Exeter + Mt Forest Ag Breakfast Meeting Minutes – April 12, 2022

The first Exeter-Mt Forest breakfast meeting occurred on April 12 at 8:00am and will continue on Zoom every other week through to June 21st. Conditions remain cool and seeding is not yet underway. However, some soil temperatures of 7-10C have been observed. There may be some tillage happening on light soils but for the most part soils are still too wet.


Despite the high cost of fertilizer, high corn prices and strong yields last year are contributing to stable corn acres this year. Logistic and supply chain issues mean corn seed is still making its way to farms. It was reported there may be some shortage of organic and/or conventional corn seed.


Soybean acreage may be higher than last year and IP soybeans are in high demand, while dry bean acres are likely down. There may not be a lot of variety options left and even fewer options if there are significant acres that need to be reseeded. With a tight supply of seed and some crop protection products, it is advised to make careful decisions and get your agronomy right the first time to avoid issues with replants and rescue treatments. With heavy rains at harvest last year, there is some Certified #2 seed being distributed that will have a lower rate of germination (75-85%). Certified #2 seed is not a major concern but seeding rates should be increased to meet target populations of 120,000-140,000 plants/ac. Often this seed is larger, so avoid seed coat damage and cracked seed by minimizing mechanical damage, and check for plugging if seeding with an air seeder.

Seeding of soybeans has not yet started and likely won’t for at least another 10 days. Soybeans seem to handle colder soil conditions better than corn, but may take a long time to emerge if it’s slow to warm up.

Mike Staton, soybean educator at Michigan State University, joined the meeting and described the annual producer survey and research report they post at www.michigansoybean.org. The current report contains 12 research projects on topics including tillage, planting rate, planting date, row spacing, white mould fungicide timing and more. Mike shared planting date data and noted that some producers are planting ultra early, before April 20th. Risks they have observed with ultra early planting include frost, and they have observed seedcorn maggot damage. Worked ground had seedcorn maggot damage where unworked ground did not, which is assumed to be because adults seek decaying material and freshly tilled soil will have more rotting than unworked. It is suggested to wait 2 weeks after tillage before planting to mitigate this potential damage. Mike stated he thinks soybean acreage in Michigan this year will be stable or slightly higher than normal, and noted that corn acres were lower than normal last year.


Winter wheat acres are reported to be variable, but many have stated it looks better than they expected. Earlier planted wheat looks healthier, while November planted wheat does not have tillers.

Spring has been cool so mineralization of nitrogen and sulphur is slow, and it could be valuable to have nitrogen applied when wheat starts actively growing. Splitting nitrogen applications should minimize nitrogen losses and target application to when the crop needs it. It makes sense to plan on split N applications on fields where wheat has not yet tillered, and where a PGR application is planned. Information on split N applications can be found HERE.

Ideally, herbicides would be applied when temperatures are above 10°C and weeds are small. However, in Ontario we rarely get the combination of ideal weed stage and air temperatures. Often nighttime temperatures dip below 5°C. Herbicide applications at cool temperatures (below 5°C) can cause some damage to wheat, but there tends to be more yield loss from competition with aggressive weeds including perennials, winter annuals and grassy weeds like chess and bluegrass. Summer annual broadleaf weeds like wild buckwheat and common ragweed, tend to have a lower impact on wheat yield. Applications should target weeds when they are small and easier to control, because it may still be cool later on when weeds are larger and more difficult to control.


Winter canola in the region generally looks good, although there hasn’t been a lot of growth yet this spring. Some areas that received significant amounts of rainfall in September and October had poor canola growth in the fall, or plants did not set deep roots, so winter survival was more of a challenge in those wet fields. There have also been quite a few growers trying winter canola in no-till or high residue fields who have observed significant losses to slugs in the fall. Approximately 11,000 acres of winter canola were seeded in the fall but quite a few fields had survival issues this year.

BASF reported an increase in spring canola acres in Ontario this year. Seed supply is good, and after the experience with frost losses last year BASF have ensured they have lots of seed in the Eastern Ontario pipeline in case there is a need again. It was suggested spring canola seeding could begin soon but temperatures are still fairly low at night.

Avian influenza and Biosecurity

Avian influenza has been confirmed on multiple farms in Ontario and the industry need to be mindful about biosecurity and reducing the risk of further spread. There are isolation zones around confirmed farm sites, but the disease is also spread via wild birds. Note that if manure has been spread in fields surrounding confirmed avian flu sites, the disease may also be present on neighbouring fields.

Crop scouts and agronomists might consider stepping up their biosecurity measures when travelling from field to field. SprayNine, a cleaning product that can be purchased at Canadian Tire, kills avian influenza and can be used to clean boots and field tools. Other products like Virkon and bleach solutions may also be effective. As a part of biosecurity measures, scouts should consider wearing re-usable boot covers and soaking them in a container of SprayNine while driving between fields. Another option is to have a Rubbermaid bin in the truck with a few inches of SprayNine in it to soak boots in between fields and wearing clean running shoes while you drive. If the SprayNine or other disinfectant solution has a lot of soil in it partway through the day, empty and re-fill it. 


  • Deadline to apply or make changes for spring policy coverage 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.
  • Please visit www.agricorp.com to obtain up-to-date information.


A tour of BioStrip Till Tailgate Tour currently underway, check HERE for dates and locations.