Northern Breakfast Meeting Minutes – May 4, 2022

Wednesday May 5th was the first virtual Northern Breakfast Meeting of the season. There will be 3 more meetings, according to the schedule below. After short updates from the OMAFRA specialists listed, the group will discuss any current cropping questions and give updates on cropping conditions and progress across the northern regions. Contact to be added to the mailing list.

Date & TimeOAMFRA Crop Specialist Update
Wednesday May 18, 8:30am EDTMeghan Moran (canola) & Christine O’Reilly (forage and grazing)
Wednesday June 1, 8:30am EDTHorst Bohner (soybeans)
Wednesday June 15, 8:30am EDTBen Rosser (corn)

Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA Weed Specialist, presented preliminary results of research on controlling herbicide resistant wild oats and answered some questions on weed control.

Wild Oats

Group 1 herbicides (e.g Puma, Achieve, Axial) are important tools in controlling wild oats in cereal crops but over 85% of wild oat samples tested since 2017 were found to be resistant to these products and 35% were resistant to Group 1 and Group 2 herbicides (e.g Simplicity, Varro). These products may still be useful in suppressing wild oats. Lower densities of wild oats have a lesser impact on cereal yields than high densities, and later emergence or suppression of wild oats also reduces impact on yield because it allows the cereals to advance ahead of the weeds. Wild oat control in barley is a unique challenge because many of the wild oat herbicides cause damage and yield loss in barley. Some herbicides that are not registered for cereal crops are being studied and show some promise. The Ontario Crops Research Centre – New Liskeard are thanked for their role in these studies.

Soil applied herbicide programs and cultural practices that suppress wild oats ahead of cereal growth are an important aspect of managing this weed. Stimulating germination of the weed then applying a herbicide prior to seeding the cereal crop is a good approach. Tillage may stimulate germination however studies have shown germination is strongly influenced by soil temperature, and it could take up to 6 weeks for most weed seedlings to emerge. Emerging tools like the Harrington Seed Destructor are being tested in other jurisdictions to expand the number of tools for wild oat management in cereals.


Weeds of concern were identified on a farm in Rainy River last year. Both Palmer amaranth and waterhemp are hard to control weeds that are similar in appearance, and waterhemp with resistance to multiple herbicide groups is common in Ontario. Molecular tests were inconclusive but the weeds in question were suspected to be waterhemp. Information on identification and management of waterhemp can be found on

Spring herbicide application in winter wheat

Winter wheat in the northeast looks very healthy, with some saying it is some of the best they’ve ever seen on their farms. There was discussion about spring herbicide application in winter wheat fields that had fall weed control, and whether there is value in adding a product like Buctril M to the PGR (plant growth regulator) pass. Fall weed control typically provides more yield protection than spring applications. Herbicide should only be applied if there are weeds there to control. Additionally, the herbicide choice should be based on the species of weeds present in the field and applied when they are small enough to be controlled. PGRs are typically applied around 1st node, but if the application is closer to flag leaf there is an increased risk of crop injury with herbicide application. Thin wheat stands or a need for clean wheat straw may impact decisions on spring herbicide application.

Kenora, Rainy River and Thunder Bay Districts Regional Updates

There has been a fair bit of rainfall and surface runoff because there is still frost in the ground. At this point the moisture is welcome because of lack of moisture last season. Snow has melted from fields but can still be found in wooded areas and ditches. Temperatures are still below freezing at night. The forecast for next week shows some days in the mid-teens but it will likely not be enough warmth for field work to begin. The lack of feed from last year is a stress on livestock producers and the cold winter has contributed to difficulty calving and higher levels of calf sickness. Producers are working on soil sampling and assessing fertilizer needs, and attention is focused on making good agronomic decisions to manage high fertilizer prices.

The winter wheat and winter barley planted at the research station in Emo did not have great winter survival, particularly the later planted plots. There has been no field activity on the station yet but with the tile that has been installed conditions improve visibly with every good day of drying.

There is still snow in the fields in Thunder Bay. Generally, they are two weeks behind the other northwestern production areas and this trend seems to be true at this time. Swede midge traps are being monitored at the Lakehead University Agriculture Research Station this season, to determine if this devastating canola pests has moved west across the province.

Cochrane, Timiskaming and Nipissing Districts Regional Updates

Conditions in Cochrane are similar to the northwest at this time. A week ago, there was a lot of snow, but after rain on the weekend snow is only present in the ditches and wooded areas. Looking back at records, there was less snow and higher temperatures at this time in 2019. In 2020 there was less snow but field activities still didn’t begin until mid-May. Snow has melted slowly and is infiltrating the ground. It has been difficult to keep cows dry and out of the mud. Cochrane conditions are about two weeks behind New Liskeard area.

Field work has not really begun in Timiskaming but it has been relatively dry and producers feel like they are on track for a productive spring. Although canola prices are high, acres are not expected to be high because the cost of fertilizer for this nitrogen-demanding crop is also high. Soybean acres will likely increase, and strong demand and good prices for oats are expected to result in increased acreage. At this time there are no fertilizer supply issues in the region. Winter wheat looks very healthy and overall reports from the area are positive.

Reports from Nipissing District are that conditions are relatively normal. Some spring cereals and canola were planted prior to rain this week. Winter wheat looks exceptional. It was reported that a lot of acres came out of hay this year, but there is no significant increase in acreage of any specific crop.

Agricorp updates

  • 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. The premiums are similar to those for commercial production, but there are added protections including a germination test component – if the seed fails a germination test it is eligible for compensation.
  • 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 to obtain up-to-date information.

Below are links to articles that may be of interest:

Ag Mental Health Resources

How do fertilizer and crop prices affect optimal fertilizer rates?

Should I split apply nitrogen in winter wheat?

Managing nitrogen for canola

Frost Seeding Forages FAQ