June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.
  • July 10: Premiums


 Palmerston OMAF & MRA Contacts

Brian Hall, Stratford, email: Phone: 519-271-0083
Ian McDonald, Guelph, email: Phone: 519-824-4120 ext 5-6707

Next Meeting

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013, 7:30 am
Agricoach [Felix Weber], Palmerston
# 5929 Road 178, 1st road west of Palmerston on highway # 23