Exeter Agribusiness Minutes May 13, 2014

Synopsis: Considerable field work accomplished since Saturday in some areas: no movement in others. Unfortunately the rest of this week looks wet. Recent showers have been spotty: 0.1” at St Marys to 2” at Varna. The south west was also hit with a lot of rain. Corn planting estimates range from as little as 7% in the extreme southwest to a high of 80% in Norfolk. South Perth estimates 40%, Bruce county 10%. Provincially, ~25% of the corn is planted as of this morning. Spring harvested corn has overwintered well, with good quality, improved test weight, and little yield loss. Overwintered soys are 100% yield loss. Barley is being seeded into wheat field holes. Manure is going out.

Note: Thanks to Steve Johns and Syngenta for sponsoring the May 6th breakfast, and Rob Miller and David Townsend, BASF for sponsoring the May 13th breakfast. In order to speed the meeting up, sponsors for the next meetings will be gratefully accepted.

Wheat: The winter wheat crop has improved significantly over the last few weeks. More will be left than previously estimated. Slow corn and soybean planting has helped retain wheat acreage. Agricorp has been getting about 100 damage reports per day, but these are slowing down. 688 reports have been made since May 1st. Most have now been coming in from Perth, Huron, and Bruce counties. Some of the damaged reported wheat made in April has now been deemed to be ok. About 20% of the total wheat crop is considered “damaged”.

Second nitrogen applications need to be applied to the wheat. Thin plant stands increase the need to spray all wheat acres this year. Weed pressure appears higher than normal this year. A hard winter can actually bring more weed seeds out of dormancy: it’s possible that weed pressure will be high this year. Less tillering is reported on some of the damaged wheat. Powdery mildew is starting to develop along the lakes. Fungicides applied at heading time are far more important to yield than early applications. Fungicide, herbicide, and nutrients all tank mixed together can cause crop injury (the more you put in the tank, the more chance of burn). Infinity gives the best control of fleabane in wheat Estaprop/dichloroprop second, 2,4-D third.

Forages:  Many hay fields are poor. Third year hay fields are especially thin as are fields that were cut 4 or 5 times last year. Fields with low K levels were also more vulnerable to winterkill. Patching up thin stands is one option for those who need feed this year. Italian or annual ryegrass is a good option. The difference is that Italian ryegrass will never head, so maintains forage quality better than annual ryegrass, which will head and can become too mature. There will be extreme dandelion pressure this year due to winterkilled areas. Expect to see yellow fields shortly.

Soybeans: Little seeding progress has been made overall although some growers have started, especially further east. This issue of controlling red clover in IP soybeans was discussed. See: https://fieldcropnews.com/2014/05/can-volunteer-red-clover-be-managed-in-soybeans/

Corn: Morris Sagriff reported that wireworm pressure is high in some seed treatment trials. There was discussion on the best planting depth for corn. It was agreed that every corn seed should be 1.5” deep: but there was disagreement on how deep corn should be seeded. It was suggested that with today’s hybrids and seed treatments a seeding depth of 2.25” would not hurt plant stands. Others felt this was too deep. Research from Thomison (Ohio) showed no yield difference between 1.5” and 3” seeding depths. Seeding into moisture is considered good practice.

Planting progress reports from Illinois and Iowa are about average for this time of year. (90% of corn planted and 40% of soys, 61% of corn across the US and 12% of soybeans across the US)

Soil Fertility: Dr. Bonnie Ball is working on a project to re-evaluate the Mn soil test values being used in Ontario. She asked for co-operators that have sites with low Mn. They will take soil samples and plant samples. She gave a brief outline on N volatilization especially when topdressing N.  The handout below was distributed: 

Estimating Nitrogen Volatilization



Nitrogen loss by volatilization when fertilizers containing urea are broadcast depends on weather – temperature, wind, water. Web-based calculator: http://www.farmwest.com/climate/ammonia can be used to estimate losses under varying conditions. Users can select from about 50 different Ontarioweather stations.

To estimate loss from urea,choose swine manure slurry type, which is mainly urea- and ammonium-N, and a volume containing a comparable N amount. Swine manure has marginally higher loss than fertilizer due to abundance of urease enzyme, but at this time the amount of difference is being investigated. In the example above, to match 80 kg N/ha fertilizer applied, 3958 gal/ac of manure was said to have been broadcast at Mount Forest on May 4. Using predicted temperatures, 31% of the ammonium-N was lost, equivalent to 23.3 kg N/ha, in the 144 hours following application. In this scenario, wet soil conditions were selected.

With dry soil conditions selected instead of wet (table below), the cumulative loss is slightly less at 21.6 kg/ha. If 0.25 inch or more of rain falls, then the volatilization stops from that time onwards.


With shallow incorporation instead of no incorporation (below), loss is reduced to only 2 kg N/ha:


Nitrogen fertilizer broadcast into a crop canopy experiences lower than ambient temperature and wind speed. To estimate volatilization loss from the urea component of top-dressed nitrogen, manually alter temperature and wind speed on the calculator to the expected or measured values under the canopy. Short crops will have little impact on wind and temperature, tall canopies may reduce wind to virtually zero. 

Soil Health Workshop: There will be a soil health workshop close to Exeter this August. Stay tuned for meeting details.

Diagnostic DaysRidgetown July 9/10, Eastern July 15, Elora July 17.

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: Premiums

 CropLine – 1-888-449-0937

CropPest Website – http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/field/news/news_croppest.html

 Stratford Crop Technology Contacts:

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

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