Mt. Forest Crop Advisors Ag Breakfast Meeting Minutes – May 8

While to the west in Huron and along the lake, equipment is rolling hard, to the central and eastern parts of the area, little if anything has been done. Significant acerage that as of Tuesday had not seen a tractor tire turn yet this spring.

 Winter Wheat

Late planted wheat (October 15-20) has been slow to green up and grow. Variability in these stands started to show up this week. Fields planted without seed-placed phosphorus are also at higher risk, especially with the later planting dates. The decision of whether to keep these stands or switch into corn depends on a variety of factors: date, cost of the reseed, demand for straw, and whether the cereal is to be fed on farm or sent to an elevator.  Stands that uniformly have a minimum of 5 plants/foot of row are considered a threshold that will deliver at least 80% of yield potential. This still makes decisions difficult as it depends on the uniformity of the stand and the areas of poor vs very good wheat within a field. Some fields have been switched out but it’s not a large trend. In general thought to be only about 8% of the crop that is suspect of needing reseeding and much of that was in eastern Ontario. Mostly a problem where drowning or icing occurred over late winter vs heaving damage.

Agricorp reported very few fields that had been released for reseeding, and mostly being seen because of poor stands in low areas of fields that are just too big.

Seed placed P is really showing its benefit in late planted fields where it was used. Pics on twitter by Peter Johnson show the amount of contrast from the long term P trials.

Attempting to patch poor areas of wheat is an option if you can feed the grain on the farm. If the crop is destined for the elevator, people should be encouraged not to patch and should replace as quickly as possible. Mixed wheats delivered to the elevator are very problematic.

While too late for this season, using a drone to get a different view of a wheat field in spring brings are different and clearer picture of how the crop is really looking and should be considered in years to come. Apps available from Pioneers Encirca allows calculation of stand from aerial view.

Most wheat has nitrogen on and should be done by the end of the week. Some of the fertilizer went on when the ground was too wet and its standing out now, other fields there is some burn. Next step with the lush growth will be scouting for and deciding if a T1 fungicide application is warranted.

While no stripe rust has been reported in Ontario to date but has been detected in Kentucky and southern Illinois. It arrives in Ontario as spores riding on weather fronts so it may be coming soon. Other things that are more likely to be at issue currently is the possibility of Septoria and other early season foliar diseases.

Weed control has been good and the weather during spraying has been better than last year when several days of cool overnight temps kept sprayers out of the fields during the optimal timing. Where fall herbicide was not used, check these fields for winter annuals and get applying right away. Lush growth is smoothing spring annual weeds in most cases.

Spring Grains

Most of this is planted and acreage is thought to be about normal to slightly lower despite the later than normal planting date.


Fields in the region are getting planted.


The amount planted really depends on the area. In Huron county and up along the lake a lot of corn in, approaching 25% Monday with expectation of up to 50% by end of the day Wednesday. Mostly under good conditions although the first acres for many were likely put in a ½ day too early. Further east in the region where heavier soils are the norm, much of the land had not seen any wheel turn yet this spring. Some of it still needed several days to be fit to enter with equipment.

There have been some questions about 2,4-D ahead of corn planting, but the recommendation is plant and wait for the corn to emerge before applying. Don’t put dicamba on and then work ground ahead of corn, it’s a pre-emergent product not a ppi. There are lots of options for weed control in corn so plenty of opportunity to match the program to the issues field by field.


Planting really hasn’t started. Even with tight planting windows, it is important not to skip pre-plant herbicide applications. This is very problematic because of resistant fleabane where guys don’t have Xtend soybeans.  If you have fleabane, treat it as if it’s resistant. Be aware of the added cautions around use of dicamba in terms of potential movement off target because of drift and weather inversions. Despite the cool weather to date, there have been a couple of days when weather inversions did occur.

Weed control needs to be a system, and we need to realize that in most cases, weed control has become a standard two pass program to ensure we stay on top of fleabane especially. There is significant grower resistance to the two pass systems especially the ones over $20/ac but it is becoming of reality of soybean production.

Canada fleabane rosettes, with the increase in air temperatures, are beginning to grow quickly. Delays in controlling such weeds will increase the probability of poor control. The pre-plant tank-mix of glyphosate + Sencor 75DF (220 g/ac) + Eragon LQ + Merge has been the most effective way to control glyphosate resistant populations of this weed (University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus). If growing Xtend soybeans (dicamba and glyphosate resistant), pre-plant applications of Engenia or Xtendimax at their highest label rate are also effective.


Pasture and hay fields have had a slow start, with very little grass growth until the last day or two. Management is critical to minimize damaging wet pastures: daily moves can reduce pugging damage, and research suggests that cattle can consume their daily forage needs in two 3-hour grazing periods/day. Known as on-off grazing, this is another strategy to reduce pasture damage when hay inventories are tight, but field conditions aren’t good.

There are some concerns about alfalfa winter injury, particularly on fields that were cut late in the fall or had late manure application. Last years wet conditions and potato leafhopper damage were hard on new seedings so these fields should be monitored closely. Supplies of high quality hay/haylage are tight. Fields planted 2015-2017 may be in tough shape though many growers are resisting rotating out because of low inventory, choosing instead to add Italian ryegrass and other grasses to maintain yields. Fields that need the closest monitoring are those that had late cutting, manure application or have poor drainage.

Fertility is often a concern on forage fields. Generally potash is the most limiting nutrient. Use a soil test to ensure the crop has adequate P and K before worrying about secondary nutrients like sulphur and boron. The window for producers applying Priaxor fungicide to alfalfa is now, as preliminary research suggests the biggest yield boost when applied 21 days before harvest (PHI is 14 days), and when the crop is 4-8” high.

While the best insurance against low forage volumes is likely a few more acres, the Agricorp forage insurance plan is a very reasonably priced risk management strategy.

 Weed Control

Fleabane is very common in central Ontario; most farms have it, whether you know it or not! What is unknown is how much of the fleabane is glyphosate resistant. Fleabane questions are coming from all over so awareness is getting better. The simplest approach is to treat all fleabane as if it is resistant: by the time you figure out the glyphosate didn’t work, it’s usually too late to try anything else, especially in soybeans. Some plants are already bolting, so the window to spray is closing fast. To prevent weed pressure from reducing yield, a minimum two-pass system is usually needed. Even though we are in a compressed planting window, pre herbicide programs in corn and soys need to be maintained to keep on top of this weed.

Don’t let this weed go to seed, and encourage your neighbours to do the same. Agricorp indicated that train wrecks with this weed are already happening and they are going to impact peoples rates and ceilings.

People have to be encouraged that fleabane control is important in all crops to keep the population manageable.


There have been some winter wheat reseeds in low lying areas. Planting deadlines are available here.

Uptake of the forage insurance programs has increased. It is an inexpensive risk management tool, and worth investigating for forages and cover crops.

Agricorp is hiring an Adjuster for Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry, and Ottawa.

Funding Opportunities

Canadian Agricultural Partnership – The first intake window closed yesterday (May 8). The next intake will be August 7-28. Funding is available for eligible projects involving continuous rinse systems for sprayers, cover crops, and plant health initiatives.

Species at Risk Farm Incentive Program (SARFIP) – Applications are being accepted until December 14. Eligible projects include setting up rotational grazing systems, fencing to exclude livestock from surface water, windbreaks, and habitat creation.

Upcoming Events

May 23 – Next meeting is 7:00am breakfast (7:30am business) at Arthur’s Pub, Best Western Plus Inn, 930 Burnham Street, Cobourg

July 4&5 – Southwest Crop Diagnostic Day at Ridgetown Campus

July 10 – Forage Expo (West) at Brakke Farm Inc., Grand Valley, ON

July 12 – FarmSmart Expo at Elora Crop Research Station

July 19 – Eastern Ontario Crop Diagnostic Day at Winchester Research Station


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