Simcoe Ag Breakfast Minutes, May 7, 2014

The contrast between what has been accomplished on light verses heavy-textured soils widens. On Haldimand clays, nothing has been done, other than about 25% of the nitrogen application on wheat, which left behind wheel-track ruts in the process. On the sands of Norfolk, nitrogen is on the wheat and rye, corn is being planted, and herbicides being applied.

 Alfalfa Older stands of alfalfa in Niagara region are gone. In Norfolk, new seedings appear unharmed, but in 2 to 4 yr-old stands, the alfalfa content is reduced. It was noted that red clover over-wintered better than alfalfa.

 Wheat The decision not to keep winter wheat has been made for some fields, but much is still undecided. Across Brant and Haldimand, an estimate of the stand is 70% overall. Piecing spots together is challenging. Damage reports to Agricorp average 17.6% of planted acreage over Brant, Haldimand, Norfolk, Oxford, Elgin and Middlesex, the highest in 25 years. There have been a lot of re-visits and tough decisions. Increasing grain price is now affecting the decision. The relation between conditions and survival area is inconsistent. In some regions, planting date clearly relates to survival (e.g. best before mid-October), whereas in other areas, planting date appears unrelated. In some cases survival was better under heavy snow cover, in others, wheat fared better under less snow cover. Presence of ice in January was often a factor. On light-textured soils, the second application of nitrogen will be going out within a few days (most of the initial application was at the half rate); and herbicides are being sprayed. In Niagara region, 75% of the nitrogen has been applied on the ‘good’ fields. Ideal timing window for weed control has passed and it is anticipated that weed control will be poor, partly due to wheat being less competitive than usual.

Rye has overwintered well as compared to wheat. There are some winter killed patches, which is highly unusual for rye. Due to high demand for straw, rye fields will be maintained.

Spring grains are still not planted in Haldimand. High straw values have kept spring grains seed sales strong and planting on the to-do list.

 Corn has been planted on significant acreage of light-textured soils in Norfolk, Elgin and Oxford. April planted corn has germinated. Soil temperatures are varying 2 to 12o C (with day, and time of day). On the heavier soils, some growers are opting to plant with less tillage than usual due to the advancing calendar date.

Vegetable plantings are generally 1 to 2 weeks behind usual. Sweet corn is being planted, ginseng has not emerged, and tobacco land is being fumigated.

Weeds With a closing window for perennials control, a lot of flea bane is still being observed. Tank mix is recommended where glyphosate is used.