Ridgetown-Simcoe Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting Minutes – April 21, 2020

21 April 2020, 8:00 am

Due to COVID restrictions, ag breakfast meetings will be paired and held virtually by video conference on the “zoom” platform in 2020. A reminder that participants can join these meetings by phone without using the Zoom app or logging onto the Zoom website by using the number provided in the breakfast meeting listserv. The second 2020 Ridgetown-Simcoe virtual ag breakfast meeting was held April 21 with 70 participants.


More advanced fields in the deeper southwest are reported to be at Zadok’s growth stage 30-32, the ideal stage if you are considering applying a plant growth regulator.

Nitrogen application progress on winter wheat is variable. Some areas are nearly complete (first split or single applications) while areas on heavier clay soils may only be half complete. Applications going forward will be full rate, or second half of split applications made several weeks ago. There have been some reports of leaf burn from UAN this year. It was commented that in several cases burn appears to be associated with Mn deficiency (mostly on lighter textured soils) and perhaps Mn deficiency is making plants more susceptible to leaf burn. Burn is expected to be cosmetic only, with little yield impact.

Purpling of winter wheat leaves is also showing up (Fig 1). Purpling is usually caused by buildup of anthocyanins in the leaves. It’s thought this is a function of warm, sunny days conducive for top-growth and photosynthesis, but very cold nights and soils which limit root growth. It appears to be more pronounced with earlier planted wheat (more top-growth) and more apparent in some varieties. This is expected to go away as temperatures warm, with little impact on yield.

Figure 1. Wheat leaves purpling due to anthocyanin production under cool temperatures.




























While winter wheat looks good overall, dead pockets are becoming more obvious than a couple weeks ago as the crop greens up and grows and is particularly an issue in fields planted later October (after October 15). Rotation considerations and strong wheat prices are resulting in most growers keeping these fields. Some are patching holes with spring wheat to keep weeds down, particularly where there is a local spring grain feed market.

Septoria has been observed on lower leaves in a handful of fields, including on new green tissue. It was reported that WHEATcast is suggesting to start scouting for Septoria in the southwest. Septoria overwinters and should continue to be watched. Stripe rust spores typically blow in from the US, and areas where spores would typically blow to Ontario from (Kentucky, Tennessee etc.) are reporting low levels. Whether or not infections and when in season depends on factors such as inoculum load, weather and variety tolerance.

Few herbicide applications have been made at this point, mostly over concern of efficacy with cold night temperatures well below freezing the past couple weeks. Participants note that annual weeds are just starting to appear now.

There has been a trend towards fewer winter wheat acres underseeded with red clover, some reporting <25%. A significant driver has been that herbicides for controlling glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane also kill red clover. Some of these growers will continue to plant cover crops after wheat harvest.

Spring cereals continue to be planted in spring cereal regions. Recent snowfall has stopped seeding for now but will likely resume later this week. Spring cereal supply is reported to be in good shape.


A small amount of corn planting has occurred over the past two weeks, but negligible from an overall acreage perspective. Given reduced demand for gasoline and ethanol, and reduced production and corn buying at ethanol plants, there has been more conversation about switching from corn, but actual seed movement has been limited. Switching will likely depend on the weather and conduciveness for corn planting over the next couple of weeks.

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 EU, growers should verify with end-users as some are posting restrictions on hybrids not accepted in EU. To verify what hybrids are approved, select “grid view” at the Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA) corn hybrid database. Following restrictions ensures we maintain market access.


There was discussion around early planting soybeans, particularly whether soybeans are more tolerant to poorer seedbed conditions than corn. It was commented that if growers are comfortable with soil conditions for planting corn, they should also be comfortable for planting soybeans. When asked about soybean seed supply should corn acres switch towards soybeans, there were no expectations for supply issues assuming acreage changes are not drastic.

Weed Control:

Cold temperatures can have a significant impact of efficacy of herbicides, particularly glyphosate. Annuals are reported to be starting to emerge in winter wheat fields. Dandelions were reported to be in the bud stage, stems not yet elongating.

Termination of annual ryegrass cover crops was discussed. It was a common choice for in-crop cover crop in corn but has been challenging to control in spring. Research by Dr. Darren Robinson at Ridgetown College has shown temperature is very important, with control improving with temperatures. Including a group 1 “graminicide” herbicide can also significantly improve control over glyphosate alone. Due to control difficulties, growers are encouraged to select other cover crop species. Some use has continued, particularly for forage, as cover crop seed companies continue to promote and include it in mixes.

Control of glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane in corn, soybeans and wheat was also discussed. A summary of herbicide control options for trouble weeds, including glyphosate resistant weeds can be found in Chapter 1 of Pub 75A: Guide to Weed Control (Field Crops). This is based on research by Dr. Peter Sikkema from University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, also summarized below (Figs 2-6):

Figure 2. Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in wheat.













Figure 3. Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in corn, preplant.














Figure 4. Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in corn, postemergence.


Figure 5. Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in RR or IP soybean, preplant.


Figure 6. Glyphosate resistant Canada Fleabane control in Xtend soybean, preplant.


Hort Field Crops:

Hort field crop activity has been limited with cool temperatures. Sugarbeet planting is nearly complete, but some crop is still being planted. With cold soils, emergence has been very slow, but seedlings appear in good shape. Peas continue to be planted, as cold temperatures are less of an issue. Carrot and onion planting have been ongoing for the last couple weeks.


There are 206 winter wheat damage reports representing 14,000 acres in the Ridgetown-Simcoe regions, up 122 damage reports and 7,900 acres from 2 weeks ago. This increase has largely been later planted fields in the far southwest (Lambton, Essex & Chatham-Kent). Agricorp also reports that their call centre is close to being back to operating as normal (calls, fax). Refer to Agricorp’s website for the most up to date information.

The deadline for applications, changes, and premiums for Forage Rainfall Insurance is May 1.

Changes to Neonic Treated Corn and Soybean Seed Regulations:

Changes to the Neonicotinoid Treated Corn and Soybean Seed Regulations have been approved and are in effect. The update, as posted from the IPM Certified course website (https://ipmcertified.ca/news/):

Ontario has made changes to the requirements for the purchase and use of corn and soybean seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticides, imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam (i.e. Class 12 pesticides).  Regulatory changes proposed last year to reduce complexity and regulatory burden have been implemented including:

  • Farmers are still required to be certified by successfully completing the IPM Course for Corn and Soybeans, but now, this certification only needs to be completed once. If you have previously been certified your certification no longer expires every 5 years and will continue to be valid.
  • The Pest Assessment Report (PAR) or a new Pest Risk Assessment Report (PRAR), only needs to be completed once per farm property, it does not need to be repeated yearly. If you have previously completed a pest assessment report that was prepared and signed under O. Reg. 63/09 prior to April 10, 2020, you may continue to use that report to purchase and use Class 12 pesticides.
  • Treated Seed Vendor requirements have also changed. A Treated Seed Vendor no longer is required to obtain copies of the PAR/PRARs, Written Declarations and certificate numbers from IPM certified farmers; and to complete sales records of each Class 12 pesticide sold and amount.  Vendors only need to request to view these documents to complete their sales records.

The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks will no longer post a list of Class 12 pesticides.

The IPM Course for Corn and Soybeans has been offered since 2015.  Currently approximately 12,000 are certified through the program.  Topics discussed focus on integrated pest management principles for Class 12 pesticides, pollinator protection, regulations, and best practice management principals.  Any person who has not previously completed the course and requires Class 12 pesticides may complete the requirements by signing up for an online course. To sign up for an IPM Course for Corn and Soybeans, people can go online at www.IPMcertified.ca or call 1-866-225-9020.

More information on the changes to the neonicotinoid regulations can be found at:



Next Ridgetown-Simcoe Virtual Ag Breakfast Meetings:

May 5, 8:00 am

May 19, 8:00 am

June 2, 8:00 am

June 16, 8:00 am