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The Cropwalker - Volume 2 Issue 13

Always read and follow label directions.

Crop Conditions

Not much has changed this week. Temperatures warmed up on the weekend but still no field activity. Starting to see some green up on winter wheat. Still a few days too early to see how much winter kill exists. Ryan Benjamins in Lambton area thinks maybe 1/3 of the wheat in his area will not make. Other areas in the south feel at least 20% will be burnt off. Not too late to spread red clover. Some growers are thinking 80% crop at a high price may be better than more soybean acres. Many are waiting in case season turns wet and a poor wheat crop is better than no crop. If applying manure remember, if it is too wet to plant it is too wet to spread manure. Might be better to fertilize and apply manure later when there is less risk of compaction. Forages still a bit early to get a good handle on forage winter survival if checking from the road. You should walk your field now for survival.

Picture 1 - Winter Wheat Stand Establishment Check

When checking wheat, make note of any trash in the seed trench, there is still a small window to correct drill issues prior to putting soybeans in.


Burning off Winter Wheat

Wheat is very sensitive to Roundup. You can easily kill wheat with 0.5 L / ac Roundup. You won’t see the wheat turning colour quickly. But if you miss an area you will notice a difference in growth. If planting the field into spring cereals you have to be sure that there is enough leaf tissue to kill the wheat. It would be nice to have at least 1 leave. If the field is going into corn or soybeans there is no hurry to spray off the wheat.

Burndown Walks

If going to no-till corn or soybeans, you can start your burndown walks. You control for the biggest weed, not the smallest. See what’s out there and how big it is. It won’t get any smaller.

Soybean Variety Choice before Winter Wheat

Spoke with a grower last week who commented his neighbours had better soybean yields than he. He planted a shorter season variety. But he had no white mould and he got his wheat planted in September. If you want wheat planted this fall, plant a shorter than full season soybean variety on fields intended for wheat. Shorter season varieties also tend to have less mould.

Nutsedge Control in Corn

Two main corn products are Dual, found in many products such as Primextra, and Frontier, contained in Integrity. These two actives also control night shade. When Frontier first came out there was a lot of discussions to which product was best on nutsedge and nightshade. I feel that they are similar in control of both weeds. The difference is in application. For best nutsedge control, either active should be incorporated. For best nightshade you must not incorporate, rather apply pre-emerge. I prefer either pre emerge. This method gives some control of nutsedge and best nightshade control. Then apply Permit in corn to control the nutsedge that has emerged. Typically, nutsedge is not through the whole field and you can spot spray areas. Permit is a group 2 herbicide that does control a number of broadleaf weeds. It is registered on several crops other than corn. It is not registered on soybeans. Permit is a bit expensive to apply to the entire field, since it needs other actives to control grasses. In research trials the year after application Permit plots had about 25% the number of nutlets as the Primextra or glyphosate treated plots. Field experience backs up the fact that with Permit, there is less nutsedge the next year.

Tank Mixing Instructions for Primextra

1. Fill tank half full of carrier - Begin agitation and continue throughout the process. 2. Add Primextra II Magnum and allow for the herbicide to be fully mixed - Approximately five minutes 3. Fill tank to 3/4 full of carrier 4. Add surfactant and allow time for the surfactant to be fully mixed - Approximately five minutes. 5. Add glyphosate. 6. Completely fill tank with carrier. 7. Do not let stand without agitation.

Gelling with 28% UAN and Ammonium Thio-Sulphate (12-0-0-26 S)

Over the years I have heard of several complaints with working with ATS. It can be a finicky product to work with when not handled properly. One the biggest issues with it is on the first pass on Winter Wheat, especially with 32-0-0 UAN. On frosty mornings you will have plugged nozzles on the sprayer, as both products “salt out” at 0 degrees C. Salt out means that the ions in solution form a sludge and are no longer in solution, the entire tank doesn’t turn to a solid. It’s kind of like looking at expired milk. You have a sludge portion and water. When mixing with very cold 28% UAN, you may see some of this sludging due to the temperature drop. The only way to get around it is to warm up the 28% or to keep agitating the tank to try and get it back into solution. Check your sprayer screens for crystals as well, clean as required.

Group 27s Corn Herbicides

If you grow corn, you likely use a group 27 herbicide as part of your weed control program. If you haven’t been, it’s time to consider one of them. There are several on the market, here is my Coles notes: 1) regardless of which one you use, there is a significant synergy between group 27s and atrazine. For best performance, use with atrazine. 2) Some provide both grass and broadleaf control, others only broadleaf control. 3) Some have residual, others are only knock down.

bicyclopyrone – is not available on its own but is a component in Acuron. Enhances activity on lamb’s quarter, common ragweed and adds the suppression of proso millet.

Callisto – provides both residual (120 mL/ac) and knockdown (84 mL/ac) broadleaf weed control. Does provide crabgrass suppression. Very crop safe from PRE to 8 leaf.

Converge Flexx (component in Converge XT) – provides both grass and broadleaf weed control. Knock down performance depends on weed size. Better crop safety if applied PRE. If corn is up, limited to 30 ac rate when tank mixed with glyphosate from 1 to 3 leaf. Do not apply beyond the 3 leaf stage.

Impact/Armezon – provides suppression on grasses and control of annual broadleaves, very limited to no residual. Very crop safe from 1 to 8 leaf.

VIOS G3 – is a post-emerge herbicide (1 to 6 lf) and is designed to be a late post tank-mix partner with glyphosate or Liberty. It has a crop safener and relies on the glyphosate or Liberty to control any emerged weeds, providing up to 5 weeks residual grass and broadleaf weed control. Please note that any grass weed control is from the grp 2 active in this product.

Compaction Reduction

There is lots of press suggesting that using lower tire pressure greatly reduces compaction. This is because with lower tire pressure there is greater tire to soil surface area and thus less pressure per square inch being exerted on the soil. BUT there are multiple factors in creating compaction. Axle load, surface area and thus, weight per square inch, are two that can be identified and measured. The other biggy, even bigger than the first two is soil moisture. The wetter the soil is, the easier it is to compact. And not just the top 2-4 inches. Compaction can go 2-4 feet deep. This is more a factor in some soils than others. We can help you somewhat by identifying soil types in separate parcels of land. However, the biggest factor is going to be your experience on a certain piece of land. I have often seen a grower work new land when they thought it was fit but cause serious compaction. Thus, knowing when the soil is fit will remain as one of the “arts” of farming that some growers are better at than others are. (Notes from Jim Shaw Ridgetown 2003)

Use of Soybean Inoculants

Research from public research stations in Ontario and Northern US. Has shown there can be a yield increase by using soybean inoculants on land that has grown soybeans before. There is lots of research to show the value of inoculants on first year bean ground. More recent research continues to validate this earlier research. Now with higher yields the expected increase with inoculants is closer to 2 bu/ac.

Table 1 - Soybean yield response to Inoculation

Thickening Forage Stands

The table gives guidelines for stand count by stand age. For new seeding established in 2018 you can inter-seed alfalfa in areas that killed out. For established stands that have some holes, you can no till a mixture of oats and grasses and red clover. This will give feed in the second cut and fill these spaces to keep weeds out.

Table 2 - Alfalfa Winter Survival - Plants per sq ft.

Planting Depth Critical for Forage Seeding

According to Marvin Hall, Penn State forage specialist, more failures in establishing forages are the result of improper seeding depth than any other cause! If seeding depth isn’t correct, then you might as well not bother to seed. Forage seeds have a very small supply of stored energy to support the seedling until it emerges and begin making its own energy. Seeds placed too deep are not likely to emerge. Optimum seeding depth varies with soil type but generally is not more than 3/8” deep. A rule-of-thumb is that “5-10% of the forages seeds planted should be on the surface after seeding”.

Dairy Farmers have lots of Fertility

In my opinion, if you are a dairy farmer you either pay the feed rep or the fertilizer rep, it’s up to you as a grower to decide who it will be. When I mentioned this to growers, especially those that have recently added to their land base, they are sometimes a little taken back. Perhaps in the past they had more than enough manure to cover what their crops required, but as they have expanded the land base and reduced the amount of manure applied as a % of acres, soil test values typically start to decline. Some of the lowest soil test levels I have worked with has been on land owned by dairy farmers. In many situations the assumption is that the manure will take care of any phosphorus and potassium requirements. But they are also growing crops that tax soil the most from a nutrient removal standpoint, corn silage and alfalfa. So, if you have nutrients leaving the farm, you need to bring fertility on the farm in one form or another, whether through purchased feed or through fertilizer.

Getting micro-nutrients into blends and using compound fertilizers

Compound fertilizers are nothing new. What is relatively new to Ontario is having them added in blends on a large scale. Are they going away? No. I expect to see more products as the “premium” fertilizer suppliers continue to look for ways to add value to their raw materials. There are several reasons to use a compound over a blend or in a blend. Some of them have been outlined below, other reasons include the following;

·       Reduced product segregation during transportation/handling (This is issue when blending products with different SGN sizes)

·       Reduction in fines/improved flowability

·       Improved root interception, which is why Mosaic developed MESZ, it improves Zinc distribution by 40x if using Zinc 20%.

·       Reduction in handling (no blending in certain applications) and in some cases volume (more total nutrients per 100 lbs material)

The biggest disadvantage for most of these products is that it ties up another bin in the fertilizer plant. And suppliers tend to have exclusivity agreements.

What are other retailers doing that don’t have access to these products? Some are using Yara’s Procote, an oil-based liquid suspension to evenly coat micro-nutrients on all the prills in a blend. Others are using dry adhesive micro-nutrients like Compass Nutrition’s WolfTraxx, which uses an electrical charge to bind to the material in a blend.

Will conventional fertilizer disappear completely? I doubt it, but they will play less of a role in specific applications like starters or top-dress applications. I anticipate conventional fertilizers to be placed mainly in broadcasts to maintain soil tests levels or require large amounts of macro nutrients.

Table 3 - Common Ontario Compound Fertilizers

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