Cobourg/Winchester Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting – April 13, 2022 

pasture in early spring

13 April 2022 at 8:00 AM 

Agribusiness breakfast meetings will be paired and held virtually by video conference on the Zoom platform again in 2022. The first Cobourg/Winchester virtual ag breakfast meeting was held April 13th. Meetings will be every second week until the end of June. The next call will be on April 27th

Weather Conditions 

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is reporting temperatures in line with long-term averages for the past month. Precipitation received in the region over the past month increases further east. Durham, Kawartha Lakes, Peterborough, and Northumberland had below average precipitation. Leeds & Grenville, Ottawa, Prescott & Russell, and Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry all received above average amounts of precipitation. 

Do you like to complain about the weather? The Agroclimate Impact Reporter (AIR) helps to connect Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) with people in Canada’s agricultural community. AAFC relies on its network of AIR volunteers to provide information regarding agroclimate impacts across the country. The AIR survey is open during the last week of the month over the growing season (April to October) and is intended to collect weather and climate impacts on farm operations across Canada over the previous month. Survey results are made into maps and published on the Drought Watch website the first week of every month during the growing season. 

To subscribe to the AIR email list, please send a blank email to 

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Biosecurity 

There are now confirmed cases of avian influenza in Ontario. To prevent the spread of avian influenza, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency establishes control zones in areas where it has been identified. More information on avian influenza movement control permissions is available on the CFIA website. Industry can also sign up to receive updates from the Feather Board Command Centre as the situation evolves. 

This disease has been brought into Ontario by migratory birds moving north into Canada and it poses a threat to both the commercial poultry sectors and small backyard flocks. As the crop sector scouts fields and moves field equipment around, we can do our part to reduce the spread of avian influenza by cleaning and disinfecting boots, equipment, and vehicles when we enter and leave farms. This helps prevent domestic birds from encountering wild bird feces, which can carry avian influenza. Note that if poultry manure has been spread in fields surrounding confirmed avian influenza sites, the disease may also be present in those fields.   

Cleaning with common cleaning agents such as detergents removes viruses found on contaminated surfaces. Disinfection inactivates disease-producing micro-organisms and can be achieved by using one part household bleach with 9 parts water, 70% alcohol, or commercial disinfectants following the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Visibly dirty surfaces should be cleaned with detergent and water prior to use of disinfectants. 

Please call Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre at 1-800-567-2033 to report the finding of sick or dead wild birds. 

Supply Chains 

Crop input suppliers on the call were confident that they have enough product in stock to meet grower needs. Producers are encouraged to communicate with their input suppliers and develop back-up plans for crop protection, since there may be situations where their first choice of product/program is not available. The newly launched Ontario Crop Protection Hub can help inform decisions around product substitutions. 

More producers are asking about testing soil and manure for crop nutrients. Test results can be entered into the AgriSuite software to help ensure producers are making the most of the nutrients available on farm and spending their fertilizer budget wisely. In general, the advice to corn growers is to stick to the nitrogen program (upfront vs split application) they usually use, since their input suppliers will be expecting those orders and are set up to deliver them. When it comes to fine-tuning the nitrogen rate for corn, details on how optimum N rates change with commodity prices and by farm is available HERE. There are also online calculators at that can assist with nitrogen and manure rate decisions. 

Winter Wheat 

Winter wheat fields are greening up. Many of these fields look good, though it is still too early to do a proper stand assessment in much of the region. Low-lying, poor draining, and compacted parts of fields are less vigorous than the rest of the stand. A small amount of fertilizer has started going out on winter wheat fields, but consensus is that most growers are holding off on making decisions until they have a better idea how these fields have overwintered. 

Straw inventories in the region seem to be good. There was discussion around calculating the nutrient removal value of straw when negotiating a price. Pages 112 & 113 (in Chapter 4: Cereals) of OMAFRA Publication 811: Agronomy Guide for Field Crops include details on how to calculate the nutrient removal value of straw. 

Spring Cereals 

The group estimated that acreage intentions for spring cereals are similar to last year in the region. While some well-drained fields have been seeded already, not much of the crop is in the ground yet. 

Forages and Pastures 

Hay fields and pastures are only just starting to green up, so it is a little too early to know how well sensitive species overwintered. Plant counts are the “early warning system” that indicate whether an alfalfa stand should be terminated. These can be done shortly after alfalfa breaks dormancy. Details on plant count methods and thresholds can be found HERE

Since harvest costs per acre do not significantly change with yield, maintaining high-yielding stands keeps the cost per tonne of forage low. With regional forage inventories in good shape, producers may choose to terminate and rotate out some stands that in tighter years they may have kept, and establish new alfalfa stands in other fields. Strong inventories are encouraging shorter hay rotations that keep yield potential high, since the risks associated with lower yields in an establishment year are offset by forage still in storage. 

Most cereal rye in the region is grown for forage. At this stage it appears stands have overwintered well. Some producers have reported issues getting the following crop established. Strip-till or other light tillage can help the planter place the seeds into moisture. Applying 55-66 kg/ha (50-60 lb/acre) of nitrogen can assist with establishment.  


  • Deadline to apply or make changes for spring policy coverage (Grains & Oilseeds, New Forage Seeding, and Forage Rainfall) has been extended from May 1/2022 to May 16/2022 just for this season.  
  • Pedigree Seed coverage is now available for soybeans, spring wheat for 2022 crop year and for winter wheat for the 2023 crop year.  
  • Maximum Production Insurance coverage levels for adzuki beans, black beans, cranberry beans, Japan/other beans and kidney beans have increased from 80% to 85%  
  • Production Insurance coverage for production loss due to on-farm labour disruptions due COVID-19 has been extended for the 2022 program year.