Exeter Agribusiness Minutes

Exeter Agribusiness Minutes

April 26, 2016

Malibu Restaurant, Exeter

Chair for this meeting was Eric Richter

Thank you to Syngenta for sponsoring breakfast. The next meeting will be on May 10th starting at 7:00 am for breakfast (meeting starts at 7:30).  Meetings finish no later than 9:00 am.

Synopsis: Corn planting started at the end of last week in this area but most growers have not been eager to seed large acreage yet. A few large growers have up to 50% of their corn in the ground but overall seeded acreage is only about 5%. The ground was fit by the weekend in many areas but cold temperatures slowed planting enthusiasm.  Planting started with a few larger growers as early as the week of April 11-15th.  West Elgin has just started now.  It’s expected that once things dry up after this rain event corn planting will begin in earnest.  Rainfall has been variable with relatively little rain reported in the Stratford – Tavistock area as well as Lambton County, half an inch in Exeter and one inch in Walkerton. Much of the province is actually relatively dry now considering the calendar date. There were two reports of soybean fields planted, but essentially no significant acreage has been seeded to date. Spring cereal and alfalfa seeding continues with about 50% of the crop being seeded further north. The winter wheat crop that suffered from excess rain on clay soils about 10 days ago has largely recovered.  Some varieties looked tough (purple, stunted, yellow, etc.) over the last two weeks but they have now recovered nicely. Agricorp has received few damage reports except for a few flooding issues. Overall the wheat crop looks excellent and is probably one of the best in recent memory.  Less than 30% of the crop will receive a split application of N this year. 70-90% of the wheat has now received N.  Overall nitrogen application rates are higher this year due to the large yield potential of the crop. There is concern over possible lodging. An early fungicide application will help reduce lodging.

Wheat:  The majority of wheat in the province now receives sulphur with the nitrogen application.  This has become “standard practice”.  Soil labs are reporting that sulphate levels are relatively low this year.  This could be due to slow mineralization or the fact that the soil cores submitted for a standard soil test are from 6 inch cores.  Ideally, sulphur levels should be tested using 12 inch cores.  This is likely not the year to skip a sulphur application. The higher rates of N application (120- 140#/acre) going on this year are another good reason to apply S. A 10 to 1 ration of N to S is a rough guideline. High levels of N can exacerbate S deficiency. There is fear that putting on too much nitrogen at once will cause stem elongation and lodging.  An early application of a fungicide can help shorten wheat and improve standibilty.  Use full rates.  Likely 80% of the wheat in northern counties will receive an early application of fungicides while in southern counties 50% of the crop will receive an early application.  Growth stage 32 is the best time to achieve stem elongation reduction with a fungicide.  This stage has not been hit further north.  Do not use Manipulator.  If mixing a fungicide with an herbicide temperatures should be warm enough now since nighttime temps are above 0.  Keep in mind that the more you put in the tank the greater the chances of crop injury.  Do not apply 28% with flat fan nozzles.  Use only streamer nozzles.

Winter annuals have bolted so it’s too late to spray them.  Fleabane will bolt soon so spray ASAP.  It might not be too late to spray chickweed.   There are huge differences in terms of growth and heat coming from the southwest going north.  Generally, it’s much better to spray wheat early rather than later.  Crop safety declines as the crop gets larger.  Perennial or winter bi-annual weeds cost the most yield.  Most annual weeds have not emerged yet.  Yield losses from annual weeds in winter wheat are generally small.  At the Huron and Ridgetown Research Stations yield losses from annual weeds are only about 3%.  Keep in mind that areas in the field with a poor plant stand will suffer much more from weeds.  There are other good reasons to control weeds in wheat over and above yield including a better seed sample and reducing the weed bank for other crops in the rotation.

If splitting N applications can the overall rate be reduced?  So far there is little data to support lower rates with split applications.  Rates should be kept the same or only reduced slightly.

Starter P or higher soil testing P responses are tremendous in trials this year.  Even though the colour in low P treatments has come back overall growth is still stunted.  Soil health is also showing large differences in wheat growth this spring.

Corn:  How much of the corn and soybean seed will be treated with an insecticide seed treatment this year? Overall likely 75%+ of the corn crop and 50-60% of the soybean crop will be treated. There continues to be consternation over the excess amount of paperwork required to access treated seed.  Concern was raised over who assumes the liability of paperwork that has not been filled out correctly or paperwork that is incomplete. Is it the grower or the seed dealer? Some growers have given up on using these products due to the paperwork.  Growers using a one pass application for their corn nitrogen fertility system are encouraged to use nitrogen stabilizer products on at least a portion of their total N.

For those considering inter-seeding annual ryegrass as a cover crop in this year’s corn careful residual herbicide selection is necessary.  Converge is a good choice or perhaps the low rate of Integrity.  Research is underway to determine the best options and possible lower rates for other products.  See the following article for more details:  https://fieldcropnews.com/2016/04/annual-rye-grass-and-clover-sensitivity-to-soil-applied-corn-herbicides/

Spring burndown of ryegrass can be a challenge especially if it gets too large.  Do not add products that antagonize glyphosate when spraying.  Using 2 L/ac equivalent of glyphosate (old formulation) works to kill the ryegrass when it’s small.

Soybeans:  What is the best strategy for variable rate bean seeding? There is growing interest from growers especially in areas with consistent white mould pressure.  Generally speaking, seeding rates should be lowered in productive, high yielding parts of the field while tougher parts of the field need more plants per acre to achieve good yields. Productive areas of the field grow tall and lush plants that are able to branch and have more nodes per plant. Keeping plant populations low in those areas also decreases foliar leaf diseases and white mould.  In the tougher parts of the field where plants are short with fewer nodes more plants per acre are required to achieve the same number of pods per acre. Since beans are so “plastic” the benefits to variable rate seeding are likely small in fields that are relatively level and consistent. The Grain Farmers of Ontario funded a project which is testing variable rate seeding in soybeans and corn so stay tuned for results over the next few years. One of the main questions being investigated is how to determine the best management zones in a given field.  Should they be based on previous yields, soil type, typography, etc?  Various precision ag strategies are now being employed by the industry.

If growing IP soybeans growers should double check with the Exporter on herbicide and fungicide restrictions.  MRL’s may not yet be established for a given market.

Xtend soybean varieties have still not gained approval by the EU.  A few companies have sent out letters stating that alternatives will be available to replace Xtend varieties this year.


With many fields having significant ground cover over the winter and early spring, be vigilant as per scouting for cutworm.

 Agricorp:  May 1st is the deadline for coverage.  Red clover coverage costs $3.61 per acre.  After the winter wheat is harvested the clover is inspected in September and claims on fields where clover is not established are paid then. The coverage is $55/ac minus deductible. The cold nights we’ve received may have impacted red clover stands so insurance is likely a good investment.  Check your fields.

May 1: New applications and coverage changes

June 15: Last day to report unseeded acreage.

June 30: Spring seeded final acreage reports due.

July 10: Premiums


CropLine – 1-888-449-0937

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

Upcoming Event

Southwest Crop Diagnostic Days – July 6 and 7, 2016

FarmSmart Expo – July 14

Eastern Crops Day – July 28

Stratford Crop Technology Contacts:

Horst Bohner, horst.bohner@ontario.ca

Joanna Follings, joanna.follings@ontario.ca

Meghan Moran, meghan.moran@ontario.ca

Jake Munroe, jake.munroe@ontario.ca