Central Ontario Crop Consultants

Next meeting:  Tues May 20th, 7:30 am @ Felix Weber, Agri-Coach, Palmerston

Synopsis: Cold, backwards weather has delayed decision making on a number of questionable winter wheat stands. The majority of  Agricorp damage claims are now coming from mid-western Ontario.  Estimated that 10-20% of wheat may be replanted.  In southwestern Ontario, actually acres being replanted is much less than early estimates. Strong wheat and straw prices are helping to drive ‘Save the Wheat’.  Several reports of poor survival of alfalfa fields, particularly older stands and those under stress last year.  Majority of N application to wheat taking place this week.  Very little field work in last 2 weeks.  Lots of red clover being applied.


  • 675 winter wheat damage claim reports in past week, mostly from Huron-Perth and mid-western Ont. Total damage reports to date is about 100,000 acres or 16% of insured
  • Please encourage growers to call in damage claim reports prior to reseeding. Some growers don’t want to report because they are concerned that it will affect their insurance discount or surcharge. However for the majority of growers this amounts to very little. Surcharge is calculated based on comparing the farmer’s own claim rate vs the provincial average. If the Provincial prior claims rate on wheat is 5% and farmer’s is 6%, then the surcharge would be 1%.  The outcome of not reporting is growers average yield goes down and not being paid for the lower yield because acres were not reported. Example: Grower with 100 acres of wheat, reseeds 50 without reporting. When they report their yield, the average farm yield included is based on the 100 acres insured and not the 50 harvested.
  • Spring harvested corn – growers need to report their yield. Not reporting  affects their claim history and average farm yield.
  • Reporting Acreage: It is critical growers report their acreage accurately for both what they pay in premium and impact on average yield. There have been number of cases of incorrect acreage reports.

Wheat: Majority of damage to wheat is result of drainage, ice formation, heaving, headland compaction and some snow mould. Nitrogen application is making a big difference to growth and recovery of stressed stands.  Poor tillering in many stands reported. Where a grower is unable to fulfill their contract, their obligation will depend on contracting agent. In some cases, may be able to roll the contract to 2015.

Alfalfa: Several reports of poor survival.  Fields need to be assessed, to avoid any surprises at first cut. Older stands and those that were under stress last year (e.g. late fall cutting, icing, leafhopper damage) are showing greatest damage.  Recommended plant stand guide is 12 to 20 plants/sq ft. for 1st year stands, 8 to 12 for 2nd year stands, and minimum 5 plants for anything 3 years or older. For more information refer to:  http://fieldcropnews.com/2014/05/forage-report-may-7-2014/#sthash.cCHUXiD3.dpu

Managing Phosphorus  & Nitrogen Losses:  notes from presentation by Bonnie Ball, Soil Fertility Specialist, OMAF/MRA

The Trouble with Phosphorus:  Bonnie Ball presented overview on phosphorus issues in waterways and Great Lakes. Significant amount of misinformation about issues with phosphorus getting into water sources. Drainage tile has been wrongfully blamed for significantly contributing to P movement. As one example total P load on a loam soil with 1% slope was 3 times higher where there was no tile vs conventional tillage with tile. Over 80% of total P came from overland flow. Estimated 24% of P movement is from tile. Most of P movement happens in worst weather conditions (i.e. runoff, etc). P moves into tile through preferential flow ( e.g. worm holes, soil cracks).Approximately 70% of annual total P movement is non-growing season ( e.g. 80% of particulate P load into a water course occurred in 2 days with a 50 mm rainfall on 300 mm snow). In comparing no-till  to conventional tillage system, no-till has higher percentage of  total P coming from dissolved P vs particulate P, but total P is 1/2 that occurring under conventional tillage system. Key message to reduce P loading is keeping soil covered all the time (minimum 30% residue cover all the time), and controlling erosion on concentrated flow paths through soil stewardship practices

The Trouble with Nitrogen:

There are web based calculators available for estimating volatilization losses from broadcast urea and from manure.

Oklahoma NH3 Loss Calculator

  • estimates ammonia loss based on critical loss factors of wind, temperature, soil pH, and residue
  • Soil hydrolysis of urea is less dependent on moisture than the other factors. Hydrolysis is generally highest at soil moisture most suited for plants
  • At 20% of Field Capacity losses are 4 times greater than at 80% Field Capacity (Oklahoma data). Loss is minimal, however if soil is extremely dry.
  • Volatilization losses from urea are minimized when soil surface conditions are cool and dry at application time, and/or when 0.25 inch of rainfall occurs within few days of application
  • Incorporation significantly reduces losses.  Shallow tillage (e.g. vertical tillage) can reduce losses by over 60%, and more aggressive tillage by over 80%
  • Applications under cool, dry conditions that often occur when applied to winter wheat result in minimal loss.
  • Trials in North Dakota showed that using ammonium thiosulphate reduced losses by up to 1/2 versus urea, and NBPT (urease inhibitor) reduced losses by up to 60%

Pacific Corn Association Ammonia Loss Calculator

  • Canadian model with ability to select Ontario weather station data
  • Nitrogen loss by volatilization  in model from manure depends on temperature, wind, and moisture conditions
  • Model uses manure, but to estimate urea volatilization loss, select swine manure slurry type, which is mainly urea and ammonium N, and a volume containing a similar amount of nitrogen. Swine manure has slightly higher loss than fertilizer due to abundance of urease enzyme.
  • Example: 100 lb N/ac (112 kg N/ha) broadcast on May 9th, with average air temp. of 10 0 C (50 F). This is equivalent to 4921 gal/ac of liquid swine manure in the calculator. In the table below, the graph indicates that after 6 days (144 hours) estimated cumulative loss is 30 kg N/ha (27 lb N/ac) or 27% of N applied under moist soil conditions, 10 0 C, applied May 9th at Mount Forrest .  Under dry soil conditions estimated loss is only reduced slightly to 27 kg N/ha.  If 0.25 inch or more of rain falls, then the volatilization stops from that time onward.  If a higher temperature is selected, average temperature of 15 0  C for 6 days, N loss is 35 kg N/ha (31% of applied). Shallow incorporation reduces loss under these same conditions to 3 kg N/ha.


  • Pdf of Bonnie Ball’s presentation
  • Reducing Soil Sampling Errors
  • Wheat Disease Identification booklet
  • A Field Guide to Cereal Staging
  • A Field guide to Broadleaf Weeds

Crop Insurance deadlines:

June 15: Last day to report unseeded acreage.

June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.

July 10: Premium