Ridgetown Ag Breakfast Minutes, April 9th, 2013

Synopsis: Sugar beet and potato plantings began last week, with carrots and onions ready to plant. Ground conditions have been tremendous, but will only deteriorate. Wheat looks excellent. Significant nitrogen was applied (up to 50% of acres) in some areas, with loss concerns after heavy rains. Hay and spring cereal seeding made good progress, red clover seeding is complete.  A slow, small switch from corn to soys is underway, as spring looks late and corn prices drop. 100 acres of field corn was planted as an experiment under plastic, and is already germinated.  Critical new information on storage mycotoxins and bin maintenance implications has been found at UG-Ridgetown campus.

Wheat: Acreage has returned to normal after the virtually non-existent crop of 2012 in this area and looks excellent.  Nitrogen applications were full steam ahead last week in south Lambton and some regions of Kent.  Some significant field damage applying N on wheat in the Parkhill area (WHY??). Loss with current weather is a huge concern, with denitrification losses on heavy soils almost a given.  However, these concerns must be balanced on heavy soils with the practicality that soils may not be dry enough to travel on again until yield loss from delayed N application has occurred. Best strategy in these situations continues to be a split application, but uptake of this is low.  Other areas have yet to start N application. Sulphur research results indicate 10 pounds of S as SO4 is sufficient to alleviate deficiencies, and while every field is not deficient, we have no predictive tool.

Red clover acres are down 30% in some areas, and up 20% in others. The good news is that summer cover crops are planned where red clover has been dropped.  Red clover innoculant is now available only in the peat formulation.  Other formulations are no longer available (pre-innoculated).  CFIA considered them a soil conditioner, and the Ontario market was too small for the companies to gather the research to register them as such.

Acreage: increased wheat acres mean less acres of other crops. Corn originally looked flat to up slightly, but recent price moves and weather conditions are shifting acres back to soys, with corn now looking flat to down. Soybean acres will be down in traditional wheat/soybean areas, due to increased wheat.

Hort crops: A few growers actually stopped planting sugar beets because the soil was getting too dry (unbelievable). Sugar beet contract acres are increasing slightly as planting dates are delayed, to compensate for lower anticipated yield. A record 4.5 million tonnes of beets were sliced last year.  Green pea acres have just been filled, and tomato acres continue to shrink (down 9%).   Tomato target yield is 47 tonnes this year.

Resistance management: Concerns continue over resistant weeds (see http://fieldcropnews.com/2013/04/simcoe-ag-breakfast-meeting-notes-april-10-2013/) Resistance to fungicides was also raised. Cercospera leaf spot is resistant to Headline in sugar beets.  Strobi resistance is cropping up in many cases in the US.  The “prophylactic” use and value of these fungicides across multiple crops and timings was discussed.  Multiple modes of action is the key management tool at this time.

Bees and Neonicitinoids: This hot topic continues to raise concerns.  Equipment manufacturers are not interested in deflector technology: deflectors are available from a company in Quebec. Tracey Baute and Art Achaafsma are spearheading research into dust management and new polymer technology to reduce “dust off”. Co-operators are still needed. http://fieldcropnews.com/2013/03/sw-ontario-corn-growers-wanted-for-corn-planter-dustbee-study/  Chad Anderson provided this file from Health Canada pollinator-protection-pollinisateurs-eng

Storage Mycotoxins: Work by Dr. Victor Lemay-Rios at UG-Ridgetown campus has found significant risk of mycotoxin development around manhole openings and bin downspouts.  In one instance a large column of toxin laden mould developed from the manhole cover.  In other instances, condensation and dripping from bin fill spouts (downspouts) caused significant toxin development.  Management strategies to avoid these moulds developing need to be developed.

Ridgetown Agribusiness meetings are held at Dar’s restaurant (Daniel’s Esso) on Hwy 21, just south of the 401. Meetings start at 7 am and run alternating Tuesday’s.  Next meeting April 23rd.