Cobourg + Winchester Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting – May 27, 2020

Photo: Uneven corn emergence in a clay loam soil.

Today’s notable quotable was from Paul Sullivan: “Cutting trash [in overworked soil] is like cutting a cucumber on a sofa, there’s nothing to push against to cut the residue”. 

If you like the maps in this article, similar ones on precipitation and temperature are available from AAFC HERE. Data is updated daily, weekly, or monthly (varies with map type). 


Rainfall has been variable across the region. Light-textured and heavily-worked soils tend to be dry, while heaviertextured soils have been holding moisture well which helped with uniform emergence. The hot weather from the last few days have brought crops along quickly. 

map depicting accumulated rainfall across Ontario between May 12 and 26, 2020
Accumulated rainfall (mm) between May 12-26, 2020.


The crop is up to 2-leaf stage, although some fields have not yet emerged. While some fields look excellent, populations are lower than expected in others. In fields where populations are low or emergence is uneven, adjustments can be made to management (e.g. nitrogen rates, fungicides) based on yield potential. There is a replant decision aid available on or HEREGrowers wishing to terminate fields with low populations with a graminicide can find more details on how to remove the corn stand HERE. 

High wireworm pressure was reported in some fields with light-textured soils. Even treated seed can be overcome by wireworms if it sits in the ground long enough, and the cool, dry start to the spring was conducive for that. 

 The risk of crop injury and/or off target vapour drift can increase if certain herbicides are applied when air temperatures rise into the high twenties. Check the product label for any application restrictions on air temperatures, or fluctuations in air temperatures. 

The following herbicides have labelled restrictions when temperatures: 

  •       Exceed 28°C: ENGARDE POST 
  •       Fluctuate by 20°C or more: ENGARDE POST, DESTRA IS 

Shifting the application of such herbicides into the evening, as temperatures begin to drop, is one way to decrease the risk of crop injury when applications need to be made because of advanced crop or weed stage. 

corn planting progress survey for Eastern Ontario taken May 27, 2020. 13% not yet emerged; 56% just emerged; 31% 1-2 leaf stage


Large amounts of corn residue are posing a challenge for soybean planting and emergence. The delayed harvest last year/this spring left little time for stover to decompose. The result is lower soybean populations. Ian McDonald and Pat Lynch are both working on video/digital content on managing corn stover in this situation, so watch for those releases. 

Poll results: what percent of soybean acres are planted in your area? 10% of responses were 66-80%; 15% of responses were 81-95% of acres planted; 55% said over 95% of acres were in; 20% said it's all done


Overall, winter wheat is looking very good, although some heaving issues were noted in Renfrew County. The cold conditions from two weeks ago does not seem to have negatively affected the crop. Sulphur deficiencies are showing up. In the southwest there have been more issues of burning with nitrogen or herbicide/fungicide combinations than normal. This damage is likely cosmetic. For those still needing to make a nitrogen application, losses in these hot conditions can be minimized by using a stabilizer or urease inhibitor. 

Poll results: what stage is the majority of winter wheat in your area? 7% tillering; 60% stem elongation; 27% flag leaf just visible; 7% flag leaf ligule visible

Some reported thin stand counts on spring cereals. These seem to have struggled more with the cold temperatures than the fall cereals did. 

Cereal aphids have been found in high numbers in the southwest. The cereal aphid threshold is 12 to 15 aphids per stem prior to heading and 50 aphids per headin early heading stages. More information about scouting for aphids is available HERE. Disease pressure is low. 

Cereal leaf beetle (CLB) can be a pest challenge in a few pockets of southwestern Ontario. However, in recent years CLB has been observed at several Ontario Cereal Crops Committee trial locations across the province. The CLB survey has been launched to collect baseline data that will help track the spread of CLB and develop solutions to manage this pest. For more information on the survey, and to participate, click HERE.

Poll results: what stage is the majority of spring cereals in your area? 22% 1-2 leaf; 56% 3-4 leaf; 11% 5-6 leaf; 11% tillering


The rain and warm weather have helped growth rates across crop species. A lot of cereal rye harvest is done or underway. Ryelage yields were average to excellent. First cut has started on some dairy farms this week, prompted by a combination of factors: 

  • Need for feed; 
  • Grasses are maturing quickly; 
  • Plan to terminate an old hay field and rotate it into a warm-season grass (silage corn or sorghum-sudangrass). 

Alfalfa is a GDD Base 5˚C crop. It typically requires about 390 GDDs to reach early flower, however day length also plays a role in initiating floweringGDD accumulation has been slower than normaland frost injury has set back the crop in some areas, so day length triggers will be more important this year. Scissors cutting is a great way to correctly time harvest based on forage quality, more info can be found HERE. 

Growing degree days Base 5 celcius accumulated across Ontario between April 1 and May 25 2020


Agricorp has extended the deadline to June 1 to apply for and make changes to coverage for spring-seeded grains and oilseeds, forage rainfall, and spring-seeded new forage seedings. The full list of planting deadlines for spring-seeded grains and oilseeds can be found HERE 

Growers are asked to report their final acres to Agricorp as soon as they finish planting to reduce the volume of reports coming in at the June 30 reporting deadline. In addition, growers are encouraged to use the online reporting option where possible to reduce call volumes and wait times. Reports can be made by calling Agricorp at 1-888-247-4999, by email to contact@agricorp.comor online at 

Grain Markets

Courtesy of Aubrie Mowat, BroadGrain Commodities Inc.

Values have been pressured across the board throughout much of this recent situation. The strong local values in corn have seem to all but disappeared and soybean values have been fairly stagnant as of late. Considering the improvement in the stock market, equities and oil there is some newly found optimism. Although some states are lagging in planting progress, the majority of the U.S. soy and corn crop is in the ground, much like around here. Moving forward the futures market will be focusing on crop condition, exports, demand and the lingering tension between Trump and China. I encourage every producer to review their sales and adjust accordingly, new crop will be coming off the fields before we know it!