Cold soil temperature remains an issue. Agricorp have recieved numerous winter wheat damage reports; they have been inspecting west of Chatham, but are delaying inspection east of that. In the Barrie / GTA area, 10-15% of wheat-planted area is being put down. Planting into difficult conditions last fall e.g. smearing, may have contributed to poor survival in some fields. The patchy nature of the winter kill e.g., wetter areas within fields, complicates the decision to replant. In some cases, strong demand for straw influences the decision to maintain the wheat. Growers are advised to overseed clover, particularly in killed areas, to control weed pressure if the field will stay in wheat. The patchy kill will also create difficulty for fungicide application timing since staging will be variable adjacent to killed areas.
In Haldimand, very little nitrogen has been applied on wheat and split application is no longer considered an option. About 10% of the urea is on via lighter spreaders going on high or rolling ground, but no 28%. In Norfolk area, 20 to 40% of the nitrogen has been applied on wheat and rye. In this area, some growers opted to put on part of the nitrogen requirement, then see if the stand will be kept. IP soybeans are the popular choice where wheat fields are abandoned, which might increase pressure on supply of some herbicides.
On light-texture soils, land is being prepared for corn planting, anticipated to begin next week; zucchini and sweet corn have been planted under plastic. Use of fluency powder is being well received at the retail level.
Alfalfa established younger stands have survived quite well, however 3rd and 4th year stands have 10-15% survival. Growers are advised to apply nitrogen (for grasses), take a cut and plant beans in these fields.
Fleabane is being observed – some received burndown last fall, but other fields couldn’t get sprayed then. Adoption of residual herbicides has been well received and it is anticipated that lots of soybean acres will receive pre-plant application. Bluegrass continues to be a problem in wheat and some soybean fields. There is some focus on trying out a new herbicide containing pyroxasulfone to combat bluegrass.
Manure application on wet areas that run off is considered a spill and subject to a fine. The economic advantage of including wheat/red clover in rotation is illustrated by excerpt from Bill Deen’s presentation at the Midwest Cover crop meeting held in Ontario Feb 28, 2013