Simcoe Ag Breakfast Meeting Notes – May 6, 2015

Synopsis: An optimism that has been missing from the past few spring planting seasons; field work has started everywhere and planting is occurring into soils that have worked into a mellow seedbed. Less than ideal wheat crops are being kept for rotation purposes (fewer soybeans) and promise of excellent straw prices. On average 20 % of the corn has been planted, with a range of 60% completed to just beginning to plant on the heavier soils. Conditions have been good for all field work, including manure application, spring corn harvest. Alfalfa acres are up with new seedings going into ideal conditions and minimal winter kill of established acres. Difference in early growth between no fall harvest (8 to 10 in.) compared to fall harvested alfalfa (3 to 4 in) demonstrates the impact/risk of critical harvest date harvest. This year alfalfa winter kill appears minimal.
Winter Wheat:
• Early planted wheat is approaching growth stage 31. Late planted wheat is still emerging.
• Nitrogen application is all but complete; herbicides are currently being applied. Winter annuals (pepper grass and fleabane) need immediate attention on heavy soil types, and may already be 2 weeks past ideal stage for control on lighter or warmer soils. Growers were waiting with weed control until temperatures were above freezing and risk of injury was reduced. Most injury at 0o C is cosmetic.
• Early application vs late application of N did make a difference in crop growth, with very little N loss. Illusionary effect that wheat on hills is behind other parts of the field. Walking fields will verify.
• Growers with a lighter than normal stand are keeping their wheat for rotation purposes and for straw value. Agricorp reported 7-8% of wheat was released to date in the Elgin-Niagara region. Regionally (and provincially) 10% of wheat is expected to be re-seeded to another crop. Red clover catches are excellent.
• Some Manipulator (Engage Agro) – plant growth regulator is being applied to improve standability (straw quality) at a cost of about $14/ac. Ethrel is the other choice and is applied at the flag leaf stage. With a 2 day application window, it has higher phyto toxicity if applied incorrectly. So far this is the only growth regulator that is registered, although Cycocel is the next growth regulator coming to the market but at a potential cost of about $40/ac.
• T1 fungicide is being applied with herbicides by some growers. Timing should be targeted for good weed control. Many growers are waiting for the T2 or T3 application window. If only one fungicide application is planned, T3 fungicide timed at heading is the most critical. Research results suggest T2 + T3 gives more return on investment than T1 + T3.
• Some wheat fields have started to go “backwards” compared to 2 weeks ago. The wheat is changing from primary root system to secondary root system combined with dry surface soil conditions are making water uptake difficult and causing growth to appear stagnant. On dry soils, manganese is less available resulting in deficiency showing up. Manganese with herbicide application should correct the problem.
Spring Cereals:
• More acres planted and underseeded to forages into excellent conditions.

• Range of just beginning planting on the clay soils to over 60% complete on the lighter soils. Sweet corn has emerged under plastic
• So much field activity on the weekend resulted in tight supplies of 28%, however supplies are being replenished with no anticipated shortage of supply.
• Some early day soybeans are being planted ahead of corn so that fall wheat can be planted earlier. Good planting conditions will result in some marginal wheat to be taken out and planted to soybeans.
Weed Control:
• If conditions stay dry, soil applied herbicides will not work as well and rotary hoes may need to take out “white weeds”
• Even un-activated, soil applied herbicides will provide 80 to 90% control.

Field Scouting:  Avian Influenza, for farms affected by it, results in a lot of extra cost and production losses.  Specific procedures for dead bird composting, barn and facility sanitation and timelines for re-populating barns combined with quarantine area restrictions emphasizes the precautions required by everyone including those involved in crop scouting and field production.  Migratory birds appear to be the culprit.  Precautions will also exist into fall when migratory birds return to their winter homes.


Empty Seed Bag Return Program: (provided by Martin Harry)

CleanFARMS will collect, transport and ensure collected bags are safely converted to energy at facilities that have extensive emission controls and meet all necessary provincial and federal approvals.

WHEN – May to September 2015
COLLECTION SITES – Collection sites will be located at participating retailers in Ontario. A list of participating retail collection sites can be found at
• Empty pesticide bags: multi-walled paper, plastic and aluminum
• Empty seed bags: multi-walled paper and polywoven plastic
1- Obtain free collection bags from select agricultural retailers.
2- Ensure that your seed or pesticide bags are empty.
3- Place the empty bags in the collection bag.
4- Return your full, tied bags to a participating retailer. Bags will be accepted free of charge and sent for safe disposal.
CleanFARMS is a not-for-profit industry stewardship organization committed to environmental responsibility through the proper management of agricultural waste. Funding for this pilot program is provided by CropLife Canada, the Canadian Seed Trade Association, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. For a list of all recycling programs, visit

Next Meeting: May 20, 2015 at 7:30 am at the Little River Inn (Best Western) Simcoe