OMAFRA Field Crop Report – April 30, 2020

corn planting

Corn: Planting began at the tail end of the week of April 20 and continued at a good pace until the widespread rain event on Wednesday/Thursday during the week of April 27th. Many agronomists have commented that soil conditions have been exceptional given the calendar date and what recent spring conditions have been like. As is typical, there is a wide range in planting progress among farmers across the province. Some have not begun, while a few producers having finished planting their intended acres. Provincially, it is estimated that 10-30% of the intended acres have been planted. To minimize yield losses from weed competition, corn should emerge in a weed-free environment and then kept weed-free until the 7-8th leaf stage of growth.

corn planting
Figure 1. A field being planted to corn on April 27th.

Growers are reminded of European Union (EU) trait approval requirements for exporting corn. There are many individual traits approved for EU export, but separate approval is required for stacked traits, even if their individual traits are approved. Not all stacked traits available in Ontario are EU approved, and some non-approved hybrids have become more popular recently. Given Ontario corn is exported to the EU, growers should verify for EU approval with seed suppliers and end-users as some are posting restrictions on hybrids not accepted in EU. To verify what hybrids are approved, select “grid view”, and look for check marks under the “EU Approved” column at the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) corn hybrid database.

Winter Wheat: With many winter wheat acres having received a nitrogen application, grower’s attention will shift to disease and weed management. Although winter annual weeds are already present, the emergence of annual weeds has just begun and as soil temperatures increase, species like common ragweed will emerge.  When applying herbicides, it is important to pay attention to air temperatures, as adverse conditions can increase the risk of crop injury. Avoid making applications if large fluctuations in temperature (>10°C) are forecasted and/or the nighttime temperatures are predicted to dip below 5°C the day before and after you intend to make the application.  Scouts are watching for T1 fungicide timing and frost-free nighttime temperatures in order to time fungicide applications. Models are not yet showing risk of cereal leaf diseases, but it is important to monitor your fields for disease and fungicide timing.

N application to wheat
Figure 2. With the majority of Nitrogen having been applied to winter wheat (above), the next field activity will be scouting for weeds and diseases.

Spring Cereals: Seed is in high demand, and in the past week seed dealers have been filling large orders. Some varieties are sold out, and some dealers are entirely sold out of seed. Oat and barley seed sales are anywhere from 25-40% higher than normal. Corn acres are being switched to spring cereals with growers looking to forward contract spring grain at relatively strong prices. The majority of spring cereal acres have been seeded this spring.

Plant growth regulators (PGRs) are now registered for all types of spring cereals but it is important to check with your buyer whether they will accept grain treated with PGRs, particularly for oats and malting barley. Cereal varieties have different lodging risk and not all varieties respond to PGR application. Review lodging risk for each variety at

Soybeans: Planting progress is reported to be 5% or less. Some reported that corn stalks are brittle and soil conditions are very good. Annual weeds are just starting to emerge so “burndown” herbicide applications are not yet complete. To minimize yield losses from weed competition, soybeans should emerge in a weed-free environment and then be kept weed-free between the 1st and 3rd trifoliate stage of growth.

Forages: While provincially alfalfa winterkill seems to be average or below average, reports suggest high levels of winterkill in Prescott and Russell. Cool, dry conditions over the last week or so have slowed GDD accumulation and growth. Traps in New York have detected true armyworm already this year. Armyworm feed on grasses, so producers should anticipate scouting for larvae in the next two or three weeks in fields that had green vegetation (including weeds) in the month of April.

Canola: Planting is in the very early stages in Northern Ontario but is 75-80% complete in Bruce County. It is estimated that more than half of canola acres in Wellington, Grey and Simcoe are also complete.

Winter canola is bolting, and green buds are visible, but it has not flowered yet. Producers should watch for cabbage seedpod weevil now through early pod formation. Information on cabbage seedpod weevil can be found here and is applicable to both spring and winter canola.

manure being applied prior to corn planting in 2020
Figure 3. Field conditions have been ideal for getting manure applied.





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