6 min read

The Cropwalker - Volume 2 Issue 14

Always read and follow label directions.

Not a member? Visit  https://www.getrevue.co/profile/Cropwalker/members to become one.

Crop Conditions

Winter Wheat

There will be more wheat ripped up than previously suggested. West Lambton may lose 60% of their seeded acres. Through the rest of the southern wheat area probably 20-25% give or take will be ripped up. This is the highest % of wheat ripped up in a long time. Other than looking at wheat, not much other field activity going on. If you typically plant oats as a cover crop, suggest that you have your seed lined up. It will be in short supply. Some vegetables planted on lighter ground.


What to do with Small Killed Out Areas in Wheat

You have to have something growing to keep the weeds down. If these areas are less than an acre consider no tilling oats and broadcast some red clover seed on these areas. A second choice is barley or spring wheat. Since good oats is probably sold out, just seed feed oats.

Alternate Straw Sources

Already some are talking about straw being worth more than 10 cents a pound. If you normally sell straw consider accepting a reasonable price in order to be able to sell again in years when there is lots of saw. Typically, when there is a suspected straw shortage, we end up with straw left over. If you want to grow your own, the best spring cereal is oats. You may have to settle for bin run, as a lot of locations have sold out. Oats yields more straw than spring wheat or barley. Oats are susceptible to crown rust, so you have to spray. Oats lodge easier than barley or spring wheat, so watch your N rate. Normally barley gets 90 lbs N/ac and oats 60 lbs N/ac.

Wheat and Tillers

Warmer temperatures and day lengths approaching 14 hours will stop tiller production (around the end of April). Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers, after green up, fall below 25 tillers per square foot. If you plant 15-20 seeds per foot and have 10-15 main plants per foot then having a little over an average of 1 tiller per plant, according to Pat Lipps, Ohio, should allow for maximum yield. (Fifteen tillers per square foot are considered minimal for an economic crop. The number of tillers per square foot is equal to the number of tillers in 20.5 inches of 7-inch wide rows).

Spring Cereals Seeding Recommendations

A number of seed suppliers are indicating they are sold out or close to sold out of spring cereals. With this in mind, here are a few notes on seeding rates.

1)    Adjust based upon crop species (see chart below)

2)    Ensure you adjust for differences in thousand kernel weight (TKW). The supplier should be able to provide you with TKW or seeds/lb. This is important as from 2018 area II results for Barley, you could have up to a 45% difference in weight to get the same number of seeds/ac in the ground (AAC Purpose TKW of 54.1 gr. vs. Baden TKW of 37.5 gr).

3)    Finally adjust based upon soil type (plant mortality). Clay soils should be planted at the higher end of the range.

Table 1 - OMAFRA Pub 811, Plant Populations by Sp. Cereal Species
Table 2 - Example Plant Population by TKW

Minimizing Soil Compaction in the Spring

There will be temptation to get on the field before soil conditions are fit. Wheel traffic in wet soils is a major cause of compaction. Research shows that surface compaction can impact yield up to five years, and subsoil compaction can impact yield for 10 years (figure beside). To test soil water content, do a ball test. Sample soil at 3- to 6-inch depth, mold into a ball and drop on a hard surface. If it doesn’t break or crack upon impact, it’s too wet for field operations. Management strategies to reduce soil compaction include: 1) staying off wet fields, 2) controlling wheel traffic, reducing axle loads and adjusting tire pressure, 3) reducing tillage, 4) building soil organic matter (long term strategy), 5) rotating with perennial crops.

Figure 1 - Yield Losses due to Compaction. Adapted from Penn State.

Should I apply Sulphur to Soybeans?

It depends. Of the cash crops grown in Ontario, soybeans is the least responsive relative to alfalfa, canola, corn or cereal crops. The questions are, when could you expect to get a Sulphur response in soybeans, when should you apply it and how much should you apply? The most responsive will be on sandy soils with low organic matter and/or if you do not currently use Sulphur on other crops in the rotation. Less responsive is likely to be heavier soil types or soils getting livestock manure. Based upon research in Ontario and other jurisdictions, 10-15 lbs/ac applied pre-plant is adequate, with Ontario data showing an average 3.1 bu/ac response on sandy soils low in OM. Purdue’s Dr. Shaun Casteel has found that in his trials, the largest response has been broadcast up front, with his trials 20 lbs S/ac provided 6.5 to 12.5 bu/ac in 2016 and 13 bu/ac in 2017.

Proliant – Growth Enhancer

In rather simplistic manner, Proliant is anabolic steroid for grass crops. Yes, that’s right. You can have Olympic sized crops with this product. All kidding aside, the timing is very critical with regards to using gibberellic acid and getting a response. Here are a few notes from Nufarm’s Adam Bent to getting the most out of this product.

All crops

·       Must use a non-ionic surfactant, even with herbicides, but do not apply to the crop with 2,4-D, you will have crop injury

·       Best performance is under slow drying conditions

·       Water pH should be neutral (below 8.5)

Cereals – (Barley/Oats/Wheat)

·       Must be applied prior to Zadok 30 (prior to stem elongation), Zadok’s 20-25 (tiller is optimal). Once stem elongation has started, the window has passed.

·       Promotes increased grains per head


·       Biggest response has been from hybrids with flex/semi-flex (i.e. Pride 5433 has had 20 bu/ac response, Pioneer 9188 has had a 2 bu/ac response)

·       Increases vegetation and kernel rows, increased silage tonnage

·       Seems to lower moisture at harvest, have not seen any impact on vomitoxin (positive or negative)

·       Ideal timing is the V5 stage (5 collars or 6-7 leaf over). After this stage, there is minimal crop response and never apply it at tasseling.

Nitrogen Inhibitors – What should you use when, and what conditions cause the risk of loss?

Table 3 - Summary of Nitrogen Inhibitors
Picture 1 - IPNI Nitrogen Cycle

Managing Nitrogen – Spatial variability vs Temporal variability

There are two trains of thought when it comes to N management. Temporal variability involves trying to manage nitrogen response from a year to year and fine tune the rate across an area (often whole field) due to seasonal factors. Spatial variability involves fine tuning based upon a location or management zone within the field. Both have their issues, temporal ignores the natural background variability, while spatial ignores the impact weather can have on nitrogen availability and losses within a given area. Without the proper zones identified, it is very difficult to pull samples temporally and get consistent responses. In my opinion the answer is properly identifying management zones based upon spatial variability and then measuring those areas year in/year out based upon the growing season, and, responding accordingly.

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried"

- Stephen McCranie