April 6, 2021, 8:00 am
Due to COVID restrictions, ag breakfast meetings will be paired and held virtually by video conference on the Zoom platform again in 2021. The first 2021 Ridgetown-Simcoe virtual ag breakfast meeting was held April 6.
With repeating COVID lockdowns, retailers report that locations are generally closed to public. Despite restrictions, input companies and retailers expect no supply or logistic disruptions for crop inputs. Like 2020, seed and crop protectant products are being delivered to growers ahead of time. The only supply issue noted was the delayed arrival for ammonium thiosulfate, but this is due to the earlier spring and logistics – product is expected to be well stocked in coming weeks. It was also noted that COVID related factory closures or limitations have had impacts on equipment parts – for instance electronics and glass for equipment monitors – which was delaying delivery.
Significant alfalfa and forage planting has occurred with the good weather and soil conditions this past week.
The winter wheat crop, particularly early planted fields, appear in excellent shape across most areas. Good snow cover during cold temperatures this winter and slow snow melt, lack of sitting water and ice and extreme cold temperatures after snow melt (for most areas) were good for survival. Even on heavy clay soils, only a very small amount of late (November) planted wheat appears marginal for keeping. Some heavier snow mould pressure has been observed in midwestern Ontario (more information available HERE). Growing Degree Day (GDD) accumulations are about 7-10 days ahead of long term normals in the southwest.
Nitrogen (N) topdressing on winter wheat has been ongoing the past week or two in the southwest. Progress is variable. Some are reporting 30-50% complete (generally more advanced, southwest parts of the province) and expect rapid progress over the next week. Later areas to the north and east may be yet to start. Most of these applications are split applications. Growers will continue with split applications until growth stage 30 (start of stem elongation), likely another 7-10 days for the most advanced fields.
Some sulphur (S) and manganese (Mn) deficiency is being observed in winter wheat fields. Manganese is more common in fields that have had a history of Mn deficiency and are dry (where a deficiency is more likely under aerobic conditions). Both can be corrected with fertilizer applications.
Spring cereals (spring wheat, barley and oats) have been planted with the excellent soil conditions over the past week or two. Growers in southern Ontario should aim to plant their spring cereals by April 10th to avoid the hot, dry periods during pollination. Central and eastern Ontario should target April 15th and northern Ontario should target May 10th.
Winter canola fields in Kent and Essex counties look good with exception of some fields where there were concerns going into winter.
Hort Field Crops:
Recent weather and soil conditions have been great for early planted hort crops:
- Sugar beet planting has been fast paced, and it’s estimated 50% of acreage has been planted… no emergence has been observed yet, but earlier planted seeds have germinated and look healthy
- Processing peas are being planted at a fast pace
- Carrots have been planted since the middle of March
Greenhouse transplants have started for warm–seeded hort field crops such as tomatoes. With strong demand in Canada for Canadian tomato paste, there is an estimated 10% increase in tomato acreage this year.
Some ground preparation has started over the past week or two, particularly where growers were not able to complete fall tillage. Like 2020, growers are commenting that soil conditions are excellent. There are reports of the odd bit of corn planted, though this is exceptionally early and not without risk. There were questions as to whether some acres would be shifted out of corn for soybeans given current prices. Corn seed orders suggest original intentions are similar to 2020. Most seed corn for 2021 is reported to now be in Ontario.
There are reports of a small scattering of soybeans planted, in most cases a couple acres within a field for a fun test for this ultra–early window. In 2020 and past years, ultra-early soybean planting has generally not produced higher yields than soybeans planted early within the normal soybean planting window (e.g. late April, early May). Soybean seed orders suggest original planting intentions were similar to or slightly above 2020.
Ultra–Early Planting Corn or Soybeans:
The question arose if growers should be planting corn or soybeans now if ground conditions are fit, and whether corn or soybeans should be planted first.
There are real risks to planting ultra–early (e.g.. early to mid–April) planting and past research and experience suggests yield benefits of ultra-early planting over early planting (eg. late April, early May) are minimal. If conditions remain favourable and growers would like to plant some ultra–early corn or soybeans there are some suggestions for risk management:
- Ultra–early planting is not expected to provide yield advantages over early planting
- Ultra–early planting could present risk if weather changes to cooler/wetter conditions for an extended period, especially if ground or field conditions are marginal
- If you decide to plant some corn or soybeans ultra–early, only plant a very small portion of total acres in this window
- Talk with your seed supplier or agronomist about what hybrids or varieties are planted ultra-early… there can be significant differences in cold or early season vigour… some hybrids or varieties should not be planted ultra–early
- Seed quality has one of the biggest impacts on stress tolerance
- The current long–term forecast is above normal temperatures this week but returning to seasonal temperatures next week.
There have been recommendations from some for planting soybeans prior to corn. The group is unsure if soybeans have an advantage over corn for ultra–early planting. The biggest risk to ultra–early planting soybeans is receiving an in-season killing frost, which can’t be predicted at this point.
The University of Guelph with OMAFRA co-operation is starting a new 3-year project this spring to re-evaluate planting date impacts for both corn and soybeans.
Weed Control in Wheat
Some winter annual or other grassy weeds are now emerging in wheat fields. Scouting should be completed to verify, but species may include:
- Hairy leaves
- Seed heads similar to wheat and seed is difficult to remove from wheat grain… grain may be rejected at harvest if contaminated
- Simplicity GoDRI is only post emergence control option at this point… great opportunity to control right now
- Further details on how to control Chess are available HERE
- May be annual blue grass or roughstalk bluegrass… very difficult to tell difference at this stage (may require DNA analysis)
- Herbicide options can differ depending on species and stage
- Further details on how to control bluegrass species is available HERE
Some growers have been commenting that weed control in wheat following edible beans may require more attention now if dessicants are no longer used in edible beans.
Chickweed is starting to flower in some winter wheat fields
- Some are suggesting fall herbicide applications not holding chickweed back like was observed last spring
- Limited data looking at fall herbicide options for controlling chickweed in winter wheat
- Best herbicide options in-crop are herbicides with tribenuron (e.g. Refine, Refine M, Boost M, Barricade)
The first glyphosate resistant waterhemp was observed in SW Lambton in 2014. Herbicide resistant Waterhemp is now found in 14 counties in Ontario, of which 8 have 4-way resistance (herbicide groups 2,5,9 and 14).
Different biotypes of resistant populations are observed across Ontario. Can’t definitively say how new biotypes arrive in Ontario (movement of seed, feed (eg. cottonseed hulls), equipment, waterfowl are suggestions).
- First resistant population in Lambton is Ontario biotype which has been found in Ontario for the past 150 years… traditionally limited to watercourses, now adapted to cropped fields
- Resistant population in Essex is a biotype commonly found in Missouri
- Samples collected from Leeds and Grenville are different sources
No winter wheat damage estimates could be provided at the current time.
For the 2021 spring seeded coverage year, producers will receive their 2021 spring seeded renewal package in late April which is a little later than usual. As a result, the deadline for new applications or making changes to existing spring seeded crops is May 31, 2021 ( vs May 1st in previous years) so producers can assess their individual circumstances and to make informed decisions on their insurance coverage.
The deadline for new applications and changes to existing coverage for forage rainfall is May 17, 2021.
Next Ridgetown-Simcoe Virtual Ag Breakfast Meetings:
April 20, 8:00 am
May 4, 8:00 am
May 18, 8:00 am
June 1, 8:00 am
June 15, 8:00 am