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The Cropwalker - Volume 2 Issue 12

Always read and follow label directions.

Crop Conditions

Winter Wheat Ryan Benjamins (CCA ON) in the Sarnia area says maybe 20% of the wheat won’t make it. In his area about 20% of the wheat has the first split of nitrogen. Further south in Tilbury area probably only 5% of wheat has N applied. Emily Jones (CCA ON) in Melbourne area says that 15-20% of wheat may be ripped up. They also received snow but hope to get back to it by the end of the week. Emily VanderSpek (CCA ON) with Rosebank Seeds in Staffa (Perth) says about 15% of the wheat will be ripped up. Growers are buying lots of barley and oat seed. Some varieties are sold out. Through the rest of Ontario snow over the weekend has brought everything to a halt. Maybe we can see activity later this week. Some areas have 20% of the wheat with nitrogen on, other areas less. Looking back on historical records we are average for having N applied to wheat first week of April.


Splitting N on Wheat

The second split of N on wheat should be around May 10th which is about 40 days from now. Hopefully we can get back to putting N on wheat by the end of the week. Should you still split N? The idea of splitting N is to reduce the amount that is lost. The biggest loss will occur on lighter soils. These lighter soils are also the ones that would most likely benefit from an early N application. You have to take into account the issue of time. If you have time to make two splits that is best. Otherwise consider putting all of your N on now. Applying N later to hard red wheat has shown to increase protein levels.

Manure on Winter Wheat

Applying manure to winter wheat now is a good option. I have seen dry poultry manure or liquid manure applied successfully with a drag hose. Since you are not incorporating, the quickly available N may be lost unless you get rain with 24-48 hours after application. In this case you will need supplemental N to get the wheat started.

Manure on Forages

You can successfully apply liquid or solid manure to forages now. The reason you would do this is to gain storage room. A drag hose works well. Otherwise you have watch ground conditions to avoid compaction.

Best Corn Starter

Kind of late to be discussing this but in case you have not already planned yours, here are some things to consider. I like to keep the rate to a minimum so that you can plant more acres per day. Start with P. You need 30 lbs in the starter. For a product like MESZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn) you would need 75 lbs/ac. I like some K but 15 lbs/ac is enough in the starter. So, use 25 lbs/ac 0-0-60. I like 30 lbs N total Starter N. MESZ at 75 lbs gives about 10 lbs N meaning you need another 20 lbs. That could come from 40-45 lbs of urea or ESN. That brings total to 140-150 lbs per acre. You still need some S which can be broadcast. Magnesium can be broadcast.

Spring Baling Corn Stalks – Can it replace Winter Wheat straw?

The question is, what is the expected nutrient removal, and the expect cost of replacement if you chose to sell the stover or use it on your own farm?

1.     Based up on university research if you had a 200 bu/ac corn crop, expect to 11,200 lbs/ac of corn stover. Method of collection impacts recovery rates of the material.

2.    Fertilizer Value – 4 to 5 lbs P2O5 and 20 to 32 lbs K2O/2000 lbs Stover; Will have some K leaching out of the stalks over the winter months.

3.    Compaction – Expect to suffer some issues with compaction, especially on fields with no or random tile.

4.    At a minimum, corn stover should be valued at $0.02/lb to compensate for nutrient removal and application costs, as well as soil compaction and organic matter removal.  Producers tell me straw is selling for up to $0.10/lb in the bale, stover should be worth at $0.04 to 0.05 in the field.

Table 1 - Corn Stover Removal Rates and Values

Intensive Alfalfa Management

Some growers are managing their alfalfa and grassy hay intensively by pushing the cutting window ahead by a week. For alfalfa-based fields, once the field will carry equipment, they apply 40-50 lbs/ac N, 40-60 lbs K and 10-15 lbs S (from Ammonium Sulfate). Phosphorus and boron are applied based on field-by-field case. After each cutting, they apply 3,000-4,000 gallons/ac liquid dairy manure. Prior to critical harvest period a maintenance application for phosphorus and potassium is based upon soil test. For grassy fields they apply early spring 70-100 lbs/ac N, P and K according to soil test. After each cutting, they apply 3,000-4,000 gal/ac liquid manure, also apply 70 lbs N/ac and 15 S/ac; the N from the liquid manure is very slow to release, adding urea and ammonium sulfate helps. The N application can be skipped in July if hot and dry with limited potential for regrowth.

When should I pull the plug on my hay stand?

1) Separate the act of growing hay from any field activities. This is because these numbers can be very hard to calculate from farm to farm. No need to consider establishment costs, as this is a sunk cost. 2) You need to consider the opportunity costs of nutrient removal and what another crop could provide towards your farm’s margin. See the table below for an example. 3) Calculate your own farm’s numbers to determine when you should retire an established stand. 4) Another option is to follow the Lynch system of keeping a hay field for a minimum of 3 years to a maximum of 5 years. The smaller % of total acres are in hay, the bigger the advantage to shortening the hay crop.

Table 2 - Hay Stand Replacement Example

Nitrogen Volatilization

This type of nitrogen loss is greatly over rated. I can find no research that shows any volatilization until soils reach a temperature of 45 F. At temperatures of 45-50 F the loss is very low, if no rain. Various researchers suggest that you need 0.1 to 0.4 inches of rain to move N into the soil to prevent loss. For wheat, the soil is not warm enough to cause volatilization. For corn ground, you can apply N, and if you do not get rain in 5-6 days, then work the N in. If you have that many consecutive days without rain, you should have time to work N in, and this working will also kill the small weeds.

Table 3 - N volatilization under cool soil conditions

Strip Till Burndowns

Too many specific situations to put it all in writing, however, here are a handful of options that are quite simple. In corn we have a lot more options for in-crop control of resistant weeds than soybeans, so the need to getting it perfectly clean for corn isn’t as critical as for soybeans. The following could be added to glyphosate, either before or after spring stripping for corn;

1.     Aim/Focus – Just wait for the weeds to die. Then strip.

2.    2,4-D Ester @ 0.35 L/ac – If you decide to use it prior to stripping, wait at a least 7 days before planting corn.

3.    Elevore – Corteva says to wait a minimum of 5 days between application and corn planting.

4.    Integrity - can be applied at higher rates to corn than soybeans due to better crop safety. Can use Integrity prior to stripping. (equivalent to doing a PPI application) Integrity is registered at 0.3 L/ac for a set up rate and 0.45 L/ac for PPI/full rate.

5.    Primextra II Magnum– can be applied prior to stripping (equivalent to doing a PPI application). Expected reduce control of nutsedge without incorporation across the full width of the field.

6.    Dicamba – should only be applied after planting corn, no exceptions.

7.     No spring strips or going to apply after building your spring strips? You can use your pre-emerge herbicide program as per usual.

Have additional questions on your specific situation? Call us, we are happy to discuss.

New Winter Wheat Herbicides

Simplicity GoDRI (Corteva) – is a group 2 Wheat herbicide that has been available to the Ontario market for a few years. It is registered on all wheat classes. The product controls Japanese brome, Wild Oats, Cleavers and Hemp-nettle, and does have several additional weeds such as Downy brome and chickweed. Consult the label for the full list, also a broadleaf tank mix partner is recommended.

Varro (Bayer) – is a group 2 Wheat herbicide, this product has been available in W. Canada. Weeds of interest; Japanese brome and Wild Oats + foxtails, Cleavers and Hemp-nettle; for the full list consult the label. Varro should be tank mixed with a broadleaf herbicide to provide satisfactory control. Bayer does recommend adding AMS to improve wild oat control.

Velocity M3 (Bayer) – is a pre-mix of Varro and Infinity. This product is registered on all classes of wheat. If you have historically been using Puma Advanced with Infinity, it may be worth looking at this as an option.

"You can't tell the quality of a decision from the outcome"

- Howard Marks