Ridgetown Ag Breakfast Meeting Minutes – April 24, 2018


Breakfast Sponsor: Thanks from the group to “Stephanie Divitaris – Syngenta”

Quote of the week  – “Start clean and stay clean” – Dr. Peter Sikkema

“Be Safe! Double check – look twice when at a stop sign” – Bob Thirlwall

Synopsis: Compared to two weeks ago, it was nice not to arrive to freshly fallen snow! The winter wheat crop continues to look good.   The warm temperatures on the weekend helped and the majority of the winter wheat crop ranges from tillering to stem elongation but some fields at first node have been observed in Essex County. For the most part, growers have switched from a split to a one pass Nitrogen application in wheat to avoid having to stop planting corn and soybeans to put on the second split N application. Corn planting intentions are expected to be up for the area while soybeans appear to be the same as last year which is slightly different than what was conveyed two weeks ago. Weather conditions over the next month of course will determine final acreages. Seed corn acreage will be down as much as 20% due to excellent production levels last year plus seed company production amalgamations. Refer to 2018 Agricorp insurance spring-seeded grains and oilseeds planting deadlines. Link it

Weed resistance continues to be a concern and it is imperative everyone continue to scout for resistant weeds and manage accordingly. The acreage of Xtend soybeans will be up this year so careful application of dicamba will be critical especially with the potential for a condensed spring. Call Centres have been established by crop protection companies with dicamba products if issues occur.

Winter Wheat: Winter wheat acreage is estimated at 930,000 acres this year which is comparable to the 940,000 in 2017. As stated earlier, the for the most part the winter wheat crop looks pretty good with some Septoria on new growth and ranges from tillering to first node stage. Still some comments of frost heaving but primarily in shallow, late planted wheat especially in other areas such as Niagara. Split N applications are mostly abandoned at this point for a one pass N application.


Over the past two weeks, stipe rust in winter wheat was observed in Western Tennessee, Western Kentucky and South/South Eastern Illinois although in most cases at low levels but the field in Illinois had sufficient levels on a very susceptible variety that it and other fields in the area had a fungicide application (first node stage). We have not had any reports or observed any stripe rust in Ontario to date. These cooler, wet conditions are favourable for stripe rust and scouting will continue.

The cold spring temperatures will have slowed the mineralization of sulphur in the soil. It is being recommended to increase sulphur an extra 5 lbs on winter wheat to a total of 15 lbs/ac this spring. There still remains the question as to whether there was a difference in the effectiveness of the different sources of sulphur.

If anyone is interested in doing on farm-strip trials with sulphur in corn, soybeans or wheat to let Joanna Follings know Joanna.Follings@ontario.ca. She has a protocol she will share so that there will be some consistency across sites.

Corn: One corn field planted in the Blenheim area 10 days ago with some planters out on Monday (April 23) on the lighter ground but very little planting. Seed corn acreage will be down 15 to 20% this year as there was a big seed crop last year. Seed corn being delivered to growers. Corteva (Pioneer Band) Chatham plant looking for 50 acres for non-GMO seed soybean production. Non Class 12 insecticides such as Lumivia and Fortenza use appear to be up this year.

Soybean: No reports of soybeans planted to date. Lumiderm insecticide seed treatment from Corteva has received registration approval from the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) in soybeans for control of bean leaf beetle and soybean aphid. Lumiderm will be commercially available for 2019 soybean planting. Fortenza seed treatment (Syngenta) is in soybean trials this year.

Weed Control: Chickweed continues to grow and effective herbicides should be applied sooner than later. Canada fleabane is growing so get out and scout those fields. 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. As was stated in the last meeting and discussed again this week, the companies did lots of training of farmers on the proper application of dicamba. Their messages are to apply early and use it when appropriate. They also stressed using 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 second mode of action for control. Remember dicamba rainfast is 4 hours while Eugenia, Xtendimax and RU Xtend are one hour so plan ahead. Next weed of concern is annual bluegrass – Zidua and Focus herbicides (pyroxasulfone) appear to be the most active at inhibiting seed germination while other group 15 herbicides are less effective.

Last year there were very few issues with injury to sensitive crops due to dicamba, but if a problem or questions occur, the following Customer Service contact numbers will be able to assist, (only if there is a dispute is MOECC usually brought in):

BASF – 1-877-371-2273
Corteva – 1-800-667-3925
Monsanto – 1-800-667-4944

Peter Sikkema – Lauren Benoit found glyphosate resistant waterhemp in four counties – Essex, Kent, Lambton and Middlesex and 74% of plants tested  resistant to 3 herbicide groups (2,5,9).  Chris Kramer’s work found that waterhemp is resistant to all group 2 herbicides (cross-resistance) whereas in Group 5 there is more variability of products – atrazine does not work (resistant) but metribuzin does control waterhemp.  In corn and wheat, GR Canada fleabane can be managed quite effectively, but it is a bigger challenge in soybean – Roundup + Eragon + Sencor + Merge is recommended in RR and IP soybean,  Roundup  + Eragon provides 50 to 100% control so Sencor does help (more consistent results). In Roundup Ready Xtend soybean the high rate of dicamba is recommended for fleabane control.  In corn, farm profitability is maximized with a 2-pass weed control program (soil applied pre application and then scout to determine need for a POST application (in crop application). Peter stressed the need for early weed control since he has found a 2 bu/ac yield loss for every inch of weed height with total POST programs. Yield loss is greater in high yield environments. So “Start clean and stay clean”!

Jessica Quinn (New Graduate Student with Peter Sikkema) – I am conducting experiments to examine the control of glyphosate-resistant Canada Fleabane (Conyza canadensis) and Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida) with halauxifen-methyl, as well as looking at the tolerance of corn and soybean to halauxifen-methyl.

Nicole Langdon (New Graduate Student with Peter Sikkema) – My research will focus on the use of tolpyralate to optimize weed control in corn. Trials will explore the effect of tank mix, time of day, residual and tolerance on crop injury and weed control in corn.

Horticulture Crops: Message clear that vegetable growers are hoping that the messaging gets out on the proper application of dicamba. Some peas and potatoes went in this past weekend in south Essex as well as carrots and onions. Sweet corn yesterday under plastic, getting beds ready as well. Potatoes planted early have had issues in low areas due to moisture as well as carrots which could use a rain since crusting is a concern. There are 450 acres of sugarbeets in as of last week with a lot more going in yesterday. One sugarbeet field was planted 23 days ago and is struggling but will likely make a stand. Tomato acreage down a little 1 to2 %, one processor possibly 8 to 10% cut. No tomatoes planted but some fields fumigated in Leamington but none in Chatham-Kent. Tomato seedling production are growing in greenhouses. There will be more mancozeb this year since chlorothalonil low supply. Chlorothalonil supply down to 50 or 60% this year since plant in Houston, Texas area was shut down due to hurricane damage last summer/fall.

Amanda Tracey (New OMAFRA Vegetable Specialist in Ridgetown). The group welcomed Amanda Tracey who is the new OMAFRA Vegetable Crop Specialist in Ridgetown, focusing on tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sugar beets and table beets. She joined OMAFRA as the Acting Greenhouse Vegetable IPM Specialist in August 2017. Prior to joining OMAFRA, she worked with the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers as the Grower Outreach Intern. Amanda has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Science from the University of Guelph and a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science from the University of Windsor. Amanda has several years of experience in integrated pest management of greenhouse vegetables. After graduation she worked at several commercial greenhouses and at Crop Defenders Ltd. as an IPM Advisor. Amanda can be contacted at Amanda.Tracey@ontario.ca.

Agricorp Report (Leon Walczak): There are 680,000 aces of insured winter wheat this year which is 3,000 acres less than 2017.  Since our last meeting of April 10/2018, there were another 1,250 acres of damaged winter wheat reported with primary peril of winter kill representing 55% of those acres. This makes 2018 total year to date damaged winter wheat acres of 2,370 acres. Agricorp for the 2018 insurance planting deadlines for spring-seeded grains and oilseeds can be found here .

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.

Bee App for Beekeepers and Farmers!

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WIN – Weather Innovation Weather Summary: