Winter wheat stands continue to look excellent with very high stem counts (up to 144 stems/sq ft) in the southwest. Most fields have received at least one application of nitrogen, with many opting to add sulphur. Fields that have not yet received a nitrogen or sulphur application are showing signs of yellowing. Manganese deficiency is also evident on clay soils. When spraying a foliar Mn product, a spreader sticker must be used to support plant uptake. For early planted winter wheat, trials have shown little or no yield loss if N application must be delayed up to growth stage 32.
Winter wheat is extremely competitive and yield losses from weeds are usually small. The weed management strategy used should target the weed species that are dominate in each field. If winter annual weed pressure is high, these fields should be sprayed as soon as possible. A mild winter and cool spring have encouraged Chickweed pressure, even where a fall herbicide was applied. Chickweed thrives in shady areas and grows in arctic regions, flowering as low as 2 degrees C. With the loss of glyphosate as a burndown component in edible beans, dandelion and chickweed pressure is increasing. Fall weed control is important as weeds that emerge at the same time as the winter wheat crop will impact yield the most. Red cover under-seeded to winter wheat may not yet be at the 1st trifoliate stage making herbicide timing a challenge. Weed staging should be prioritized over red clover staging.
With relatively high stem count especially in early planted fields, growers are considering using plant growth regulators (PGR). The optimum time for a PGR application is Growth Stage 30-32 (figure 1). It takes about 100 Growing Degree Days (GDDs) to get from one stage to the next. If this window is targeted there is a greater thickening of the base of the stem in addition to shortening of the plant to help reduce lodging. The more products in the tank, the greater risk for injury so if disease pressure is low, and weeds are not a concern, apply the PGR alone to reduce risk. To date there is very little disease pressure in the winter wheat crop but that may change as temperatures warm up. It should be noted that fungicides perform best when they are applied preventatively. Michigan State University trials have shown that fungicides applied at that T1.5 timing provided a 3-4 bu/ac yield increase. Stripe rust has been reported in Oklahoma so this will be monitored closely.
Figure 1. Winter wheat at GS 30 with plants giving that upright appearance. At this stage winter wheat moves from the vegetative to reproductive growth stages.
Winter canola has received nitrogen applications. If the crop is flowering when a frost occurs, the flowers may abort. At temperatures above –3°C there should be no economic damage, and the variety Mercedes has shown good frost tolerance in the past. Extended periods of temperatures of -4°C and below may damage buds or cause stems to crack. Expect to see canola droop over when conditions are cold and stand back up with warm weather.
Some corn was planted during the week of April 11th when soil conditions and temperatures were optimal. A few growers managed to plant up to 1/3 of their acreage. Although Ontario trials have shown that the highest yields often result from planting during the last week of April or the first week of May, planting into fit soils is more important than the exact planting date. Uniform emergence is much more important in corn than soybeans. It’s important to note that research has also shown that there is still a 95% yield potential available even when seeding as late as May 25th in the Exeter area.
A few fields were seeded in mid- April when conditions were warm and dry, mostly on lighter soil types. Soybeans are very resilient to cool conditions early in the season but cold along with wet conditions will reduce stands. Research has shown that ultra early seeding does not necessarily yield more than timely planting. Most years, soybeans suffer little yield loss if planting can be achieved before May 20th. Good soil fertility is important to achieve high soybean yields. A 50 bu/ac crop will remove 40 lb/ac of P and 70lbs/ac of K in the grain, but in-season plant uptake of K is twice that amount. If soil test values are below 20 ppm for P and 120 ppm for K soybeans will respond well to a spring applied fertilizer. The lower the soil test the greater the likelihood of a yield gain from applied fertilizer. If soil tests are below 10 ppm for P and 100 ppm for K a response of 5 bu/ac or more can be expected from spring applied fertilizer. Broadcast fertilizer works equally well for soybeans compared to banding.
Minutes from Exeter/Simcoe Zoom meeting.
April 25, 2023
- Winter wheat stands continue to look excellent with stem counts being much higher than previous years (144 stems/sq ft). Temperatures have cooled over the last 10 days slowing the growth of the crop and field activities in general. Most fields have had at least one pass of nitrogen, with many opting to add sulphur as well. Those fields that have not yet seen a nitrogen or sulphur application are showing signs of yellowing. If the fields are fit, growers are encouraged to get their nitrogen and sulphur on those fields as soon as possible if they are showing signs of yellowing. In fields with very high stem counts, growers can afford to have some tillers drop off so they can wait until GS 32 to make those nitrogen applications.
- Chickweed pressure is heavy in some fields, even where a fall herbicide was applied. Chickweed is a species that dips into the arctic regions, so it will flower as long as temperatures are above 2 C and also thrives in shady environments, speaking to the challenge of managing this week. The mild winter and cooler spring are very conducive for growth. It was also noted that with the loss of glyphosate as a burndown component of edible beans, dandelion and chickweed pressure is higher in those fields. It was noted that fall weed control is the most important, what comes up with the winter wheat crop is what has the most yield impact. If possible, consider fall weed control in winter wheat.
- The weed management strategy at this point is to look at what is in your field and if it is dominated by winter annuals, they need to be sprayed as soon as possible. There are not a lot of annuals to speak of to date so there is less concern for dealing with those.
- Red clover underseeded to winter wheat is not yet at the 1st trifoliate stage making it challenging for those who want to apply Buctril M. However, the goal is to control the weeds and while there may be more injury if applied before the 1st trifoliate, red clover comes out of it well and weed stage should be prioritized.
- With the high stem count and early planted fields, growers are considering PGR applications. However, with the cool temperatures and rain in the forecast there were questions about timing and when it is safe to apply. The optimum time for PGR application is GS 30-32. If this window is targeted there is a greater thickening of the base of the stem in addition to shortening of the plant. It was noted that Moddus could be applied in temperatures as cold as 0 C so they could be applied later this week. It was noted that with the cooler temperatures the wheat crop has slowed down its growth so there is still a good window of opportunity to make these applications in the optimum window. It takes about 100 GDDs to get from one stage to the next. It was also noted that the more products in the tank, the greater risk for injury so if disease pressure is low, and weeds are not a concern, apply the PGR alone to reduce risk.
- It was noted that fungicides are best when applied preventatively. To date there is very little to no disease pressure in the winter wheat crop, but everyone should keep any eye when scouting fields as they may change as temperatures warm up. Marty Chilvers out of Michigan State sounds that fungicides applied at that T1.5 timing provided a 3-4 bu/ac yield increase. Stripe rust has been reported in Oklahoma so this will be monitored closely in Ontario.
- Armyworm moths are being reported in traps in Ridgetown. They are in small numbers but something that will be continued to be monitored.
- Manganese deficiency has been reported in some fields. It was noted that along with Manganese Sulphate, a spreader sticker must be used to support plant uptake.
- The group discussed the potential for double crop soybeans this year with the potential for an early winter wheat crop.
- Seed reps noted that there are a lot of short season beans still available for that market as long as here isn’t an uptake of greater than 10%.
- A few hundred acres have been planted in Michigan where fields were fit in mid-April. There is little concern about their performance as the weather has been warm enough.
- Fertilizer in soybeans really is important to get 70 bu/ac+ yields. Fertilizer response depends on whether there is rain or not. A soil test is still the best way to predict a response to P and K. 20 years of trial data shows that a consistent 5 bu/ac response in fields that have a lower test. There are no yield gains if P is above 20 and K above 120 on average, however in a 70 bu+ situation if you have timely rain in august there may still be a response. More research is necessary to answer this question.
- There is some corn in the ground where the soil and air temperatures were optimal during the week of April 11th. That corn is now sitting in the ground, but with warmer temperatures expected in the coming days, it should emerge ok. There was a discussion about what the impact might be if those fields do not emerge uniformly.
- Growers are reminded to go back to emergence scores and temperature scores when selecting which varieties to plant earlier.
- It was noted that if the conditions are fit, it is anticipated that there will be more planting occurring later in the week.
- The group noted that there is still plenty of time to get the corn in the ground and to be patient. Greg Stopps shared trial data with over 1,300 sites across the province that showed the last week of April and first week of May as being the optimum planning window. Yields did drop off by 2 bu/ac the second week of May and that is anticipated to be a result of poor planting conditions.
- There was a discussion about the impact of cold temperatures on canola. For fields that are budding they might get frozen with the cold temperatures but will re-flower and are fairly cold tolerant at this stage. The most sensitive time for cold temperatures is late flower to early pod set. Some have seen canola tolerate temperatures as cold as -4C. The crop will show signs of stress such as cracking stems but will come out of it. The greater concern is that it if gets cold and the stem does crack and there is some windy weather, there may be a greater lodging risk.
- If there are any questions about canola, please reach out to Abby Wiesner.
- Agricorp reported they have received minimal damage reports this spring. A reminder that the deadline for adding or removing crops, or any changes to production insurance is May 10th.
Northern Ontario Breakfast Meeting Notes
April 26, 2023
- Soils are wet, in some districts there is still snow in the fields
- Seed and fertilizer are mostly in place
- Winter wheat survival seems good on well-drained soils, but on fields with poor drainage the wheat looks rough
- The mild winter could increase insect pest pressure this year. Keep an eye on cutworms and armyworms early in the season. Grubs might be a problem on overwintering and early-seeded crops. Swede midge is always a concern in canola-growing regions. Make sure soils are fit before planting so that crops can emerge quickly and get ahead of insect pests.
Kemptville Breakfast Meeting Minutes – April 26, 2023 – Zoom
- Winter survival is looking excellent again this year. Very few fields looking like they will need to be terminated.
- The crop is greening up, and the most advanced fields are nearing GS30. Growth has slowed with recent cooler weather.
- Growing degree day (GDD) accumulation was discussed. Many available resources start counting base 0 GDDs at January 1st, so they don’t account for GDDs accumulated in the Fall. Kemptville has accumulated 231 GDDs since January 1st, compared to 200 this time last year. Unusually warm temperatures in April contributed to this.
- It takes about 100 GDDs to advance wheat from one growth stage to the next.
- How many GDDs does it take to get to GS30? The rule of thumb is “about 150”, but the actual number depends on planting date. Late-planted wheat will require fewer GDDs as the plants respond to other environmental cues to ensure seeds are produced in the right timeframe.
- Many acres have had fertilizer applied already, with the expectation that most will be done by the end of this week as weather permits.
- Herbicide applications have proceeded similarly, though recent colder nighttime temperatures have slowed weed control. Fields where weed control was done in the Fall are benefiting from reduced weed pressure.
Other overwintering crops
- Some winter canola planted in Renfrew, Dundas counties. A planting date trial is ongoing at the Winchester research station. Canola in Winchester is starting to green up. This is the first year that the latest planting date treatment has survived, but it’s noticeably patchy. Survival in Renfrew is still unclear. A good seedbed is very important for winter canola establishment and survival.
- Spring thaw happened very quickly in the region, but fit soil and good planting windows have been somewhat sparse, limiting planting progress.
- About 25% of intended spring wheat acres have been planted, ranging regionally from 5 – 70%
- Has the number of spring wheat acres decreased?
- Many spring wheat growers are in it for the straw, especially livestock producers. These acres were agreed to be fairly stable, even with good straw stocks.
- In some areas spring wheat acres are down as they are replaced by winter wheat. Recent years have been excellent for winter wheat in the East, and acreage has doubled over the last 5 years. Less so in areas where winter wheat is not traditionally grown.
- Manure storages have filled with the high snowfall amounts received over the winter, but there have been enough opportunities for application that it was generally agreed that storage isn’t currently a widespread issue.
- Fertilizer application progress is similar to manure – some has already gone on where soil was fit.
- Are fertilizer rates stabilizing?
- Some growers have gone back to normal rates of P and K application, but others are still watching prices and waiting.
- A few growers have started planting corn acres – some to test equipment, and others to test their luck. A few planting date trials have been set up.
- The weather felt like May for a few days, but it’s still April… Conditions trump the calendar for planting, but those have returned to seasonal normal with cold rains and cold nights across the region.
- Corn suffers more than soybeans from poor conditions at planting.
- There have been some inquiries already into switching hybrids, but the consensus was that it’s still too early to throw out the plan.
- The weather hasn’t been much better for soybeans than it has for corn, but there are slightly more acres planted. Some growers took advantage of the brief window of fit soil, but it was short and generally only extended to lighter soils.
- IP premiums are very strong this year, but production challenges and another good year for winter wheat survival mean that there is still more demand than production.