Ridgetown Breakfast Meeting Minutes – April 21, 2015

Synopsis: Rainfall across the region was variable 0.3” in Essex, 0.7” to 1” in Chatham-Kent, 0.3” to 0.5” in South Lambton, Elgin and the rest of Lambton about 1”. A small amount of corn went in on the weekend; most are planning to start planting around the 25th. Some spring cereals were seeded on the weekend. There have been reports of hot spots in the centre of corn grain bins. Ed says the soil is “comfortably wet” which means wet but no water lying. A lot of the late planted winter barley did not make it.

Winter wheat: The winter wheat crop generally looks good. There are drowned out spots but most are not very big. The late planted wheat in fields with good drainage and good rotations looks good. Late planted wheat on fields with poor drainage and too many soybean crops looks poor. In some areas the nitrogen has been slow to go on. It is hoped that the rest will go on this weekend. Some areas have all the nitrogen on. In a number of fields they rushed the application and made some cuts in the field. A significant amount of the nitrogen applied to wheat this spring will be in split applications, as much as 50%. Some of the reason for the increase this year could be due to growers continuing to evaluate the health of the crop. In fields where 1 year old seed was planted, germination was acceptable but poor vigour and root rot are severely impacting stands.

Agricorp: There have been 86 reports on winter wheat totalling 4260 acres in Essex, Chatham-Kent and Lambton. Most of the field inspections will take place next week. Generally stands look better than anticipated. About 50% of the crop went into less than ideal conditions. The December temperatures and winter weather were favourable for the crop.

Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in cereals: Peter Sikkema’s research indicates that Infinity is the best herbicide to control fleabane in winter wheat as it provides good control and is easy on the wheat. MCPA will provide about 70% control and Buctril 50-60% control. Do not use Infinity on oats: Infinity gives about 50% control of wild oats.

Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in soybeans: Glyphosate + Eragon + Sencor is the best tank mix. If just Glyphosate + Sencor is used the Sencor rate has to be very high which is both expensive and can result in significant soybean injury.

National Soil Conservation Week: April 19th to 25th is National Soil Conservation Week. It includes Earth Day April 22. It is a week to highlight the need to continue to protect the soil not only from soil erosion but from soil degradation. The two most prominent soil issues are loss of surface soil structure and the loss of organic matter. Excessive tillage, poor rotations and lack of organic matter additions such as manure have contributed to both of these. Poor aggregate stability (soil easily breaking down to individual particles when exposed to rain) leads to crusting and poor soil structure. Crusting not only affects crop emergence but it can prevent water from entering the soil increasing the risk for run off and erosion. When water runs off it does not enter the soil for crop use. Soils in this state do not let the water into the soil and what does get in does not have the organic matter to hold on to it. The Farmland Health Check-up which is part of the Great Lakes Agricultural Stewardship Initiative (GLASI) pairs certified crop advisers with farmers to help them assess their soil health and identify options for improvement.

Cover crops: Can oats from this year’s oat crop be used to plant cover crops this summer? The answer is yes. Oats can have some dormancy but if they are fully dried (13%) before seeding there should be no problem.

Potential for injury to ryegrass and clover cover crop interseeded in corn

Herbicide Annual ryegrass Clover
Converge XT Safe injured
Callisto Some injury – some stand reduction Injured **
Engarde Some injury – some stand reduction Injured**
Integrity – Set up rate Safe Not injured
Integrity – full rate Injury – stand reduction Some injury
Primextra Injury – stand reduction Some injury
Lumax Injury – stand reduction** Injured**
Treflan/Prowl Injury – some stand reduction* Some injury
Focus Injury  – stand reduction** Slightly injured
Frontier Marksman Some injury – some stand reduction ** Some injury

(*)Indicates  severity of damage,  more * = more damage

Source: Dr. Darren Robinson, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, project funded under GF2

Alfalfa: The alfalfa crop is looking good, with some stand loss in depressions. Alfalfa that was cut during the critical fall harvest period has much slower growth. Fields that were not cut during that period are growing well. Can elemental sulphur be applied with alfalfa seed in the trench? It is recommended to apply and incorporate 50 lbs elemental sulphur per acre into the soil prior to stand establishment to supply the crop for 3 years. Applying that much elemental sulphur with the seed will likely lower the pH in the seed trench enough to cause concern for the alfalfa. In field trials potassium sulphate increased alfalfa yields by 28%, elemental sulphur by 21%.  In fields where sulphur deficiency was evident, KCl applications actually reduced yields by 10%.  The mechanism of this yield loss (if real) is not known.

Insects: Western Bean Cutworm caused significant damage to some fields last year. Significantly affected fields had yield losses of up to 20% with grade dropping from 2 to 5. See the Western Bean Cutworm Traps for 2015 article on Field Crop News. https://fieldcropnews.com/2015/04/western-bean-cutworm-traps-for-2015/

Processing crops: 3,500 to 4,000 acres of the intended 10,000 acres of sugarbeets have been planted. Many growers have fumigated their tomato fields. Peas were planted the end of last week in Leamington and Wallaceburg.

Spring corn harvest: A corn field harvested recently came off at 14 to 15% moisture, made grade 3, had good kernel integrity and yielded 175 bu/ac. The fall yield was 180 bu/ac. Corn harvested this spring, that didn’t mature in the fall, has not improved much in test weight, while mature corn has gained 1 to 2 grades. The corn generally stood well through the winter. There is a significant risk with leaving corn in the field over the winter. There is a greater potential for soil compaction in the spring with the combine and grain buggy travelling over wet soils.

Nitrogen on corn: If there is concern about nitrogen loss is it better to increase the rate or protect the nitrogen? It really depends on the year. If it is not a wet year then there is no need to do anything differently. Warm and wet periods can cause a loss of up to 5% per day beginning the second day. Splitting that greatly reduces the risk of loss. The adjustments made last year to the pre side dress nitrogen test have significantly improved it, and the new 35 ppm threshold for corn fields with 80 to 100 pounds of early N is a great tool to fine tune N applications.

Controlling yellow whitlow-grass: This is not actually a grass. It is a brassica and is not very competitive. It is tough to control. Peter Sikkema evaluated a number of herbicides.  High rates of MCPA Ester (0.56 l/ac) were most effective. http://www.weedinfo.ca/media/uploads/WHITLOW%20GRASS%20CONTROL%20IN%20WHEAT.pdf  It is questionable if it is worth controlling this weed as it offers so little competition.

Weather information: Check out this http://www.cocorahs.org/Canada.aspx website which has daily updates from a volunteer network of rainfall recorders.

Grain Bin Safety: There have been deaths recently when grain bins were entered. Please ensure proper safety precautions are followed. See the links below. Don’t go in alone!



Breakfast was provided courtesy of Cangrow Crop Solutions Inc.

Next Meeting:

May 5, 7:15 am, Willson Hall, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, 120 Main St. East. Ridgetown.

Important Dates:

July 8 & 9, 2015      – Southwest Crop Diagnostic Days, www.diagnosticdays.ca University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus

January 5 & 6, 2016 – Southwest Agricultural Conference www.southwestagconference.ca University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus

Proposed neonicotinoid regulation: Consider providing comments if you haven’t already. The links below provide more information. The volume of comments does matter.

Regulation Proposal Notice – with links to all related documents.


New Regulatory Requirements – explained


Conducting a Pest Assessment for Class 12 Pesticides



Field Crop Protection Guide 2014-2015, OMAFRA Publication 812 ($15 + tax) and 2015 Supplement (free)

Revised Pasture Production, OMAFRA Publication 19 ($10 + tax)

2015 Field Crop Budgets, OMAFRA Publication 60 (free)

Soil Fertility Handbook, OMAFRA Publication 611, REDUCED PRICE ($20 + tax)

Available at the OMAFRA Resource Centre, 120 Main St. E., Ridgetown, order on-line at www.ServiceOntario.ca/publications or call 1-800-668-9938

Cover Crops Field Guide 2nd Edition ($5 tax included) – available only at the OMAFRA Resource Centre, 120 Main St. E., Ridgetown