Exeter Ag Breakfast Meeting – May 26

Chair for this meeting was Jeremy O’Shea. Chair for next meeting is Joanna Wallace. Thanks to BASF for sponsoring breakfast.

Synopsis: Frost across many parts of the province has caused significant damage.  Muck soils, sandy soils, and lower elevations were the worst hit. The vast majority of corn will recover since the growing point is still below ground. There is no concern over plants being able to grow through the dead tissue at this stage of growth. Plants that are frosted at the 1 to 4 leaf stage will only be 1 to 2 leaves behind unaffected plants. There are a few fields on muck soil where the corn needs to be replanted. No-till soybeans seeding during the first week of May or before have been the hardest hit. In many cases only plants in the low areas of the field were killed, making it necessary to thicken up stands. Reseeding started on Sunday. It’s estimated that the impacted acreage will be less than 5% of the total but individual growers affected my need to reseed their whole soybean crop. How many acres are truly impacted will become evident over the next few days. Frost has impacted established hay crops but they will recover. The cells within the plants will be ruptured so those fields should be cut soon. If it rains on those fields there will be nutrient loss from the hay. Conditions remain very dry although some sporadic showers have come through the region. Everyone is looking for a good rain. It has been the driest spring in recent memory and crops are starting to show it. Fields with a pre-emergent weed control program will need to be monitored closely.  Weed control has been surprisingly good in those fields with a pre-emergent herbicide considering the lack of moisture but weed escapes are now evident. Different chemistry requires more moisture to activate than others. For example a product like Dual will need more moisture than Atrazine. Pre-emergent herbicides can sit for a month before they are activated so they will still supress weeds later in the season once it rains. Winter wheat has headed or is coming into head and is very short. Most edible bean growers are waiting for a rain before they start planting although a few adzuki beans and white beans have been planted.

Soybeans: Growers should be encouraged to check their fields for frost damage. Many have not done so yet. It should be evident over the next few days which plants will survive if there is still any doubt. No-till is far worse than conventional tillage. Side by side comparisons can go from completely unaffected in areas with no residue to completely dead in no-till. It was noted that frost damage was far worse due to residue on the surface not because of the form of tillage. Even fields that were worked but had considerable residue have suffered damage. The residue appears to have acted like a blanked over the soil to keep in the radiating heat from the soil during the frost event.  The soil type, slope, elevation, and residue cover all played a factor on which parts of the field were impacted. Some growers have already reseeded over 300 acres and larger growers will have considerably more to replant. The worse affected fields are those planted during the first week of May or before, especially in no-till. Plants that are killed down to the cotyledon will recover.  There will be new growth just above the cotyledons.  Plants that suffered damage below the cotyledon will not survive.   Individual plants can be dead in the row even though other plants right next to them can be fine. This is likely due to microclimates in the field. The reseeding benefit for soybeans is $85 per acre. Many seed companies offer seed discounts for reseeding. The reseeding benefit for wheat is $88 per acre and $120 for corn. Reseeding benefits are prorated, so if only ½ a seeding rate is required the benefit is also ½. The very dry spring has also resulted in no-till soybean fields looking tough unless the drill was set deep. Uneven germination and emergence are the main concern. There was more corn residue than usual this spring making seeding a challenge. The corn root balls also seemed to come up more when seeding. This could be due to the wet growing season last year. More roots remained near the surface. With the problems of seeding and frost there is frustration over no-till production again this spring. Keep in mind this is not the time of year to judge no-till. It often looks poor at this time of year and ends up yielding well in the end.

Cereals: Rye acreage is higher this year and estimated to be around 65 000 acres. Some fields have been impacted by the frost with the pollen being destroyed. In those fields there will be no grain yield. Wheat is very short this year but it’s more advanced than it looks. It’s too late to apply herbicides once the wheat heads. There were 1250 damage reports to Agricorp this spring. That represents about 12% of the total crop. About half of reported acres typically get reseeded. Growers are interesting in mixing foliar feeding products with foliar fungicides, for example a gallon of 28%. Don’t mix. Surfactant burn can be significant. Generally speaking there should be nothing else in the tank than a fungicide. Pollination is a sensitive time of year for the crop. May is on track for about 500 CHU’s compared to the 400 normally. Fungicide timing is earlier than usual this year. With the dry conditions will there be a return to foliar fungicides? It’s impossible to predict what the weather will do. We know that if a high rate of N has been applied and no fungicide is applied then there will not be a gain to the extra N. Stripe rust is also more tolerant to dry conditions, so if that becomes an issue spraying becomes very important. It all comes down to what the weather will do.

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Stratford Crop Technology Contacts:

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

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