April 15, 2014

Malibu Restaurant, Exeter

Chair for this meeting was Jim Morlock

Chair for next meeting is Blair Chowen

Synopsis: An estimated 60% of the winter wheat crop will be under seeded with red clover. Less than 10% complete to the north, up to 50% complete in this area. Virtually no nitrogen on wheat: this likely means fewer fields with split application. Many wheat fields look good but Agricorp is recieving calls on damage wheat daily. There were 145 calls over the last week. These have been concentrated further south (Chatham-Kent, Lambton). The damage reports received do not seem to be correlated to seeding date, but are across the board. There are still a few hundred growers with corn in the field. Corn has over wintered relatively well and test weight has increased slightly. Some acreage remains undecided: seed has not been ordered (there are still IP soybean contracts available 🙂 ). Spring has been slow to arrive and the observation was made that the difference between the southwest and areas further north are more pronounced this spring than the last few. There is perhaps 10 or more days difference in development this year compared to just 5 the last few springs.  Oat and Barley intentions are higher than last year and mixed grain seed sales are also good.

Wheat: The winter wheat crop ranges from excellent to poor. Field drainage is key. Considerable ponding in some areas caused damage. Snow mould is more prevalent in tilled fields. It is still too early to decide how many plants will survive: in parts of the field that are poor individual plants are still living so it may not be as thin as it appears. Slice open wheat plants to determine if the growing point is alive. Due to equipment and time constraints a split application of N may not be possible, although growth stage of the crop still supports splitting N. The problem with one application of a higher N rate is that it will promote stem elongation and may cause lodging. A split application would help reduce this risk.

Red Clover: Is it getting too late to apply red clover? Experience has shown that red clover has been successfully seeded well into May. Stand establishment is highly dependent on the weather: a late year, late clover may turn out better than expected. Much of the red clover being sold is a 50/50 mix of single cut/double cut. This is a bit surprising. Straight single cut might be a better option this year as it has less top growth, but still has a similar root system and soil benefits compared to double cut. Excessive growth from double cut red clover in thin wheat stands or parts of the field with no wheat will cause problems during wheat harvest.

Fleabane: There is concern over glyphosate resistant fleabane.  As much as 60% of the glyphosate tolerant soybeans seeded in Ontario still get sprayed with only glyphosate. This will lead to more resistance problems. In Illinois growers are spraying fleabane both in early April and again just before seeding soybeans if newly germinated plants appear. In burn down situations, early control is essential to achieve good control.  There is actively growing fleabane in winter wheat now. Only about 50% of the wheat in Ontario gets sprayed with an herbicide. Fall weed control is essential in wheat and post-harvest is also important to keep fields clean. Infinity herbicide is probably the best option in established wheat to control fleabane, but dichloroprop or 2,4-D are also options. Much of the fleabane seed comes from ditches and other non Ag sources.

Bees and Neonicitinoids:  Considerable confusion exists in the countryside despite efforts that have been made this to educate growers on the new Fluency Agent. See http://fieldcropnews.com/2014/04/bayer-fluency-agent-facts-for-2014-planting-season/. Mixing this product evenly onto the seed will take some experience and there will be a learning curve this spring. Do not use more than the recommended rate. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will be doing spot checks this spring to verify compliance.  It is not necessary to use Fluency Agent if no seed lubricant was used in the past. A number of growers are outfitting their planters with deflector technology to reduce the amount of fugitive dust leaving a field.

Tracey Baute and Jocelyn Smith are spearheading research into dust management and new polymer technology to reduce “dust off”. Co-operators are still needed for field scale corn seed treatment trials.

Soybeans: Due to the wet fall many fields have significant rutting. Fall primary tillage was not possible in some cases. It will be a real challenge this spring to prepare a level seed bed in rutted fields, especially on clay soils. There were a number of plows out over the last two weeks. If only secondary tillage tools are going to be used it’s important to wait for fields to be dry. It’s not possible to fill ruts with a single pass true vertical tillage tool. Multiple passes with a vertical tillage tool can cause significant subsurface compaction and reduce yields in soybeans.  It may be necessary to use a vertical tillage tool to size the residue and then use a field cultivator. Leaving small ruts and seeding no-till may actually be the best option for fields with “reasonable” sized ruts.

Soil test values continue to be a major concern for Ontario soybean production.  A three year Ontario study showed a 4-5 bu/ac yield response when soil tests were low to spring applied P and K fertilizer.  There was no response if soil test values were adequate.  See: http://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/docs/v10crpadv_soy5_2013_fertility_options_for_soybean_production.pdf

Corn: Corn acreage will be down in this area by 10%. Most of the switch is going to soybeans due to the high price of soybeans.  Some IP old crop soybeans sold for $19/bu this week.  Other growers are waiting for $20.  Corn on corn acreage is probably down 15%.  Large dairy farms have good feed inventories, allowing them to switch acres out of corn on corn. Greg Stewart gave an update on Nitrogen strategies.  See Nitrogen notes – Exeter breakfast meeting – April 15 2014

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: Premium


CropLine – 1-888-449-0937

If you have questions or comments about these minutes please contact:

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

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