Mt Forest Agbusiness Meeting

General Progress

The weather has held things back the last two weeks. Surprising to the group was how little has been done on corn planting progress since the last meeting. Everyone has been surprised how patient most farmers have been to let the ground get “fit”, as well as for temperatures to warm for fungicide and herbicide applications in wheat. But that patience has started to wear thin since the calendar changed from April to May on Saturday night.

Good news is that most of the nitrogen is on the wheat. Forages seemed to have made it through the winter well. Lots of manure is “out” but more still to go. Some broadcast fertilizer spreading and herbicide spraying has happened to corn ground. The ground has generally not been “fit” for planting but warmer temperature forecasts should have everything in good shape by late this week resulting in a full frenzy of corn planting to come.


Essentially no complaints on wheat outstanding or continuing to come in. There are still wheat inspections going on for acres that were not reported last year, or were late planted and not yet insured. The deadline for this was May 1st. Winter wheat acres (and other crops) have to be insured to be part of the Risk Management Program.

Watch for planting deadlines, i.e. spring cereals May 25th. Customers received a map of planting date deadlines by geography with their renewals or check the website ( ).

Winter Wheat

Fields that had been looking a bit tough with the freezing or cold overnight temps the last two weeks are starting to improve. Still seeing the impact of last fall’s planting date with later planted wheat  still looking a bit purple. Earlier planted wheat has really greened up and has more nodes. All agree this has to be the best wheat crop yield potential wise in many years. Nitrogen applications are generally complete, but many have finished up with single applications as people felt they lost a split application window.

Weed growth varies by area. Further south is seeing more annual weeds emerging,  and the biennials are growing fast. Further north, it’s still early for herbicide spraying as soil temperatures have reduced weed emergence. Some felt the weeds were getting out of hand in their locale, so scouting is important to stay on top of staging. Chickweed, fleabane and dandelion are commonly reported, and lamb’s quarter is just beginning to emerge. There continues to be concern about possible injury from spraying while there are cool overnight temperatures so growers continue to be encouraged to wait a few days. The generally cool conditions mean that weed growth is not moving quickly beyond the optimal stages for weed spraying. Many of the fall germinated biennial weeds are getting beyond where herbicides can control them, i.e. chickweed once flowered is beyond control and has done its damage.

Some reports of powdery mildew and just a trace of septoria to the south but no real spraying has happened.

A lot of calls about using Ethryl for lodging control with the amount of top growth out there and excellent growing conditions leading to tall wheat. It is too cold and too early for use right now. Applications should occur around flag leaf with temperatures above 17C. No tank mixes are registered with Ethryl. Some have tried tank mixes but there can be problems with crop injury. Herbicides should not be tank mixed for fear of injury.

Spring cereal planting is reported to be more than 80% done. For the most part they have gone into good soil conditions, although some concern about compaction from manure applications on less than fit soil. No seed has been returned yet so it is expected that acreage is high, similar to 2013 and 2014 levels although fewer acres of oats because of a large crop last year


In general corn planting was at 10-15%, and on the best, most fit fields. Other ground is nearly ready but not quite. While patience has been good, the guys have the iron out and are now wanting to put it to use even if the ground is not quite ready. There are concerns over compaction from manure application this spring on less than fit soils.

There has been a good run on pre-plant herbicide spraying and some fertilizer application so people should be in good place to plant as the field conditions improve this week with the forecasted weather.

One thing to encourage farmers to do is check their planters for depth and uniformity of seed placement. Large planters make it more onerous to check all the rows but it should be done. Check planting depth in the field, not on the headland and check it as field conditions and soil types change. Mistakes at this point you will watch and pay for all season. There continues to be talk of a “dry” summer so it is important to have corn seeded to the correct depth so that roots establish in the right place to chase moisture later in the season if conditions warrant. The worst scenario is wet planting conditions and dry summer which sets plants up for shallow root systems. Make sure seeding depth doesn’t add to that potential problem later on. Everyone needs a break, so getting out of the cab every 3 hours to check depth on each row is a good idea.

Regarding neonics, there are reports of many producers who intended to plant some treated seed but are now looking for untreated because they no longer plan to complete the paperwork.   . This is causing some trouble for the dealers who had ordered treated seed for those customers.


No reports of frost heaving yet, although there is still potential because the alfalfa has not really started to grow. There are some issues where there was ponding from earlier rains. New seedings were planted into good conditions.


Some canola has been planted but none has been reported emerged. The acreage is up slightly as conditions for planting look promising.  Seed companies are reporting not much seed supply remains.

Managing Cover Crops

The biggest discussion was around how to manage cover crops. There are many questions about how to control cover crops this spring and concerns about getting good control. Lots of annual cover crops (e.g. oats) seemed to come through the winter this year. If people didn’t get red clover sprayed last year what should they do? Even though glyphosate has a reputation as being “weak” on red clover, it is still a very effective herbicide at controlling red clover in the spring and prior to planting when higher rates are used (e.g. 1.5 – 2 L/ac of Roundup Original 360 g/L). However some farmers have been disappointed with the activity of glyphosate on red clover and have enjoyed more success by tank-mixing Callisto to glyphosate. Regardless of approach, this activity should be done sooner than later as it can take more than 10 days to see meaningful control of top growth.

Summaries of red clover control:

University of Guelph (Ridgetown):

University of Guelph (See Table 1):

Penn State University:

Next Meeting

Tuesday May 17, 7am Breakfast, 7.30 Meeting

Pike Lake Golf Resort, 9615 Pike Lake Rd, Clifford, On.

Upcoming Events

Southwest Crop Diagnostic Days (UG Ridgetown Campus) July 6 or 7, 2016

FarmSmart Expo 2016 (University of Guelph, Elora Research Station) – July 14, 2016

Eastern Crops Day (U. of G., Winchester Research Farm) – July 28, 2016