Ridgetown AgBreakfast Minutes, April 8, 2014

Note: New Location for Ridgetown AgBreakfast Meeting is the Campus Centre in the basement of Willson Hall, 7:15 am (U of Guelph Ridgetown Campus).  A big thank-you to our Breakfast sponsor this week “St. Clair Region Soil and Crop Improvement Association” and Chad Anderson for their support.  There are plenty of opportunities for others to sponsor over the next 5 meetings so please contact Albert Tenuta (albert.tenuta@ontario.ca) or Mirjam Hall (Mirjam.hall@ontario.ca) if you are interested.

Synopsis: SLOW! Last year potatoes and sugar beet planting had already begun by the first Ridgetown AgBreakfast meeting but not this year.  In some fields snow is still present but with temperatures on the rise and rain late this week, snow will be gone (good riddance winter!)  Soil conditions are improving but while the top inch or two may be dry it is still quite “soupy” below. Higher temperatures and wind will help.  There is still frost in the ground in protected areas. Early planted wheat overwintered well but there is still questionable wheat.  Red clover seeding about 50% complete across the area.  Many noted less corn on corn this year which is a good thing! There may be some switching from corn to soybeans this spring but not as much as expected.  Although growers are eager to get started, they have taken a very cautious approach this spring and don’t seem to be rushing based on the calendar. Seed corn yields have been above average the past two years which has resulted in over supply for some companies. Seed corn acres will be lower this year.  Maple syrup season is finished with production normal to slightly less than average.  Tree and tender fruit crops being evaluated for winter injury, with significant injury to grapes.  AgriCorp Production Insurance premiums are 26% lower for corn this year and soybeans are 8% lower.  Remember to check corn planters and metering systems.  Some concern raised surrounding the cold weather and effect on soybean seed coat – could possibly impact soybean germination.Handle soybeans carefully.  It was noted a number times during the meeting that Lambton is the “breadbasket of Ontario” – thanks Chad for clarifying.. 🙂

Acreage: The decrease in wheat, seed corn and tomato acres  will be filled by soybeans in the area, and a little corn.  A 5-8% increase in soybean acreage is expected with corn flat to down slightly.Less corn on corn is expected due to last year’s issues with a less than ideal rotation.

Wheat: Acreage is lower this year compared to 2013, but higher than 2012.  Wheat is just starting to green up.  Overall very optimistic of wheat health but some areas need to be further evaluated, especially where large frozen ponds existed. Winter hardiness of newer varieties has improved which is beneficial.  Very small amount of nitrogen applications were made in the area March 22/23 (Lambton).  Red Clover applications 50% complete and expect 50%  of the wheat in the area will be seeded with red clover.  AgriCorp had increased damage reports in March but suggest waiting (“till first lawn cutting”) to determine winter survival.  Lots of interest in double cropping after wheat.

Hort crops: Sugarbeet growers ready to go but most likely won’t be planting till late April or first of May compared to mid-April last year.  Considerable discussion around Heinz and Highbury Canco processing facility in Leamington.    This week Highbury Canco received a conditional one year licence to process tomatoes at the Heinz plant in Leamington.  Arrangements still need to be worked out with Heinz but the license allows the company to contract tomatoes with growers.  Tomato seedlings are being grown in greenhouses. Highbury Canco will have to reapply for a license after one year.  Spray drift onto horticultural crops is a significant issue for the industry. If you can feel more than a breeze on your face, you need to check the wind speeds and stop when winds exceed or gust above 9.6 kph, especially if the wind is in the direction of sensitive crops eg. orchards, vineyards, greenhouses, homes and vegetables.

For more information and videos go to: ontario.ca/spraydrift

Tree and Tender Fruits: Huge apple crop in 2013 but winter has been hard on many tree and tender fruit crops.  Apple orchards in the southwest should be fine but the extent to which the prolonged cold winter has impacted apples as well as other crops such as strawberries, cherries, peaches, grapes, etc continues to be evaluated.  Pruning of apple orchards has progressed well.  Gala, Honey Crisp, Ambrosia, Golden Delicious are some of the largest acreage apple varieties in the area.  Ambrosia apple is a Canadian success story.

Weeds and Resistance management: Dr. Peter Sikkema updated the group on the continued concern over resistant weeds which have been confirmed in 12 counties to date.  Go to http://fieldcropnews.com/2014/02/why-pre-plant-herbicides-are-so-critical-in-soybean-production/  for an update.  Get out and control fleabane. Permit/Sandea is registered, corn and edible beans except Azuki beans. Replant intervals were discussed: most are fine except 36 months for sugarbeets.  Check with companies for herbicide restrictions for IP soybeans.  The new herbicides Focus and Fierce are not allowed on many IP soybeans.  CHECK!

Bees and Neonicitinoids:  This hot topic continues to raise concerns.  More locations are needed for neonic evaluations.  Please contact Tracey Baute (tracey.baute@ontario.ca) or Jocelyn Smith (Jocelyn@uoguelph.ca ) for more information.

New Malaysian Soybean Import Requirements: Malaysia notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) on March 10, 2014 they would be implementing new phytosanitary requirements for soybeans beginning on March 16, 2014 from all countries except Brazil.  Dry beans and wheat were not included in these new requirements.  The notifications required an import permit, phytosanitary or fumigation for the following soybean diseases (Downy Mildew, Bacterial Blight, Bacterial Halo Blight, Bacterial Tan Spot) and weeds (Lamb’s Quarters and Jimson Weed).  It would be difficult to meet these requirements in particular for downy mildew and lamb’s quarters which are very common in the province.  In discussions with Malaysian officials the implementation date for Canadian imports has been delayed to July 1st which would allow for clearing of potential shipments which may be in transit.

Next meeting:

7:15 am, April 22nd, Willson Hall, Ridgetown Campus, University of Guelph

Important Dates:

July 9 and 10, 2014 Ridgetown Diagnostic Days

January 6 and 7, 2015 (Southwest Agricultural Conference) – Ridgetown