Exeter Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting Minutes –August 13, 2019

Thank you to Martin Harry for chairing the mid-summer meeting and to Bill Norman (Belchim Crop Protection) for sponsoring breakfast. Thank you to those who came out to all the meetings this season.    

Synopsis: The status of crops varies in the region with some areas not looking too bad while others are showing signs of moisture stress with growers reporting less than ½ inch of rainfall since the beginning of July. Fields with compaction from the wet spring continue to look uneven. Overall weed control has been good with adequate moisture levels at time of application of the pre-emergent and pre-plant incorporated herbicides.  Very few reports of fields needing re-sprays. Wheat harvest is nearing completion in the region with the exception of a few acres. Yields have been better than expected for many and straw yields have been strong. Now that wheat harvest is complete growers are taking the opportunity to soil test, spread manure and seed cover crops.  The average fertility levels of all soil samples continue to go down so growers are encouraged to soil sample to get caught up on fertility.  3rd cut haylage has started and oat seed is going out the door for forage after wheat.  Oat seed is in short supply so growers should contact their local supplier to check for availability.

Corn: Fields in the region were planted in tough conditions.  Compaction continues to show with fields being uneven and short.  Late planted corn in the region still needs 55-60 days of decent weather to reach full maturity.  Fungicide applications are wrapping up with some reporting that the number of acres sprayed has slightly increased in the area.  Western bean cutworm (WBC) counts spiked in the region last week causing some concern for late planted fields.  Growers should continue to scout.  Egg masses have been difficult to find again this year in corn fields despite high trap catches. Scouting before making a spray decision can save both money and the natural enemies that are doing the job for you. If after three scouting trips, a cumulative 5% of the plants scouted have egg masses on them, a spray is required during fresh silk stage.  For more information on WBC please see: https://fieldcropnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/WBC-Scouting-and-Management-2019-Corn-Final.pdf.   For information on how to enter your trap data into the Great Lakes and Maritimes Pest Monitoring Network please see: https://fieldcropnews.com/2019/07/instructions-on-how-to-enter-traps-data-on-the-great-lakes-and-maritimes-pest-monitoring-network/. As we get closer to corn silage harvest growers are encouraged to look at whole plant moisture levels to get the best quality forage.

Soybeans: With the lack of moisture in many areas, pod set and seed fill has been impacted.  Pod counts and beans per pod numbers are down with some reporting fields with 1 bean pods and 2-3 pods per node.  Nodulation in some fields has also been low.  Growers and agronomists have been on the lookout for insects and diseases in the area.  Bean leaf beetle, Japanese beetle, phytophthora and rhizoctonia have been found in some fields.  Information on thresholds and control options can be found in the OMAFRA Agronomy Guide for Field Crops and in the Field Crop Protection Guide.   There was a report of Engenia being sprayed in mid-July during very hot temperatures resulting in some off-target movement to neighbouring fields.  Growers are reminded to follow all label directions.  There was discussion about planting decisions that had an impact on canopy closure as some fields are struggling to close. 

Cereals: Winter wheat harvest is nearing completion in the region.  Yields have been better than expected for many.  September planted wheat ranges from 100-130 bu/ac, early October wheat ranges from 80-100 bu/ac and late October planted wheat ranges from 30-70 bu/ac.  Straw yields have been strong with some reporting 4000 lbs/ac.  Quality has been good to date with little to no fusarium and protein in hard red wheat has been  good.  Growers have started to take the opportunity to soil sample their wheat fields, spread manure and plant cover crops.  With the late planted soybeans growers have started to look at alternatives for winter wheat planting with some planning to plant after corn silage.  In those situations with less than ideal rotations (i.e. wheat after wheat or corn) growers should use a fungicide seed treatment, ensure their P and K levels are adequate and select varieties with moderate resistance to FHB to help reduce their risk.  Growers should target the optimum seeding date for their region and avoid planting winter wheat more than 10-14 days prior to the optimum seeding date.  This will help with reducing the risk of lodging, snow mould, barley yellow dwarf virus and take-all virus. To determine the optimum seeding date for your region, refer to the Optimum Planting Date Map. Seed supply is tight for some varieties, growers should contact their seed suppliers if they are still looking for seed.  Spring cereal harvest has begun in early planted fields with yields being reported as average so far.

Edible Beans: Lack of moisture in the area is pushing edible beans to finish quickly.  This will likely have an impact on pod set and seed fill. Most edible bean fields got an early fungicide application to protect against disease.  Some fields are showing signs of root rot.  Growers are reminded of the restrictions on glyphosate in edible beans as a pre-harvest herbicide treatment.  Eragon is now the main option for pre-harvest herbicide treatment. Speak to your bean dealer if you have questions about alternatives, as there may be some options in specific market classes.