Winchester Ag Breakfast Meeting Notes – May 9, 2017

Correction to Markets section: From Many analysts are expecting soybean prices to continue increasing. Should read: Many market analysts are expecting soybean acres to continue increasing.


General Conditions:

Wet fields continue to delay field operations. Many farms in the area drain into the Ottawa River, where levels still need to go down before those can dry out. We have seen about 160% more rain in the last thirty days compared to the historical 30-day average; 60-day rainfall is 240% above average. In Ottawa, 125 mm fell in the first week of May, whereas the 25-year average is 25 mm. Elsewhere in Eastern Ontario rainfall ranged from 90-140 mm. This situation somewhat mirrors the 2011 season up to this point – when many fields weren’t planted until the end of May – but we’re already 66 mm over that season counting from April 1st (historical data from Kemptville station). Thankfully there’s less rain forecasted for this week, but most people won’t be on fields until next week at the earliest.

Very little manure has gone out, and pits are filling up. About 10-15% of fertilizer has been applied, much of it as UAN. No herbicides have been applied yet.



Generally, stored forage inventories are lower than in past years. Wet weather has delayed cattle being moved out to pasture, and in some cases they have been pulled off before the big rains. Some graziers will be sending cattle out soon regardless as they are concerned about stands getting ahead of them. In some cases cattle are being taken off pastures due to concern of trampling damage in the saturated soils.

Forage stand survival has generally been good with the exception of pockets in older stands and some thinning in new stands. Much of the damage has been in the Osgoode area. Most of the damaged stands will be replaced with no-till corn. More new forage seeding acreage is going in than was originally planned. A few people are starting to ask how long alfalfa seed survives under water – if it hasn’t yet germinated, it should be fine.

Growers planning to use Priaxor ® fungicide on alfalfa should apply it now. Alfalfa is at the 15 to 20 cm (6 – 8 inch) height and is the perfect time to apply Priaxor ® fungicide. There is a 2 week pre-harvest interval and 3 weeks after application is ideal harvest time, Maximum 2 applications per season. Registered for common leaf spot disease control and white mold suppression for better leaf retention resulting in better alfalfa quality for feed. Cost is same as corn or soybeans, at approximately $17/acre. The area more plots in the area again this year and a few growers trying it. Will be a good fit for low-lignin alfalfa where planning to leave it for a longer period before harvesting.


Spring cereals

Close to half has been planted (depending in part on soil texture and tillage system) and about half has been fertilized. No-tilled fields are mostly planted, but fields that will be tilled are still waiting. Overall, about two to four more good planting days are needed to finish. Spring wheat yields can still be very good if planted before May 25th.

There have been some reports of damage from standing water, and growers are reminded that the crop insurance deadline for spring cereals is May 15th (see below for full schedule).

A question was raised if growers are looking for straw production if it’s time to switch to barley over spring wheat. Spring wheat will tolerate a tougher seed bed than barley. Increasing the spring wheat seeding rates to 2 million seeds per acre can overcome the decreased tillering. Delayed planting will increase the need for the use of a fungicide. Oats would be preferred over barley as they tolerate wetter conditions than barley.


Winter wheat

Survival is acceptable overall. About 5-10% will be taken out, to be replaced mostly with barley or spring wheat and some corn as well. Second pass of nitrogen needs to be applied on red wheat. At this point, there is little benefit to weed control in winter wheat other than in thin stands.



About 5000 acres have been planted in the region. First corn went in on April 19th in Napanee and early plantings have germinated. Some fields were planted late last week on high sandy soils. Soil temperatures were good at 12 degrees (ideal is 10 degrees), so plant whenever soil moisture conditions permit.

Much discussion was had about switching hybrids due to delayed planting conditions. Contrary to the soybeans situation, there is plenty of supply for corn seed. “Stretch” (longer than adapted) hybrids are largely being replaced with shorter-season varieties. In Dundas County, stretch hybrids require over 3000 CHU, though in Renfrew 2800 CHU hybrids are considered stretch. Recent years have seen 3000-3100 CHU seasons.

“Adapted” hybrids shouldn’t be a concern until about May 25th. Yield loss due to delayed planting is generally minimal until the third week of May, depending on variety. The hybrid selection is flexible based on silage and high moisture corn needs. Soil type, fertility flowering date and bushel weight need to be considered. Talk to your seed dealer to discuss the suitability of specific hybrids. In most cases, they have pulled back hybrids of concern and are satisfied with the system for exchanging seed across southern Ontario to adapt with seasonal conditions.

It was recommended to reduce high plant per acre population of 36,000 plus to 34,000 to reduce plant stress, but can also be hybrid dependent. It was also noted that leaving corn to dry in the field over winter has helped improve grade in a past difficult year.

Not too much nitrogen is likely to be lost from applied fertilizer as low temperatures mean slower conversion to NO3 which can be lost. Ammonia loss from soil is somewhat less of a concern in Eastern Ontario with cool weather. Uncertainty remains about the impact of current weather on the soil nitrogen availability.

Some concern that the poorly drained soils, with current high water levels and the projected rain in the forecast could mean that growers may switch to soybeans due to extended delayed planting. The soybean seed supply could limit this option.



Seed supply is tight, with what was called a “perfect storm” for the industry: quality of seed that tested well in fall fell over winter, and some Xtend varieties were not registered. Identity Preserved (IP) soybean acres are down, although with limited seed availability IP acres may increase.

Some discussion about the effectiveness of soybean seed treatment. Late planting might show benefit in cold and wet conditions. Greater benefit to soybean seed treatments in area with high bean leaf beetle pressure. Local trials haven’t shown as much response where there is no bean leaf beetle pressure. Lower cost and the risk of crop failure means fungicide-treated seed is still worth the cost as insurance.


Federal seed act

The Federal Seed Act, Weed Seed Order went into effect December, 2016. This is the national defence to stop weed movement. Most regulations are dealt with by seed companies, not growers.

Half of the species on the list are new species – those added include many not known to be in Canada. Palmer amaranth is causing a lot of discussion, but is not on the list as it is very difficult to distinguish seeds from other amaranth seeds.



Much of the US was also experiencing wet weather, so markets were up last week. They have since stabilized as the forecast has cleared. Moving forward, the market will be reacting to weather and actual numbers of planted acres. Many market analysts are expecting soybean acres to continue increasing. The weak Canadian dollar maintains basis in our favour.

See chart for the most recent USDA statistics on corn planting:

US Crop Progress as of 9 May2017









OMAFRA Soil Specialist, Kemptville – Sebastian Belliard

The arrival of a soil management specialist will help bring more Ontario soil research to our region. The Renfrew County Soil & Crop Improvement Association is again running their Ontario Soil Health Assessment project in 2017. Soil mapping in Ottawa-Carleton will continue this year. The area to be mapped has been expanded to cover the entire Ottawa-Carleton region beyond the city, as well as the Greenbelt.


Pesticide and fertilizer update

DuPont – Barricade M good on perennials for burndown in wheat, more kick than Refine. Engarde has new all dry packaging this year.

Bayer – ILeVO® seed treatment is registered for protection against Soybean Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and soybean cyst nematode. Bayer and Monsanto deal – Bayer will have to sell LibertyLink® technology to allow deal to go through.

Monsanto – US approved technology to combat nematodes


Crop Insurance Update:

2017 Planting deadlines, see:


Page Content

Deadline Description
June 15, 2017
  • Report damage for USAB
June 30, 2017
  • Report acreage
July 10, 2017
  • Pay premium
December 15, 2017
  • Report yield


Upcoming Field Days: Southwest Crop Diagnostic Days – July 5-6 (Ridgetown College) – FarmSmart Expo – July 13 (Elora Research Station) – Eastern Crops Day – July 20 (Winchester Research Station) –

Thank you to Stephanie Nanne, P.T. Sullivan Agro for taking notes for this morning’s meeting.