The weather has not improved significantly from the last meeting, and there are still tough decisions to make on whether to keep fields of winter wheat. In the 5 days prior to the meeting, Caledonia had 2” of rain, Delhi had 2.5” and Belmont just shy of 2.5”.
There are fields that have germinated but have not shown much growth, and are sitting wet but have not yet rotted. We need more heat for the crop to move forward. If wheat has just emerged, that means it has only seen about 130-150 GDD since planting.
In the Niagara peninsula there are many fields in tough condition that were planted in mid to late October. Within Haldimand and Norfolk there many wheat acres that will be removed, and even fields being kept are not as good as one would hope. Agronomists report they are not expecting 100 bushel wheat in the region, and expect yield to be well below the Average Farm Yield (AFY) on most farms. Moving out from Haldimand and Norfolk the crop looks a bit better. Winter wheat in Brant generally looks decent. South Oxford fields were reported to be not quite as good as expected, except where they were planted early after beans. Generally, across all regions, wheat on heavy ground appears to be “going backwards” or looks about the same as it did a month ago. Agricorp staff at the meeting stated they are waiting until early May to walk winter wheat fields.
Agronomists remarked again that growers are keeping some fields because they want wheat in rotation. Some are only growing two crops and therefore want to keep the wheat. Others may be keeping wheat on their owned acres or where they plan to install tile this year. If wheat is being removed, planting wheat again this fall should be considered to maintain good rotations. It is hard for some growers to justify growing a winter wheat crop with low yield potential on acres with a high rental cost. In the region covered by the meeting attendees, fields where the wheat is ripped up will likely be replanted to soybeans. Some agronomists reported that 30 to 40% of the winter wheat acres will be removed in their areas.
Early planted wheat is approaching Zadoks growth stage 30. Where growers intended to apply a growth regulator such as Manipulator, fields may not be dry enough to get the product on in time. The Manipulator label states it is to be applied from Zadoks growth stage 12 to 39. October planted wheat that is delayed may not need a growth regulator because the lodging potential is low. Agronomists have reported that about 10-15% of fields have seen some nitrogen so far.
The value of straw was discussed, and some growers are considering what they might make on straw sales. Fields with poor growth now will likely have thin stands and short stature, therefore will have lower straw yields. There are also varietal differences in straw yield potential. Some specific information on straw yields by variety is available on www.GoCereals.ca. However, yields are not reported for all locations or years, or in all cereal types.
Straw nutrient concentration can vary greatly. Potash for example, is readily leached from straw by rainfall after maturity. The most accurate way to determine nutrient value is through an analysis. However, using average nutrient concentrations, straw value can be calculated using the following formulas:
Straw value $/tonne (P and K only) = $/tonne MAP x 0.003 + $/tonne potash x 0.014
Straw value $/tonne (N, P, K, S) = $/tonne urea x 0.015 + $/tonne sulphur x 0.006 + (value of P, K as calculated above)
To change value to cents/pound, divide answer by 22.05.
|Source: OMAFRA 2003/2004 and Falk, 2004/2005
The value of organic matter that straw returns to the soil is much more difficult to calculate. When deciding whether or not to remove the straw, it is important to remember that OM is not taken into account in this formula.
Weeds and Spray Topics
Colts foot and chickweed are blooming now, and dandelion will bloom soon. Gaps in winter wheat fields will likely be full of weeds so some weed control or seeding in the gaps can be beneficial. The group was reminded that in Niagara region glyphosate and group 2 resistant waterhemp has been found, and some biotypes are also resistant to atrazine. Also, regarding weed control, agronomists are reminding sprayer operators to use high water volumes to get good coverage of weeds, particularly where weeds are hiding under residue in the field. Some have noted weeds with 4 to 8 leaves hiding under residue.
The pesticide company reps are starting to field questions about combining products to reduce the number of sprayer passes across the field. Sprayer operators are reminded to follow the WAMLEGS protocol.
The order that products should be added to tanks is as follows:
Wettable powders, flowables
Agitate, anti-foaming compounds, buffers
Liquid and soluble
Other Crops in the Region
Tobacco ground is being worked, potatoes are being planted, and sweet corn and zucchini under plastic are being planted. Hemp seems to be a crop of interest. Agricorp offers crop insurance for hemp grown for seed and fibre but not for CBD oil at this point.
Trespassing and Occupier’s Liability Act
Turkey hunting season is beginning and the group was reminded of details surrounding trespassing. OFA have good information available online regarding the need for and use of “No Trespassing” signs. Regardless of whether people are permitted on your land or not, you have a duty to protect people on your property. More information can be found at the following links.