East Central Crop Advisors Ag Breakfast Meeting Minutes – April 25th, 2018


The consensus is that not a lot has been happening to date. Rivers and streams are high to overflowing and tile outlets are running full with lots of water still in the fields. Combinations of late snow, cool conditions and lack of drying weather have kept equipment in the yard. Even the cool wet weather has delayed guys getting to their equipment maintenance and preparation for the season. There is some impatience out there and even talk of hybrid switching starting.

The ground is wetter than you think. Patience will be important to putting the crop in under the best conditions possible. Lots of concern over compaction and tough seeding conditions. While guys have considerable acres to plant, a lot of lost yield can come from putting the crop in under poor soil conditions, and the resulting compaction can impact more than just the current crop.

Everyone is fixated on “early planting date”! While this is important, planting should at least at this point not be a function of the calendar but of the soil conditions. Early planting date yield potential is quickly lost to seeding under poor conditions.

The slow start to the season has allowed the trade to get seed out to farms and have everything at the outlet ready for meeting farmers needs when the weather breaks. Inventories of supplies are good and not anticipated to be a problem across the region.

New seed treatment registrations for Lumivia and Lumisena came late so won’t be on the crops for retail but will be in numerous test plots across the province this summer. These are not Class VII products which will simplify the use of them.

Lots of discussion on sulphur fertilization. Many feel that Ontario field crops need S supplementation. The harder thing to pin down is the rate. Most agreed that 5 lbs/acre was too low for wheat and even 10 lbs/acre might be too low with some suggesting 15-20 lbs/acre. Most thought more was better and especially where people were pushing N rates. Scott Cressman indicated they are establishing some S plots across the province and he will keep the group informed on the findings. Some discussion about S source and that elemental can be problematic because the S requires transformation in soil, which can be slower under current cool temps.

It was reported that exporters are looking for soybeans so farmers should be exploring how to capitalize on that.

Despite the talk of the compressed planting window, it was discussed that farmers and retailers are well equipped to plant and manage a lot of crop in a hurry. When you consider the acreage and logistics involved it is quite amazing what the industry is able to accomplish in a short period of time. One of the biggest problems logistically in a condensed season is getting fields scouted ahead of the sprayers so everyone has to work hard to keep on top of that.

That being said, a condensed planting window puts a lot of pressure on everyone. It is important to be safe and watch out for yourselves, your colleagues and your customers for signs of exhaustion or stress. Look out for everyone!


Crop Insurance (as reported at the Mt. Forest Meeting April 24th)

In 2017 there were considerable acres that went unseeded based on the weather and late spring field conditions.  Just in the Markham to Thornbury stretch alone over 250,000 acres were affected. There were other acres that did get seeded that should have not been based on the compaction done and low yields that resulted. Farmers should be exploring the Unseeded Acres Benefit Program, especially in areas that traditionally have high frequency of difficult and late plantings.

As an example, a farmer with a 150 bu/ac average farm yield for corn would get $227.50/ac payout for not seeding under undesirable conditions based on a $4.55/bu floor price. As the customer, the farmer picks the crop they want to use as the base and their own AFY is used in the calculations. Previously the program used the dominate crop of the farm but now the producer is able to choose.

If farmers find themselves in this situation of unseeded acres, it is important that they contact both Agricorp head office and reach out to their local adjuster. Timing is critical at this point and you want to ensure that the adjusters can get to you as quickly as possible to trigger the coverage. Communication is key.

So far in 2018 there have only been a handful of claims phoned in for winter wheat. That has been isolated to a few areas with heavier soils and late planting dates.

Farmers should also be looking at the RMP program. While a lot are in the program, others dropped out a number of years ago when eligibility for participating was based on them being in the Agristability program. This is no longer the case and the coverage has benefited many people.

The Forage Rainfall Benefit Program was not as popular as expected over the last couple of years, but 2017 would have paid out favourably. Those that have done the calculations have seen the benefit and the enrolment is up substantially this year. With the weather patterns that we have seen these past few years, the coverage requires a thoughtful look.

Even with the talk of a late spring based on few wheels being turned to date, the deadline for acquiring crop coverage is May 1st, so don’t delay in finalizing your coverage plans. Even winter wheat crops that were not insured last fall can be rolled in but the coverage has to be requested by May 1st and doesn’t kick in until the field has been inspected for winter kill.

Where Adzuki beans could be covered under the general bean program previously, it now is covered specifically under the Adzuki bean program so farmers with that crop need to ensure they have acquired the right coverage.

Again, May 1st is the deadline! 1-888-247-4999 or contact@agricorp.com .

Agricorp for the 2018 insurance planting deadlines for spring-seeded grains and oilseeds can be found here .


Winter Wheat

Its reported that 930,000 acres of wheat were planted, down just a bit from last year.

Up to this week across the region there has been very little growth on the winter wheat crop. Several reported seeing the crop start to green up in the last couple of days. Those that have had a chance to walk some fields without getting stuck are reporting that in general the crop looks to be in good shape having weathered the winter and all its ups and downs. For the most part the crop was planted timely last fall and entered the winter in good shape. One thing that has been standing out is seeding depth. Fields where equipment was seeding too shallow are seeing problems. Encourage guys to check their seeding depths on all crops, its critical to good seed establishment and final yield.

Fields farther east on flat ground are suffering compared to the east central region. The flat fields and soils of eastern Ontario are often hard on winter wheat crops.

There are some acres especially on heavier ground or that was later planted that is suspect. Late October planted wheat in the area is of most concern. This wheat got to the 2nd leaf and shut down, entering winter with no tillers. This crop needs to see N first when wheels start turning. These fields have to be watched carefully over the next two weeks to determine if they get kept or switched to corn. This represents less than 10% of the area plantings.

Very little nitrogen has been applied to date, for the most part this isn’t a problem on the majority of crop which is well tillered and free from winter damage. This crop has a good couple of weeks before it gets desperate for N. However, that crop that is small and not tillered is the crop that is going to need N first. Some reported having considerable N applied (up to 30%) using frost a few weeks ago on traditionally “wet” fields.

Some surprised that Agricorp didn’t get a lot of calls in march on the brown wheat crops. They looked pretty tough then when the snow left early, but the weeks since have seen those concerns disappear.

Of the nitrogen that was applied, some was done just before last weekends snow and ice storm leading to questioning whether it has experienced any significant loss. The consensus was that the ground wasn’t frozen and the moisture that came did not run off the fields, to that the applied N has been moved into the soil and the amount that would have volatilized under the cool conditions of the past couple of weeks would be minimal.

Most are saying that if they can get going, split applications are still possible but this could drop significantly if they cant get out in the next few days.

To date provincially it’s thought less than 10% of the acres have seen the N applicator! However, that can change rapidly when the rigs get the chance to roll.

Not a lot of the group reported red clover seeding’s. One who did indicated that it was already sprouted and growing.


Spring Cereals

Acres are reported to be targeted for normal levels. A few acres have been planted and some of that for several weeks but the majority is still in the bag.



Big canola country is in the New Liskeard area and much of it was still snow covered at the beginning of the week. Acreage intentions appear to be up and the ability to get on the fields shortly will impact the final acres. A relatively good season last year with less Swede Midge problems than anticipated has given guys the confidence to up those acres again.



Everyone was surprised how much chatter there has been already about “switching hybrids”! Seems like if someone isn’t getting crop in during the later part of April, then we are way behind. The group was adamant that it was way too early to have those conversations. We have to get beyond May 20th in most of the province before that really becomes an issue as shown by Ontario research shown below and industry experience. Only place where there might be some concern would be if people had made very aggressive choices. This for the most part has not been happening after a few bad experiences in recent years.

The thing that really needs to be considered with a condensed season is ensuring that everything gets done. If the planting window gets tough people have to be planning how to get the fertilizer and weed control on in a way that addresses their individual circumstances. The group was concerned that farmers make changes in their crop plans at the last minute without thinking through all these consequences. They agreed that farmers need to be encouraged to keep their crop advisors in the loop on changes they are making so that everything can be covered. The system is important and changes without judging the impacts on all parts of the system often lead to problems and compromises.



Acreage to be seeded is about average. While still early to know based on a slow start to growth, everyone seems to agree that alfalfa made it through the winter okay. While there was good volume on hay last year, the quality was lower. Some are reporting that cows have been eating more because of the poorer quality and they will be tight on feed before the new crop starts to come in.

Adam Shea reported on some HarvXtra alfalfa establishment that was showing up well for weed control and stand and will keep us in the loop.



While soybeans are not receiving much attention yet, there are reports of guys who did not get seeded last year and carrying over fungicide treated seed having germ problems with that seed. Two people indicated that they had customers who had sent samples for germ tests and got back reports of 18 to 63% germ. Its important for people to know this so they can adjust seeding rates accordingly or elect not to use that compromised seed.

One thing to put on the radar is soybean cyst nematode. Still lots of people not paying attention to this in the non-traditional SCN areas and its impacting them. Almost everyone should be looking to SCN resistant varieties in their variety selection decisions. Many also think of SCN as a sandy soil problem, but it is causing problems across all soil types. People should be watching for it in their fields this year to be gauging how to dial it into their management in the future.


Weed Control

Fleabane is coming! Fleabane control has to be top of mind. Canada fleabane was reported to be up and growing in the south. With the anticipated condensed planting season, many of the group are concerned farmers will ignore their weed control program in favour of keeping the planters rolling. This is a big problem for fleabane control if you have the problem, and especially for those who don’t know they have a problem. Post emerge control options for this problem are essentially non-existent. Those pre application timings are critical.

The acreage of RdUp Xtend soybeans will be up this year and it is important to take the necessary precautions to minimize off-site movement to sensitive crops in adjacent fields. Remember you don’t have to apply dicamba to Xtend soys unless needed. The companies did lots of training of farmers on the proper application of dicamba. Apply early and use it when appropriate. Use the right nozzles for application. If there is a delayed spring growers need to use the right rate. A higher rate may be needed and add a second mode of action for control.

In the region, the acreage of extend beans is thought to be only about 40%. This has implications for drift and sprayer tank cleanout. Should be exploring continuous rinse systems for spray equipment (see youtube). Everyone has to be on guard for minimizing problems associated with use of dicamba in an area with lots of sensitive crop.

New Horizons:

Ontario’s Agricultural Soil Health and Conservation Strategy was released April 23, 2018. The strategy will help ensure the province’s soil remain healthy and productive for future generations. The strategy was developed in collaboration with experts from provincial farm organizations, agri-food businesses, conservation organizations, the research community and other levels of government. The strategy is a long-term framework to guide collaborative soil health research, investments and activities until 2030. The strategy’s goals, objectives and activities are divided into four theme areas to address different aspects of the issues: Soil Management, Soil Data and Mapping, Soil Evaluation and Monitoring and Soil Knowledge and Innovation. The document can be found here.


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