Mt. Forest Ag Breakfast Meeting Notes – April 18, 2017

Crop Insurance

IMPORTANT NOTE

  1. Review your farm renewals!
  2. Call in damage report when you first notice it (they will decide if inspection required)

To date a few winter wheat claims, but small by comparison to other years and mostly from areas that would be expected. Tends to be low areas in fields especially with the recent heavy rains. The claims started coming in January with the loss of snow cover and some lately this spring.

Farmers need to look at their crop insurance renewals each year, but especially this year to address changes in the programs. For unseeded acres benefit, the past was that the predominant crop insured was the basis for this coverage and it was the crop of highest acreage insured. However, the program has changed such that the farmer can choose the crop against which this program is based. This needs to be reported to Agricorp before May 1st. The crop you are choosing as the dominate crop must be insured in the current year.

If this year you can’t get acres seeded and neither can your neighbours, the payment is based on 1/3 of the average. If you get paid out you can plant another crop after June 20th but it cannot be insured. The deadline for claiming unseeded acres is June 15th.

Another change is coverage for cover crops in the program which cover seeding and establishment but not yield or survivability post establishment (http://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/ProductionInsurance/NewForageSeeding/Pages/Overview.aspx).

Forage insurance is also an important consideration given the continued variation in weather patterns, especially rainfall that we have experienced in past years (http://www.agricorp.com/en-ca/Programs/ProductionInsurance/ForageRainfall/Pages/Overview.aspx).  You have to make the choice of coverage insufficient or excessive rainfall or combination of both. If you make the choice for both keep in mind that you have to have the same coverage on both. People still reluctant to purchase forage insurance but it often pays out. For example last year a premium of $40 would have paid out in most cases. Forages insured for up to $640/ac so in this sense hay is worth as much as the soybean crop. Keep in mind that ACC will lend money for crop insurance on forages upto 100,000 like they do for corn and soybeans. You also have to pick the10day window that the insurance is based on for the excessive rainfall, and choice is based on what cut is your most valuable.

If you have late planted wheat that was not insured you can still get coverage on it if called in before May 1st, but obviously doesn’t cover winter kill. In most cases it will be inspected for survivability.

2016 Crop Year

While many areas of the region achieved excellent yields despite the early dry weather, some areas within the region suffered greatly last year with significant yield hits due to drought. Predominately in Bruce, Halton, Peel and further afield into the Niagara area.

Even in areas that got high yields there was still significant variability with a few kms and better soil management (past and current) easily impacting soybean yields by over 10 bu/ac.

2017 Crop Year

Many areas reporting similar planting intentions to last year with maybe a slight shift in less corn and more soybeans and similar acerage of winter wheat. Biggest shift seems to be in the type of soybeans, with IP giving up acres.

Not much has happened yet in much of the region. Some manure going out, some N on wheat with plans for lots more the rest of the week. In the very south of the region there is word of a bit of corn and even soybeans in the ground but mostly assumed to be “planter testing”! Temperatures are still cool and holding back field work.

Reported that lots of soil sampling has occurred this spring with labs being busier than normal for this time of year. People are understanding the need to manage their nutrients better.

Discussion on soil sampling timing centred on firstly important to do every three years within the cycle of the rotation and secondly timing wise, mid to late summer best following cereal as it sets the base level for the corn crop which is a high nutrient requiring crop the next season. This has also shown to be the timing that results in the best consistency of results over time. More interest is being shown in custom soil sampling to ensure the job gets done.

Spring cereal acreage is expected to be down 5%.

Winter Wheat

Some of the areas hit with poor yields got early wheat in and it has come out of winter well although some late wheat on heavier ground might be a claim. Estimated at 850,000 acres based on Agricorp insured acres of 690,000.

Most of the wheat looks excellent with much having got tillering in the fall. While people anxious to get N on the crop, they are conscious of temperatures and field conditions and the current excellent state of the crop. Those fields planted late and looking a little stressed or not yet tillered should be prioritized for N application. Those planning split N really need to get the first application on but those going for full rate one pass and have a well tillered crop are not under the same pressure.

There is some powdery mildew in the earliest planted crop because of its lush growth. Other diseases are showing in these good stands but its too early to address them.

In fall of 2016 there was a lot of preharvest or pre-plant herbicide treatments used which has greatly reduced weed pressure this spring, and in some instances, reducing the need for spring herbicide applications. . Although it has become more common to tank-mix herbicide and fungicides to deal with weed and disease issues, fall weed control operations may have shifted  weed emergence later and therefore changing the optimum timing of each operation such that tank-mixing doesn’t make sense.

Based on the crop vigor, weed completion and lush growth, disease is the primary target of field scouting and should concentrate on ensuring proper timing of fungicide applications.

Stripe rust has been detected in nearby states so scouting for this pest is important. Once it arrives it has quick impact and fungicide timing is critical to controlling this devastating pest.

Soybeans

There is a move to plant dicamba tolerant (Xtend) soybeans. The uptake of Xtend soybeans is greater in southwest counties due to glyphosate resistant Canada fleabane and other glyphosate resistant weeds. Within this region the uptake of this technology by growers has been driven more by interest in the genetics and to familiarize themselves with the technology to see where the application of dicamba may be of benefit (e.g. vetch and perennial sow-thistle control)

Drift and thus damage to non-target plants is the big concern with learning how to work with the Xtend soybean  system. The following article (https://www.country-guide.ca/2017/02/24/pest-patrol-xtend-soybeans-spray-drift-and-controlling-glyphosate-resistant-fleabane/50493/) covers a lot of the best management practices associated with this technology so as to reduce the risk of off-target drift.

Corn

Very little activity. People ready to go and trying to be patient to get the fields in good shape. Lots of manure application ahead of corn planting is trying to get going.

Weed and Pest Updates

Chickweed that was not controlled in fall should be sprayed before tillage. Do not rely soley on tillage to control this and other fall annual weeds.  Across much of the area it is flowering at this point.

Priaxor has been registered for control in alfalfa with a 21 days to harvest interval and can be applied for any cut for the control of Common leaf spot and Blossom blight

Keep in mind that regarding fungicide effectiveness and yield boost, those hybrids/varieties with higher yield potential are more likely to see a larger benefit from a fungicide assuming its well-timed.

Soil Health

Red clover hasn’t been doing well after these big wheat crops and where the wheat is poor, the red clover often does too well and causes other problems. Many have walked away from red clover but understand they still have to do something to promote soil health and rotation. They will continue to explore annual cover crops, both after cereals, and into corn. It is a challenge to do cover crops into standing soybeans because of the intense canopy and people have been looking at quick establishment of cover crops following soybean harvest.

Work on cover crops last year by some of the group saw mixes of oat, radish, crimson clover show very little if any clover last fall but this spring with the oat/radish being killed off is starting to show. Rates were 30 lbs of a 60-20-20 mix of the species above. They stressed that timing of planting is critical and rates of seed also in terms of getting the target amount of growth (ie not flowering by killing frost. Targets tend to be late july through early august.

Ground not covered this winter with cover crop or crop residues (notil) saw a lot of wind erosion this spring with the amount of snow being low through much of the winter. Testing of the soil coming off the fields and concentrating in the fence rows and ditches showed very high for phosphorus and potassium (see http://fieldcropnews.com/2017/04/what-is-the-impact-of-erosion-on-soil-fertility/  ).