Cobourg + Winchester Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting – June 24, 2020

This was the last spring breakfast meeting for the Cobourg + Winchester calls. A season recap call will be planned for late November or early December. Thank you to everyone who participated in these virtual meetings this spring. If you have any feedback, please contact Sebastian Belliard (, Ian McDonald (, or Christine O’Reilly (  


Rainfall has been variable across the region. Everyone on the call agreed that crops could use more rain than they have received. Despite low rainfall, most crops are still looking pretty good. This was attributed to the excellent conditions at planting, which generally encouraged good root development. 

map depicting accumulated rainfall across Ontario between June 8 and 22, 2020


Most of first cut is finished in the region. Yields are generally better than expected. Fields with a good fertility program (i.e. based on a soil test) saw the benefit through the additional yield. Early tests back from the lab suggest quality is good. Rainfall is needed to encourage regrowth for second cut. 

There was an increase in the number of seeded acres this year. Much of these are under a cereal or cereal/pea nurse crop. Reports suggest these have caught well, and just need rain to continue good establishment. Nurse crops should be harvested when the cereal component is between flag leaf and heads-emerged to maximize forage quality and minimize competition with the seedling perennial stand. 

Potato leafhopper has been found in pockets of eastern Ontario. Some of these populations are already higher than normal for the time of year. Potato leafhopper damage is frequently confused with drought stress, so producers need to scout their alfalfa regularly to stay ahead of leafhopper damage. For grassy forages (including cereals), true armyworm is the biggest insect threat right now. More information on scouting and control thresholds for both potato leafhopper and true armyworm can be found HERE 


Overall, winter wheat looks good. There are some concerns about grain fill due to a lack of moisture and stress from high temperatures.  

Spring cereals are between flag leaf and heads-emerged. Some fields are very short, which will affect straw yields. Not many fungicides have been applied yet, as growers are waiting for good application conditions and risk has been low.  

Armyworm pressure is reportedly higher in wheat fields with other grasses present, and they will also feed in mixed forages. Moth flights extended through April, May and June so there are still some small armyworm larvae being found. Their behavior is sometimes unpredictable, and in some cases where they are above threshold, they are not causing much defoliation damage. Be sure to scout diligently. The flag leaf must be protected to protect wheat yield. The effect of defoliation on yield is tied to the time at which defoliation occurs. Studies have shown that up to 75% defoliation can occur without yield loss, however yield will be lost if defoliation occurs prior to or during anthesis whereas defoliation during late grain fill stages will have minimal yield impact. Head clipping is uncommon but would cause greater yield loss, and again, maintaining the flag leaf is important. Samples are being collected to see if parasitism is occurring but reports of armyworm being parasitized have not been commonly noted to date. There are multiple insecticide options for armyworm. 


Soybeans range from first leaf to third trifoliate stage on average. The crop seems to be handling the dry conditions well. Some herbicide injury is showing up on soybeans due to the cold temperatures earlier in the year. Injury from corn herbicide carry-over is more common this year because of late corn planting in 2019. 


Corn in the region is approaching knee-high; some of the most advanced corn just north of Lake Ontario is nearly waist-high. Some herbicide injury is visible on corn as a result of cold temperatures earlier in the year. Heavy wireworm and grub infestations have been found on sandy knolls.  

Crop advisors are getting a lot of questions right now about leaf wrapping and yellow flash on corn leaves. While this may look similar to herbicide injury, these symptoms being observed in many fields are what is called rapid growth syndrome. As corn plants entered V4 to V6, when the plant is preparing to grow rapidly, temperatures changed from hot to cool. With heat and moisture the corn will grow out of the leaf wrapping and chlorophyll will bring green colour to the yellow leaves. When growing out of the leaf wrapping leaves may tear or have a wrinkled look. Rapid growth syndrome is more apparent in some specific hybrids, and hybrids planted side by side can look dramatically different. It was reported that fields that were severely impacted by rapid growth syndrome last week are looking better this week.  

“Fallow corn syndrome” has shown up in some places that were unplanted in 2019. Corn growing in these areas is not thriving. While it is unusual in Ontario, it does occur in the U.S. and is thought to be caused by lower or less-active soil microbial populations, particularly mycorrhizal fungi, due to not receiving carbon inputs from growing plant roots. 


Flea beetle has been a challenge this year, especially in fields that may have been planted too shallow. 

Meghan Moran is looking for canola fields within a reasonable drive of Kemptville/Winchester. Interested growers can contact her at  

Edible Beans 

Reports suggest growers are 50-75% finished re-sprays on white beans and adzukis. There have been some instances of herbicide injury on edible beans due to the earlier cold conditions this spring. 


Growers are asked to report their final acres to Agricorp as soon as they finish planting (grains and oilseeds, spring-seeded new forage seedings) 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 or online at 

Other deadlines to be aware of: 

June 30 

  • Premium due for Forage Rainfall insurance 
  • Risk Management Program applications/changes due; first quarter livestock sales reports due 
  • Year-end AgriStability report for 2019 due 

July 3 

  • Enrollment deadline for 2020 AgriStability 

July 10 

  • Premiums due for spring-seeded new forages, grains and oilseeds 

For full list of Agricorp deadlines, see 

Upcoming Events 

  • University of Guelph Wheat Breeding Program 2020 Field Day. Monday, June 29. 10 am – 12 pm via Zoom. Virtual field tour and program update. Register by emailing 
  •  Details on virtual Diagnostic Days and registration can be found here.