Cobourg/Winchester Ag Breakfast Meeting – April 14, 2021

14 April 2021 at 8:00 AM 

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, agribusiness breakfast meetings will be paired and held virtually by video conference on the Zoom platform again in 2021. The first Cobourg/Winchester virtual ag breakfast meeting was held April 14th. Future meetings will be at two-week intervals (Apr 28, May 12, 26, Jun 9, 23). 

Weather Conditions 

Spring conditions have generally been dry. There were a couple of rain events the week before the meeting. Rainfall was more significant west of Kingston than in the far eastern part of the province, where rainfall accumulated over the last 30 days is 20-30 mm less than normal. 

Map of Ontario depicting accumulated precipitation between April 1 and April 14, 2021

While it’s still too cold to plant corn or soybeans, growing degree day (GDD) accumulation has been quicker than normal. This means that cereals, grasses and alfalfa may be more advanced than usual.

Growing Degree Day accumulation from March 1-April 14, 2021

LocationGDD Base 0˚C

March 1st start

GDD Base 5˚C

March 1st start

20219-year Average20219-year Average
*early flower stage in alfalfa occurs around 390 GDDs


Winter Wheat 

Overall, the crop has come through the winter very well, with lots of positive reports from across central and eastern Ontario. The fields seeded earliest are between GS 24 and 30, while some of the later fields are at GS 21-22. Some low spots with poor drainage or late-seeded fields did not overwinter as well, and some bird damage was noted on fields near Lake Ontario.  

Most producers intending to split-apply their nitrogen have the first application on the crop, and many that apply all the nitrogen up front are finished too. More growers are including sulphur with their early spring applications. Sulphur deficiency has not been reported yet this year, but it is most common on light/sandy soils, soils with low organic matter, and in years that are cold and wet (not 2021 so far!). Most research and demonstrations to date indicate that 10 lbs of sulphate per acre is typically the most economic rate. Soils that are sandy or have low organic matter may respond to higher rates (for example 15 – 20 lbs/ac). Extremely high rates of 30 lbs/ac or more have not been shown to provide additional benefit, even on deficient soils or years when conditions are conducive to S deficiency. If producers are split-applying nitrogen, sulphur should be included in the first pass.  

If PGRs are being tank mixed with herbicides or fungicides, ensure that weather conditions are appropriate for all products in the tank. Syngenta reps indicated that adding Moddus to a herbicide should not affect the potential for injury caused by the herbicide, and that tank mixing with herbicide and fungicide is supported provided label recommendations are followed for the tank mix partners. However, adding more in the tank does increase the risk for injury so if possible avoid a 3-way mix or increase water volumes to at least 20 gal/ac. Belchim reps indicated that in some cases leaf edge burn from surfactants has been observed when Manipulator is tank mixed with herbicides; ensure conditions are ideal for herbicide application. In some PGR trials, wheat variety was a factor in whether tank mixes led to leaf burn.



Alfalfa seems to have overwintered well. Normal or below-normal levels of winterkill have translated into fewer acres being seeded to alfalfa this year than in 2020. Many producers have put more focus on their hay fertility programs to boost yield this year, and at this point first cut yield potential looks very promising. 


Many producers that were concerned about forage inventories last fall seeded fall rye or winter triticale. With the rapid GDD accumulation this spring, these crops may be ready to harvest earlier than usual. Target harvest between flag leaf and boot stage for “dairy quality” forage. 

Whether there is an increase in spring cereal acres for forage seems to vary across the region, with some reports that the acreage is holding steady and others seeing increases to boost inventories. 

Discussion indicated that many winter cereal fields are slated to go into sorghum-sudangrass, as well as some perennial hay fields that are ready for termination. Sorghum species are less tolerant of cold soil than corn, so seeding should not start until soil temperatures are consistently above 12˚C. 

Forage Soybeans 

The majority of herbicides used to control weeds in soybeans do not allow for the crop to be grazed or harvested for livestock forage based on a lack of data to support such a use. The following provides an overview of herbicides that do allow for feeding to livestock and the amount of time that must pass from application until grazing or harvest.

Herbicides for use in soybeans that allow for grazing/forage harvest

Conventional Soybean Varieties
Herbicide Trade NameGrazing/Feeding Restriction
Valtera EZ (flumioxazin) 50 days
Sencor 75 DF (metribuzin) 60 days
Select (clethodim) 60 days
Herbicide Tolerant Soybean Varieties
Herbicide Trade NameGrazing/Feeding Restriction
glyphosate7-10 days for silage, 13-15 days for dry hay
Roundup Xtend (glyphosate,dicamba)* 7-10 days for silage, 13-15 days for dry hay
Xtendmax, Engenia (dicamba)*7-10 days for silage, 13-15 days for dry hay
Liberty 200 SN**20 days
* Roundup Ready 2 Xtend varieties only

**Liberty Link or E3 (Enlist) varieties only

Weed Control 

Many early-emerging weeds are showing up earlier than normal because of the warm conditions. A poster from Iowa State University provides a summary of weed species emergence based on growing degree day accumulation (Base 10 ˚C).

CCA Volunteer Opportunity 

The CCAs are planning to engage with students at Algonquin College, Fleming College, McGill University and Trent University to raise awareness of the CCA program and career opportunities in agriculture. Volunteers are needed; the commitment is anticipated to be one video conference call/year. This could be a good opportunity to fill summer student positions for agribusiness. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Meagan Ioi (Griffiths)Pat Lynch, or the CCA-ON board. 


Some changes have been made to Agricorp program deadlines this year 

Upcoming deadlines: 

  • May 17: premiums due for Forage Rainfall insurance 
  • May 31: deadline to apply/make changes/cancel spring-seeded Grains & Oilseeds, spring-seeded New Forage Seeding, or Forage Rainfall insurance