Crop Conditions – Week of April 20, 2023

A lot of manure application occurred during the warm weather late last week.


The weather late last week was unseasonably warm, with maximum temperatures exceeding 24˚C in most of the agricultural regions of the province. Crops already in the ground responded well to the heat and growth progressed quickly. With more typical single-digit temperatures this week, crop development is expected to slow, and staging should become more normal for the time of year as a result. 

Snow meltwater in many areas drained away rapidly this spring, leaving soil surface conditions drier than usual. Many producers took advantage of the warm weather to get manure spread, fertilizer applied, and tillage done ahead of seeding. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are reporting normal soil moisture conditions in all agricultural regions of the province. Depth to moisture is still appropriate for seeding where soil conditions are fit. 

Map showing soil moisture conditions across Ontario as a percent of normal
Figure 1. Map showing soil moisture content across Ontario as a percent of normal.

Crop Nutrients 

Despite strong prices, many producers have returned to their normal programs after cutting fertilizer costs in 2022. Growers are interested in making best use of available manure as part of their crop nutrient plan. Manure is very variable, so taking a sample is key to make most efficient use of manure as a nutrient source. A high pH and warm weather at application will result in more nitrogen loss. The best time to take the sample is as the manure is going out to the field. Sample at the beginning of application and end for each field and combine these for a composite on that field. Consider testing for micronutrients as well, to really get the most value from a manure application. 


More soybean acres across the province are being seeded to different trait packages (e.g., Enlist, Xtend). Growers and advisors are encouraged to go through the following checklist before seeding to reduce the risk of costly errors associated with applying the wrong herbicide program. 

  • Do you understand the differences between the trait packages you have ordered and the herbicide programs that go with them? 
  • Have you confirmed what trait package your soybean seed has once it arrives on farm? Check the skids, read the tags. There is typically no visual difference in the seed between trait packages. 
  • If you have carry-over seed from last year, make sure the trait package matches what’s in the variety you mix it with. 
  • Before switching trait packages, have you thoroughly cleaned out the planter/drill? 
  • Have you documented what trait packages are seeded where, and shared that information with any custom applicators? 
  • If you will be doing your own spraying:  
    • Do you understand how to thoroughly clean the equipment between spraying varieties with different trait packages, and are set up to clean appropriately?  
    • Keep a copy of the seeding records in the sprayer for easy reference. 
  • Have you confirmed that your seed dealer has extra of a variety with the same trait package as what you will seed last, in case you run short? 

Weed Management 

Common ragweed that is resistant to post-emergent group 14 herbicides (e.g. Reflex, Blazer) have been identified in Bruce, Lambton and Prescott-Russell. This significantly limits options to manage this weed when growing IP soybeans or dry beans.  

A molecular test is available for relatively quick in-season testing. Contact Kristen Obeid at for sample collection kits. Seed from resistant plants should also be collected, if possible, and sent to Dr. Francois Tardif at the University of Guelph. Management information for the control of common ragweed is summarized on

The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has a new tank-mix policy. The 2023 growing season is part of a transition period. The new policy will be enforced as of December 2024. An article summarizing the changes, which apply to both field crops and horticulture crops, can be found at 

Agricorp Deadlines 

April 30th, 2023 

  • Enroll and pay fee for AgriStability. 

May 10th, 2023 

  • Applications/changes due for Grains & Oilseeds, Forage Rainfall, and spring-seeded New Forage Seeding production insurance. 
  • Premiums due for Forage Rainfall production insurance. 

Deadlines for the rest of the season and for other programs can be found at

Ridgetown Breakfast Meeting 

  • About 80% of wheat acres have received a nitrogen application. The first pass of split applications are done. 
  • The earliest winter wheat fields in Essex are reaching GS30. Agricorp reported a few more First Notice of Loss (FNOL, formerly “damage reports”), bringing the total up to 1.35% of insured acres, with losses caused by too much early spring rain or drought conditions last fall. 
  • Some winter canola fields are bolting. Frost is not a concern until late flower/early pod fill, as less mature plants will put out more flowers and compensate for frost damage. 
  • Winter survival in alfalfa and winter barley was excellent.  
  • Weather and soil conditions last week were ideal for seeding spring cereals and forages. 
  • Some early-planted corn has germinated, but not many acres are planted yet. Tolerance to early season stress will vary by hybrid. 
  • Very few soybean acres have been planted to date. 
  • Processing tomato acreage is up 5% from last year.  
  • Sugar beet seeding is about 60% done. Very early-seeded fields are emerging and may be sensitive to cold weather. 
  • Some carrots, onions, and peas are in the ground in good condition. 

Cobourg Breakfast Meeting 

  • Fertilizer has been going out onto winter wheat, hay, and pasture.  
  • Wheat overwintered in excellent condition. Agricorp only reported First Notice of Loss (FNOL, formerly “damage reports”) on some late-seeded wheat in Prince Edward. 
  • Plant counts on alfalfa on light ground and close to Lake Ontario suggest very good winter survival. Strong forage inventories have decreased the number of acres being seeded to new stands. 
  • Spring cereal seeding has started on light ground. 
  • Corn acres expected to increase somewhat (5-7%) over last year. A few acres have been planted in Durham. 
  • No change or a slight decrease (2-3%) expected in the number of soybean acres compared to 2022. There may be more IP beans in the region, and sales of Enlist varieties are up. 

Mount Forest Breakfast Meeting 

  • 60-100% of winter wheat acres have received nitrogen. Less than 15% of acres in the region receive split applications of N. A lot of fertilizer went out on hay last week. 
  • Wheat overwintered in very good condition. Early-seeded fields are reaching GS30-31. Acreage is significantly higher than last year. 
  • Spring cereal seeding is nearly finished. 
  • Not much spring canola has been seeded yet. Winter canola seems to have survived well. 
  • Corn and soybean acreage are anticipated to be the same as last year.