Exeter Ag Breakfast Minutes, April 29, 2014

Synopsis: Wheat looks TOUGH. Forages, particularly alfalfa, is TOUGHER.  10 to 40% of the wheat will be replanted. Spray replant wheat fields with glyphosate BEFORE replanting!  Majority of the N is on, with N applications just getting underway to the north. Very little planting progress, some spring grain and a few acres of corn.  Oat and IP soybean seed are in short supply.  The cold spring means less soil N mineralization, don’t cut N rates.

Wheat:  Many disappointed that poor wheat fields have not improved as hoped.  Patience is still required to the north (Johnson).  90% of wheat fields have holes and weak spots, only 10% of wheat is considered good.  This weather is actually ideal for the wheat that is surviving, allowing tillering to continue.  Hopefully that helps.

The majority of the nitrogen is now on the wheat crop, with N applications just getting underway further north and east (10%).  Many growers insist on waiting on nitrogen applications until they can make the call on replant: this is the worst possible management decision, as early nitrogen is critical to help marginal wheat crops tiller. Most growers have chosen to go with a single application of nitrogen, although split nitrogen applications are gaining ground.  One comment that early N showed a “boost” in growth, but after two weeks did not look any better.  Only yield at harvest will tell the tale.

Agricorp reported increasing damage calls, moving now into Perth Huron, previously in Essex Kent.  1000 reports were received last week. Everyone was encouraged to help growers make the decision on their wheat crop by asking the right questions:

  • Do you need straw and a place for manure
  • Rotation history on that farm/value of rotation
  • Are you willing to spend the inputs on a crop with lower yield potential
  • Can you manage with lower profit margins on those acres (land rent, etc)
  • Soybean cyst status of the field
  • What is your crop insurance yield guarantee

Forages:  Forage stands are suffering the exact same fate as the wheat crop, if not worse. Growers need to check their fields!  Past management has made winterkill worse: manure tankers, late fall cutting, low fertility, lack of leafhopper management.  “Cumulative stresses”  have taken their toll.  Where grasses have survived and alfalfa died, nitrogen applications should be made to encourage growth and yield.  Apply at least 60 lbs N/ac.  Killed out areas can not be reseeded into alfalfa, due to autotoxicity. Red clover or ryegrass can be options.   See https://fieldcropnews.com/?p=6680#sthash.ikCeze2s.dpuf 

Replant considerations: Where wheat is to be replanted, remember that IP soybeans cannot be grown following roundup ready soybeans.  Be sure to spray the remaining wheat FIRST.  Tillage will not kill the clover, and once planting has occurred, kill is often reduced.  Glyphosate applied even 30 minutes before planting will give excellent control.  On fields where the N has been applied and the decision is then made to replant into soybeans, the N will not cause any problem, nor does it offer any benefit.  It will just be an added cost. Spring wheat is a poor choice to try to fill in holes.  It ends up being feed, and the spring wheat is not ready for harvest until 2 or 3 weeks following the winter wheat.

Mineralization:  Cold soil temperatures will have slowed the start of mineralization.  Once mineralization does begin, it continues at a relatively stable pace, based on our soil temperatures and moisture.  As it cannot “catch up”, the slow start probably means less total N mineralization this year, just as we saw in 2013.  At this point, do not reduce N rates.  OMAF will be doing the June soil N survey again this year, which will give another assessment of soil N release.

Weed Control:  Volunteer red clover can be difficult to control in IP soybeans.  It must be controlled preplant.  2X to 3X glyphosate or the inclusion of  Amitrole 240 are best.  Otherwise, 2,4-D LV Ester gives suppression.

Weed resistance! One field in Ontario has been found with 5 Group II resistant weed species in it: lambs quarters, pigweed, ragweed, foxtail and giant foxtail!  The lambs quarters is also resistant to triazines.  Resistance management strategies are IMPERATIVE!

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