Simcoe Ag Breakfast Meeting Notes – May 20, 2015

Synopsis: Corn planting is virtually complete and soybean planting is between 75 to 80% complete. Earliest planted wheat is at flag leaf stage, while rye is heading. Frost last week did not have any significant impact for field crops. Growers are finding it challenging to keep up with weed control and many planned pre-emerge programs have been converted to post emerge. Rainfall would be welcome for crop growth and herbicide activation. Alfalfa forages not cut during the 2014 critical period are approaching bud stage and some harvest will begin for 4-cut systems by week’s end.  The winter/spring season so far has been good for Lake Erie.

Cereals: Rye crops have regressed over the past 2 weeks. Crops are heading out at the knees due to low moisture and Magnesium and manganese deficiencies are visible in more fields than other years.
Early planted winter wheat crops are at flag leaf stage. Where growth is lush, there is some powdery mildew, but not a lot of septoria. Winter annual and annual weed populations are high in many fields. Most herbicide application in wheat occurred last week and is continuing into this week. Winter annuals are past the stage for good control.
Corn and Soybeans: Corn planting is all but complete and soybean planting is about 75 to 80% complete on average. Soybean planting ranges on the heavy clay soils almost completed to 60% completed in other areas. Some growers are waiting with final soybean planting, hoping for rainfall to improve dry seedbed or are spacing out planting to catch up with herbicide application and/or to spread out risk and harvest work load. Planting conditions have been near perfect as long as seed was planted into moisture. Crop emergence has been excellent for the most part.
Forage harvest will begin later this week or on the weekend as alfalfa enters bud stage. Forages, especially grasses, are shorter than normal, probably due to dry conditions. The crop has come through the winter very well. Hay cut during the critical harvest period in 2014 is behind in growth compared to forages harvested in late August.
Weed Control is probably the most challenging part spring 2015. Growers are having a difficult time keeping up with planting, and herbicide application before crops emerge. PPI and Pre-emerge applications have not had adequate rainfall for activation, and some light tillage is being done to control aggressively emerging annual weeds. Pre-emerge herbicides will still control new flush weeds when rainfall activates both. In the meantime post emerge herbicides should be applied to control currently emerged weeds before they pass the stage for good control. Too many growers are ignoring fleabane in their herbicide program, not realizing that fleabane sighted in neighbouring fields or in gardens could impact their fields. Post emerge herbicide (plan B) applications are occurring in some fields where “Eragon” or “Integrity” was planned but did not get applied before crops emerged. Some soybean fields may be replanted due to high fleabane pressure in emerged crops.
Crop Insurance: Reminder that poor weed control is not considered a peril for crop insurance. Damage reports for wheat are at 11% province wide. Damage reports for all other crops to date are very low.
Agricorp introduced 24 hour on-line acreage reporting tool which allows convenient reporting. Go to:

Checklist of information that should be at hand includes:
• Agricorp ID
• Total acres unable to be planted
• Final planting date for each crop
• Total acres of any new land farmed this year
• Variety of natto and/or tofu beans planted this year (if applicable)
• Total acres in my landlord-sharecropping arrangement (if applicable)

GFO Precision Ag project: Toward part of this project, Nicole Rabe has been lending her time to collect maps over 25 sites across Ontario. Several precision ag consultants, retailers, and equipment dealers are contributing time to this project and coordinating the collection of data from their cooperators. Watch here for more information:

  • This spring variable rate prescription maps for seed and fertilizer are being put out based on historical multi-year yield maps. The key in these 2015 prescription maps is that validation “strips” or “blocks” are built into them so that the validity of the rates recommended in each management zone can be assessed (i.e. was it the right rate AND was is a good economic decision?).
  • Those fields which lacked historical yield data are being prioritized for further data collection which in this case is concurrent topographic (RTK-GPS) and electrical conductivity mapping. Electrical conductivity (EC) mapping is good first step at deciphering soil textural variability across a field; important to both variable rate population and fertilizer strategies. The EC maps will be used to direct laboratory soil texture sampling which will verify the variability across the field. Soil texture lab analysis (hydrometer method) is a substantial investment, but unless there is significant erosion, these results will remain stable over time.
  • The spring has been fast and furious but OMAFRA specialists managed to EC map 9 (~700 acres) of the 25 sites before the crops emerged! The rest of these sites will be tackled after wheat harvest and into the fall. Dr. Slava Adamchuck (Engineer and Proximal Soil Sensing Scientist from McGill University ) is contributing his expertise and Dual EM instrument time to the GFO projec . Dr. Adamchuck is contributing expertise and Dual EM instrument time to the GFO project and his contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

Clean Farms Empty Pesticide Container Return/Recycling Program – Details
CleanFARMS partners with ag-retailers and municipalities to collect empty commercial pesticide and fertilizer containers from farmers across the country.
Step 1.Rinse
All containers should be triple rinsed or pressure rinsed before they are brought in for recycling to make sure the container is clean prior to entering the recycling process. If a container is too dirty when it’s brought to a site, it may be rejected.
To help clean the container, farmers can use a device called a chemical handler that pierces the bottom of the container and sends pressurized water up into the container to rinse the inside thoroughly. This device not only makes sure the container is clean but it also allows farmers to put any excess product back into their spray tanks.

Step 2.Remove
The cap and booklet should be removed. The glued-on label can stay on the container. The paper booklet cannot be recycled through the same recycling process as the containers and the cap must be removed because it is made of a different type of plastic. Metal handles commonly found on fertilizer pails should be removed.

Step 3.Return
Farmers should return their containers to the closest drop-off location to be recycled.

Clean Farm list part 1Clean Farm list part 2