Crop Conditions – Week of May 8, 2023

A winter wheat field with recent field activity


Weather conditions improved considerably beginning on Monday, with sunshine throughout the week and daily high temperatures ranging from the high-teens to mid-twenties (Celsius) in both southern and northern Ontario. Planting has begun on lighter soils and is likely to progress onto other soil types by later in the week. Other field activities, including second applications of nitrogen and fungicide/herbicide on winter wheat, fertilizer applications, preparatory tillage, and burndowns are taking place as field conditions allow.


Winter wheat is reported to be at Zadoks growth stage (GS) 31 to 33 across southern Ontario. Early seeded wheat is expected to reach flag leaf (GS 37) by late next week in the more southern parts of the province (e.g. Chatham-Kent). Growers are focusing on completing second applications of nitrogen in wheat as conditions allow, as well as herbicide and fungicide applications (Figure 1). There is very little disease pressure in the wheat crop to date. Some fields are showing signs of powdery mildew and should be monitored as crop growth continues. For wheat still between GS 30 and 32, timing is optimum for the application of a plant growth regulator (PGR) if being used. It is not recommended to not apply a herbicide, fungicide, and PGR in a tank-mix, especially given the recent cloudy weather, which has contributed to thin leaf cuticles that are more prone to burn.

Figure 1. A winter wheat field with recent field activity.

Figure 1. A winter wheat field with recent field activity.

Winter barley is very short in many fields, likely due to dull, grey days and cool spring temperatures. This means there is a reduced lodging risk this year. Spring cereals seeded last month are beginning to emerge. The optimum window for seeding spring cereals has passed in southern Ontario. In northern Ontario, some spring cereal seeding has been taking place throughout the week.


Corn planting has begun this week on lighter soils and is moving at a fast pace. Fertilizer application, seedbed preparation is taking place as well,withthe expectation to begin planting on medium-textured soils in the latter part of the week in many regions. If dry, warm conditions hold, it is anticipated that 35-40% of corn may be planted in the deep southwest part of the province by week’s end.


Soybean seeding is beginning on lighter textured soils as well in southern Ontario. Burndown herbicide and fertilizer applications are being made and it is expected that planting will begin in many fields later this week. It has been reported that many growers are planting soybeans and corn at the same time if possible or switching back and forth depending on field fitness.


Alfalfa stands continue to look very strong in general, though fields that were cut late last fall are showing some issues. New plantings this spring are just beginning to emerge.

Harvest of winter rye for forage has begun in more southern regions (e.g. Niagara) this week. Winter rye should be cut at the boot stage to balance volume with feed quality; it is critical not to delay harvest if possible.

Weed Control

Winter annuals are becoming large and it is recommended to control them as soon as possible. Dandelions are advanced and prominent in many fields, including some winter wheat and forage stands. Dandelions are rate-sensitive to glyphosate, particularly in the fall. A greater abundance of dandelions this spring may be due to lower rates of glyphosate applied in the fall of 2022 or where no fall herbicide application was performed.

Common ragweed resistant to Group 2, 5, 9 and 14 herbicides has been identified in many counties across Ontario (Figure 2). Populations with resistance to multiple herbicide groups may pose a challenge for edible bean and IP soybean growers.

Figure 2. Multiple herbicide-resistant common ragweed in Ontario. Dr. Peter Sikkema, University of Guelph-Ridgetown Campus.

Figure 2. Multiple herbicide-resistant common ragweed in Ontario. Dr. Peter Sikkema, University of Guelph-Ridgetown Campus.

Winter Canola

Winter canola fields in more southern parts of the province recently received white mold fungicide applications. If you’re questioning whether to add boron into your fungicide application, check out this article on Field Crop News: Should I apply foliar boron to flowering canola?


May 10, 2023 is the deadline to apply or make changes to your production insurance.

Breakfast Meeting Minutes

Exeter Ag Breakfast Meeting – May 9, 2023


  • Split N, Herbicide, fungicide and PGR applications have resumed on wheat. Wheat in the region is at GS 30-32 which is the optimum window for PGR applications. With warmer weather coming, the wheat will progress more quickly.
  • Those fields that have not yet seen any nitrogen to date are looking pale yellow. Those fields should still get their planned nitrogen, if the stand was planted early and fairly thick. If the stand is a little weaker, nitrogen rates on those fields can be pulled back a bit. Winter wheat uptakes up to 3 lb of nitrogen per day once it reaches the stem elongation phase, so the crop will be in need of nitrogen.
  • It was also noted that those fields that got a split application vs the full shot on the first pass were starting to look a little pale at the end of last week and could use the second shot as soon as possible.
  • Those fields that got a burndown last fall are weed free with little or no winter annuals present demonstrating the need for fall weed control in wheat.
  • There is very little disease pressure in fields to date. Some fields are showing signs of powdery mildew and should continue to be monitored as the season progresses.
  • With growers looking to apply fungicide, herbicide and PGRs all at once, it is recommended to not apply three products in the tank. With the cloudy weather, the leaf cuticle is expected to be thin and more prone to burn so apply no more than two products. There may also be greater physiological flecking with the dull, cloudy days now followed by bright sunny days.
  • Wheat that was broadcasted into soybeans last fall does have some significant holes but for the most part still look good. Lodging in those fields could be a concern and should be monitored.
  • Winter barley is very short in many fields. This is likely due to the dull, grey days in addition to the cold temperatures. When days are cool and dull, the growth of barley is slowed. There is less lodging risk with the winter barley crop this year. It was recommended that where lodging is a concern to spoon feed the crop and do an early app of PGR at GS 30-32 and a second application at GS 37.
  • It was noted that the colour of rye or triticale where only manure was applied is looking pale and tough. It was noted that growers should not rely only on manure in those scenarios. Tom Kelcer from NY state recommends 200 lbs/ac of nitrogen in order to get 20% crude protein with 3 ton/acre of yield.
  • There was a discussion about intermittent aeration of manure in the tank and that it is showing very positive results. It takes the odour away and every load is uniform.
  • There was a discussion about concerns with 28% being tested and found to be at much lower levels than 28%. It is speculated that there could have been an issue with mixing in that particular batch along the supply chain.


  • Corn and soybeans are just starting to be seeded on lighter ground in the region. With an excellent forecast for the next two weeks, it is expected that more fields will be rolling later this week.
  • No IP soybeans have been planted yet.
  • OMAFRA is on it’s third year of a project looking at soybean seeding rate recommendations. If anyone has any good, replicated data that can be shared, please forward to Horst Bohner to include in a meta analysis. Research to date does not support the low seeding rate recommendations that are coming out of other regions. They are going to overlay planting date and type as much as possible.
  • There was a discussion about high yielding soybeans and respectable soil tests seeing a response to fertilizer. It was noted that once you get to higher yields, we are going to need fertility to go with it so will likely see a response. In Manitoba that have had zero response at high soil test levels, but the soybeans were only 20-30 bu/ac.
  • It was noted that growers are often overlooking the impact of SCN on their soybean yields. Growers are encouraged to get a SCN test done on their fields if they are finding their soybean yields are being negatively impacted. Some growers are finding levels to be very high in some fields and are having to consider growing another crop.


  • Corn and soybeans are just starting to be seeded on lighter ground in the region.

Weed Control

  • Winter annuals are getting fairly large so it is recommended to get those sprayed as soon as possible. Tillage can cover up some of those perennials so be aware of that when making herbicide application decisions.
  • Dandelions are particularly bad this year. It is hypothesized that with last year’s drought, the dandelion roots went deeper and deeper and with how expensive glyphosate was, folks bumped that rate back and were not able to get the control they would have liked to see. Now they are a problem and we are seeing a lot. It was agreed that dandelions are rate sensitive to glyphosate, especially in the fall and with a regular rate you can expect 50% control and with 2x rate you will get greater than 90% control.  
  • It was advised that growers need to stay on top of their weed control in soybeans, as it can easily get away as planting begins.
  • Cleavers have been found in fields where cover crop mixes have been used. It is important for growers to stay on top of this weed as it can be a challenge to control. For soybeans, anything with floroxapyr or MCPA will do a nice job on it.
  • There have been lots of questions on Eragon and growers are reminded to include merge in the take, particularly if going after fleabane.
  • There have been a lot of early burndown questions and it was recommended that growers apply 2,4-D to get in there when it was so cold and still have activity on weeds.


  • Alfalfa stands are looking excellent for the most part. Those fields that were cut late last fall are showing some signs of struggle. New plantings are just starting to emerge.


  • Damage reports are down and sporadic in winter wheat. They have been busy with spring inspections and most growers have been cleared.
  • Winter canola also has very scattered and few damage reports.
  • There is RMP interest with market volatility. The deadline for RMP and crop insurance changes is May 10th.

Northern Ag Breakfast Meeting – May 10, 2023

Timiskaming: Soils are drying and people are starting to work the ground. Some spring cereals have been planted. Once more ground is ready soybeans and corn will follow. Some oats have been planted at the research station in New Liskeard recently.

Thunder Bay: Soils are warming but still wet in many areas. Planting should begin in the next week. Winterkill in winter wheat present in the eastern part of the district.

Cochrane: Still very wet and planting hasn’t begun.

Nipissing: Fields that dried early have been seeded this past weekend and more planting happening this week (oats). Winter wheat and alfalfa are looking tough. 

Algoma/Sudbury: Ground still wet in places.

Rainy River: Some fields have dried enough for work to be done, especially where tile drained.

Manitoba: Cereals and corn are going into the ground. Manitoba Ag came out with a Prairie Nutrient Removal Calculator that may be of interest to producers in northern Ontario.

General Updates:

Agicorp Deadline: May 10, 2023 – Change existing coverage (e.g., coverage levels, claim price, other coverage options)

Nitrogen fertilizer use: reminder to incorporate the 4R strategy – Timing, Placement, Rate, and Source. Use nitrogen stabilizers, consider working N in or injecting and lastly, split applications are a great way to improve nitrogen use efficiency and reduce emissions.

Weather: Last two years have been much warmer than the 10-year average in the North. Precipitation has also been higher than average but lower than 2022.

Alfalfa stand counts: For those of you in districts that haven’t started seeding yet, do your plant counts in alfalfa. If they are low, either terminate the alfalfa and rotate to something else, or patch it with red clover or Italian ryegrass. Once alfalfa is about 6 inches tall, do a stem count to assess yield potential. At 55 stems per square foot or more = 100% yield potential versus less than 40 stems = 75% yield potential (without any other pressures). If it needs to come out, consider sorghum-sudangrass after first cut, or maybe a cereal if it’s not too hot to plant that late. More details on spring scouting of alfalfa:


European corn borer: is becoming tolerant to some Bt proteins. Read more about resistance here: What Does ECB Resistance to Cry1Ab Mean ? – Field Crop News

Swede midge: Will there be more pressure than normal? It has been a mild winter overall, meaning overwintering pests have been successful. Swede midge needs a timely rain to trigger them out of pupation. Weekly rains may raise the populations. Visit the Crop Protection Hub for details about control. Coragen and Decis are registered for swede midge on canola. Avoid applying Decis on a blooming crop, but if necessary, spray late in the evening (after 8 pm) to reduce the risk to pollinators.

Cabbage seedpod weevil: After a mild winter, we could see higher than normal populations. As canola approaches bloom, use sweep nets to determine populations. 2-4 weevils per sweep during 10-20% bloom requires management. Only Decis is registered for cabbage seedpod weevil and must be applied in the evening at 8pm to protect pollinators.

Projects Update:

Rural Agri-Innovation Network (RAIN)

  • Inter-seeding cover crops in two different mixes into silage corn. (1) double cut red clover and annual ryegrass; (2) double cut red clover, annual ryegrass and tillage radish
  • Seeding methods at V4-V7 corn stage: Broadcast, modified grain drill, no-till drill
  • Demo sites in Algoma and Massey (Sudbury District). Replicated plot site in Algoma. Watch out for site tour days happening this summer.

University of Guelph

  • Project with Mary Ruth McDonald on clubroot in canola
  • Looking to collect samples from growers wherever clubroot shows up, but also targeting in the Timiskaming area
  • Want to give growers information on the clubroot in their field to help them choose the right varieties to grow

Kemptville Ag Breakfast Meeting – May 10, 2023


  • Most of the area had significant rainfall last week – averaging 50mm, but some areas exceeding 100mm over 5 days.
  • Most of Eastern Ontario reported frost on Monday night. Some areas reported frost on Tuesday night as well, but most of the area stayed between 3 and 4 degrees overnight
  • Soil conditions are dry on top, but still have significant moisture at 4” depth
  • Seeing some heavy weed pressures, specifically dandelions in many fields. Some winter annuals and emerged lamb’s quarters and pigweed beginning with the recent warmth.
  • Renfrew county is reporting very wet, especially along the river. Many are hoping to be in the field by Saturday.
  • Sandy, lighter soils saw tillage and planting begin Tuesday afternoon, and some of the loamy soils were hopeful to be ready on Wednesday afternoon, but much of the clay ground remains untouched.
  • Reports of lots of fertilizer moving this week.
  • Any fields that were fall plowed did not tolerate the heavy rains well last week and are showing signs of water erosion throughout.
  • Lots of tree cleanup has been necessary in the area and has held a few growers up – many reporting trees down in every field and it’s been too wet to get in with any equipment to remove them.

Winter Wheat:

  • Some PGR and fungicide applications happening this week on winter wheat.
  • Much of the required nitrogen was applied in the previous warm spell.
  • There are some questions being asked about nitrogen movement on winter cereals that was applied prior to the heavy rains and what’s still available
  • Some growers trying PGRs on wheat in an attempt to make their nitrogen use more efficient, not just to assist with lodging.
  • Not a high need for T1 fungicide in the east due to cold weather, frost, and windy days allowing for air movement through the canopy. 

Winter Canola:

  • Reports of some winter canola in the area that survived the winter but got drowned out with water laying from the rain last week.


  • Eastern Ontario still reporting very large feed inventories across many livestock commodities.
  • Some new seeding going in. Growers who have forage on a rotation are seeding as programmed, but far few acres than what’s been planted in the past.
  • Forage rye being monitored for harvest timing. Harvest date still allows for timely soybean or corn silage planting.
  • It’s estimated that first cut is probably about a week behind where it typically is, but the forecasted warm temperatures should encourage some strong growth.
  • Some forage soybeans still in the rotation towards Casselman – questions are around herbicide uses and safety.
  • There are some fields reporting alfalfa stunting/slowing from where snowbanks laid in fields early in the spring. Many fields still had snow along tree lines and fence lines when it was 25+ °C in mid-April. The alfalfa that was under those is a few inches shorter than the rest of the field.


  • Lighter soils seeing corn planting the last day or so. Loamy soils expected to go mid-late week. Clays are going to be late in the week, if not the weekend.
  • Ground looks like it’s working well up despite being cool and damp.
  • No till ground is very wet still.
  • Early season weed control will be key, particularly in no-till corn.


  • No soybeans planted locally since the warm spell in Mid-April.
  • A lot of bean ground being worked to manage residue in fields coming out of corn and going into soybeans. Residue levels are high and requiring tillage to manage them.
  • Some dry beans intended in the East this year, but waiting for warmer weather to plant them

Simcoe Ag Breakfast Meeting – May 10, 2023

  • Spring is here – cherry trees in bloom; apple trees almost in bloom.  Tomatoes and peppers being planted on sands.  Monitoring soil temperatures on sandy soils – as high as 28oC during warm period in April, but since has moderated 7 – 8oC average and warmer this week.  Many soils may seem dry on top few inches but are still too wet to work.
  • Field work has been underway on light sands since the weekend.  Some corn and soybeans have been planted.
  • Field work on clay soils may occur by next week.
  • Fields that were planted to forages or spring cereals during the warm spell in April have emerged well. 
  • Wheat looks great with very few damage reports in the Niagara region (one area) and most fields are at GS31 and some are at GS32.  Second N, herbicides, fungicides and growth regulator applications are finishing up on drier soils.  Not a lot of red clover was seeded because many feared the wheat stand was too thick for a good catch.  A few fields that did get seeded have good emergence so far.
  • Dandelions are in full bloom, are big and hard to kill. 
  • Mild winter had resulted in higher pressure of some weeds. Chickweed is thick on sandy soils (also purple deadnettle) and bluegrass is thick on clay soils.  Weed control is more challenging with tough weeds and resistance but using herbicides tools (right rates, right water volumes and right adjuvants) will help provide best possible weed control.  Discussion about new adjuvants and new formulations of “old” adjuvants emphasized the importance of following label closely for staging and mixing. 
  • Details on the map were not surprising since there is greater awareness of the issue and Syngenta reps have sampling kits for genetic testing to determine resistance.
  • Nitrogen stabilizers are reported to be more common this year, especially for those that received OFCAF funding. 
  • Cereal rye harvest is beginning on dairy farms with lots of volume.  Ideal stage for harvest is around the boot stage to maximize quality and yield.  More dairy farms are getting away from alfalfa forage and moving to more rye and grasses.  Corn planted after cereal rye is more likely to be negatively affected than soybeans. 
  • Alfalfa after ­first cut may be difficult to terminate due to dry conditions last summer and deep root systems. 
  • John Lauzon (U of G) is doing work to calibrate a soil test for sulphur and is looking for farmers interested in doing simple strip trials with vs. without sulphur.  Contact Colin Elgie, OMAFRA.