Exeter Ag Breakfast Meeting – May 12

Special thanks to Agri-Food Labs for sponsoring breakfast.

Chair: Eric Richter (author of minutes)
Chair for next meeting will be Jeremy O’Shea


A tremendous amount of field work has taken place over the last 2 weeks. Field work is ahead of where it has been for the last number of years considering the date. Winter wheat continues to progress at a slower rate than expected. Acres of spring cereals and new forage seedings are off to an excellent start. The majority of the region’s corn acres were planted in 10 days. The excellent spring weather has allowed for record emergence in 7-10 days producing exceptional stands. The earliest planted corn crop is at the two-three leaf stage. Soybean planting is progressing well with approximately 50% planned acres planted. The earliest planted soybean crop (May 1st-3rd) has now emerged. The soil moisture situation should be sufficient to complete the remaining planting. No edible beans are planted as of yet. Forage stands are developing well with 1st cut harvest expected to start during the last week of May. Dry matter yields appear to be above average. For most growers, this has been an excellent spring planting season. Recent rainfall has varied from trace amounts to approximately ½” over the last 7 day period. There is still not quite enough moisture to fully activate PPI and pre-emerge herbicides. Current heat unit accumulation is now 150-200 from May 1st across the region.

Winter Wheat & Spring Cereals:

Many acres of winter wheat are struggling, especially late planted fields (Nov.–Dec. 2014). Significant acres (10%+) are being sprayed out and planted to corn or soybeans. Many growers continue to spray out poor stands. Growers need to be evaluating stands for Manganese, Sulfur and possibly Magnesium deficiencies. Use spray bottle technique to conduct a quick in-field assessment. Many average fields are being kept for the straw and summer manure spreading acreage. Spring intra-seeded red clover seedlings appear to have established extremely well. There was an excellent discussion on weed management in winter wheat fields. The early planted, vigorous stands are extremely competitive and have very low weed pressure. Most of these fields will not require a herbicide application. Growers should focus on fungicide timing. Weak stands of winter wheat should receive herbicide applications. Precautionary note regarding low night temps and the advisory to delay herbicide application for several days. Big acreage increase in spring cereals (wheat, barley and oats). Cash croppers are focusing on spring wheat due to grain marketing options. Straw demand and crop rotation driving acreage spike in 2015. Watch for excessive vegetative growth and the resulting challenge to keep these crops standing.


Planting is 90%+ complete. Only areas with extremely fine textured soils have yet to be planted. Some ultra-early planted acres are showing cold chilling injury symptoms. Record planting place from start to finish. The majority of the corn crop will achieve milestone growth stages within a very narrow timeframe throughout the entire growing season.

Closing out the 2014 season, the over wintered corn acres are now harvested.  The crop generally stood well, was very dry (<14.0 %), graded out one grade higher than last fall and combined well with virtually no mold issues. Unfortunately, the current unit price is significantly lower than last fall.     

Soybeans & Edibles:

Planting progress is at approximately 50% and continuing at breakneck speed.  Seeding should be complete within a 7 day period given favourable weather conditions. Earliest planting soybeans have emerged in record time. The stands are excellent. Emergence has been rapid enough that some growers might get caught with emergence occurring prior to pre-emerge herbicide program being applied.

There was a group discussion about planting depth considerations for remaining soybean acres where soil conditions are getting so dry that it’s hard to find moisture at a reasonable planting depth (1.5 – 2.5 inches).

1. High soil temps produce faster emergence, less risk with planting slightly deeper

2. Watch circumstances where planting depth is >3” –  Hypocotyl extension issue

3. Do not plant in moisture transition zone – seed will start to germinate then dry out

4. Consider planting shallow in dry soil (1 inch) and wait for rain

5. It’s only May 12th, consider waiting until the moisture situation improves     

There are no edibles planted yet.  Recommended soil temp >10C.  Growers should wait until May 20th before planting.  May 20th to June 10th is the optimum planting period within this region. There is only enough seed available to plant the crop once, so special care should be taken to do things right the first time. 

Special Topics of Discussion:

1. Canada Thistle control prior to soybean planting – Glyphosate
2. Growers submitting significantly more Soil and Manure tests for analysis
3. Vertical tillage equipment are a weak option for spring weed control, e.g. Fleabane
4. New weed in North Huron – Nipplewort (control Aragon & Dicamba).
For picture and control options, see
5. Conserving soil moisture – Plowed ground, leave it until planting starts, Vertical tillage 1X pass and leave it until planting operation
6. Noticeable 2014 corn acres with standing stalks cut, raked and baled. Straw shortage really driving this activity – alternative bedding material. Maybe 1-2% of total acres that had standing corn stalks were baled this spring.
7. Some corn and soybean fields showing signs of seed trench slotting – planted too wet. Watch these field closely and record details of crop growth.
8. Conduct seed bed prep operations with a mind to conserve soil moisture with expected weather forecast.
9. Ryegrass stands didn’t weather extremely well, many fields over-seeded

Crop Insurance:

Agricorp is starting a program for on-line acreage reporting for 2015 planted acres starting May 16th.

June 15: Last day to report unseeded acreage.

June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.

July 10: Premiums


Field Crop News Website – https://fieldcropnews.com/

Stratford Crop Technology Contacts:

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

Brian Hall, 519-271-0083 or brian.hall@ontario.ca