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The Cropwalker - Volume 2 Issue 34

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Will Corn Make it?

The most asked question and concern in the back roads. Nobody knows. Some of the yield predictions for Ontario corn yield estimate range from 156 to 173 bu/ac. Last year we had an average yield of 180 bu/ac. Last week’s newsletter we gave you a procedure to estimate your yield. Below is a table to get you into the ballpark of expected date for black layer.

Graph 1 - Estimated 2019 Corn Stage by Calendar Date

You can now test Weed Resistance by Sending a Leaf Sample for Testing

Kristen Obeid, OMAFRA Hort Weed Specialist, says that if you send her a leaf sample of a suspected resistant weed, she can do a simple test-tube analysis to see if it is resistant to certain herbicides. So far, they have test for the following weeds, with herbicide groups in brackets; crabgrass (1) giant foxtail (2) eastern black nightshade (2) common ragweed (2,5,7) red and green pigweed (2,5,7) chickweed (2) waterhemp (2,5,9,14) lamb’s quarters (5) fleabane (9), brassica sp. (9) If you have suspected resistance, contact her and she will send you a kit with instructions on what to send; Her contact info is; Kristen Obeid, M.Sc. Weed Management Specialist – Horticulture, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs - 2585 County Rd. 20, RR#2 Harrow, ON N0R 1G0 Phone: 519-738-1232 Cell & Text: 519-965-010 e-mail kristen.obeid@ontario.ca

Using Weed Seeds to Identify Herbicide Resistance

You can send mature viable weed seed to Peter Smith Weed Science Technician, Department of Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph Crop Science Building 50 Stone Road East Guelph, ON N1G 2W1. More seed is always better, as seed viability is often poor. Include what herbicide you need tested, crop history and your contact information. Peter saves all seeds and starts testing in January.

Ken DeCorte on Twitter Pulling Fleabane

Saw a shot of Ken in a field pulling fleabane. I imagine they are resistant ones that escaped his herbicide program. Good idea. You can do it too. Fleabane has a great ability to resist all our current control strategies.

How Many Days From R5 to Soybean Maturity?

It is not as precise as corn as the table indicates. This table has been compiled from various online soybean maturity charts. Best you can do is watch your field mature.

Graph 2 - Expected Number of Days by Soybean Growth Stages
Picture 1 - Soybeans starting to turn in Huron County

Critical Harvest Date for Alfalfa No Longer Exists

There was research done in the 60’s by Associate Prof Bob Fulkerson at University of Guelph indicating there was a period in alfalfa’s life that was critical for it’s over wintering. That research is over 50 years old. It no longer is valid. Since then there are more winter hardy varieties and better fertility programs. This spring, I spoke with Matt Anderson DLF Pickseed whose company is the only one doing forage research testing in Ontario. I asked him about how his alfalfa variety trial over wintered. He said that too many plots killed out, so they abandoned all plots planted before 2018. I asked when he took the last cut at their Lindsay and Port Hope research stations. He said August. Manage your alfalfa as if there never was a critical harvest date. When it is ready to harvest and if the weather looks good, cut it.

Cover Crops Into Soybeans

Have you considered seeding a cover crop into soybeans? You seed your cover crop before soybean leaves start to drop. Broadcast either winter wheat, rye or oats. Use about 100 to 120 lbs/ac of wheat or rye or about 80 lbs/ac of oats. None of this is real dramatic but is effective.

What is the Pre-Harvest Interval for Various Fungicides on Oats for Greenchop?

According to various labels – Acapela – 7 days; Caramba – 30 days; Folicur; 6 days; Headline AMP – 30 days; Prosaro – 6 days; Tilt @ 0.1 L/ac– 7 days; Trivapro – 30 days;

Using something not listed? Please check the label, look for the words forage or greenchop when looking at PHI under the cereals section. Many of the products are only registered for 1 application prior to cutting.

Which is the Best Conservation Tillage Tool?

Is it the Lemken Rubin 10, or John Deere’s 2680H or Great Plains Ultra Disc? Are any of them better than Salford’s 5212? All of these and 10 other pieces of tillage equipment will be demonstrated at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock. Hope to see you there.

Thinking of Getting Your Own Fertilizer Spreader?

This year at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show we will be demonstrating 6 different company’s fertilizer spreaders. Hope to see you there.

Still on the Fence on Section Control?

A recent conversation suggested that there are quite a few producers in Ontario without section control on their air drills. This is a common technology on air carts in Western Canada, so common that I would expect more use section control than don’t. I would consider adding section control to an air drill before a planter. Why? 1) You typically plant more than one crop with it, so it will cover more acres than a planter. 2) Air drills tend to be wider than most planters, resulting in more overlap. 3) In many situations, you may be putting down both seed and fertilizer. Conversations with equipment dealers suggests the cost is $25 to 50,000 for an aftermarket kit depending on the number of tanks, brand of unit, and where you source it from. Alternatively, you could try sourcing a gentle used cart from Western Canada with the system already installed.

Let’s assume on most operations, they run 180,000 seeds/ac of RR soybean seed ($70/ac), 140 lbs/ac of certified Winter Wheat seed ($70/ac) and 100 lbs/ac of MAP ($30/ac) through the machine. In a previous article, we had mentioned that the average overlap on corn planters in Ontario is 7%. Based on this research, you can take your input costs, and double the value to factor in lost yield in the overlaps. Growers have commented to me that 10% is typical on some of the larger air drills (especially in smaller fields).

If you’re a 1500 acre operation, with 500 acres each of corn, soybeans and winter wheat, and have a 7% overlap, you may be able to pay for a system in just two years.

Graph 3 - Soybean Savings with Section Control
Graph 4 - Winter Wheat Savings with Section Control

How Do I Figure Out How Much Overlap I Have?

You’re interested in section control, but are unable to quantify a value on how many acres of overlap you have? Take your field boundary acres. and compare it to your as-applied seeding acres. The difference is your overlap.

Bean Leaf Beetle in Soybeans

Seeing several fields approaching threshold in my field walks. We suspect that the current insecticide seed treatments are not controlling the first generation of this pest. Also, later than normal seeding date has an effect. Here is a quick review on Bean Leaf Beetle.

Picture 2 - Bean Leaf Beetle Feeding on a Soybean Pod


Excerpt from OMAFRA – Publication 812 – Field Crop Crop Protection Guide; Bean leaf beetle populations rarely cause enough defoliation after the seedling stages to require a foliar insecticide application in Ontario. Defoliation thresholds are listed in the OMAFRA Publication 811, Agronomy Guide for Field Crops (below).

Soybean V3–R4 Stage: If the defoliation exceeds the thresholds stated in Table 15–4, Standard damage thresholds for soybean insect defoliation, a rescue treatment may be warranted.

Soybean R5–R6 Stage of IP, Food Grade and Seed Fields: If 10% of the pods on the plants have feeding injury AND the beetles are still active in the field, a spray is warranted. Consider days to harvest intervals before making a spray decision. If damage is only concentrated on the leaves, follow the defoliation thresholds as stated in Table 15–4.

Graph 5 - Soybean Defoliation Thresholds by Crop Stage
Picture 3 - Soybean Defoliation Chart

Source of defoliation picture; https://cropwatch.unl.edu/2016/soybean-defoliation-worksheet

Products of choice; Endigo (30 day PHI) or Matador (21 day PHI). My preference for this pest is to use a neonic, as you will get better plant coverage within the canopy (when it is hot, they can go into cracks in the soil). For bee safety and best efficacy, recommend spraying in late evening. Lagon/Cygon (30 day PHI) is registered, use if you also have spider mites present. Movento (21 day PHI) is registered, however, feel the knock down will not be fast enough if you are at threshold this late in the season. Concept (20 day PHI) is another option that is a both a neonic and pyrethroid (similar to Endigo) but is listed for suppression rather than control. Voliam Xpress, I would expect similar control to that of Matador. PHI = Pre-Harvest Interval

How Do I know If I Have Bean Leaf Beetle Feeding or Grasshopper Feeding?

Bean leaf beetles feed between the major veins on soybeans, grasshoppers will eat the entire leaf, and not follow the veins. When it comes to feeding on pods, Bean leaf beetles will feed on the outside of the pod, grasshoppers will puncture the pod.

Picture 4 - Grasshopper feeding on leaf; notice it crosses veins
Picture 5 - Grasshopper feeding on leaf; Crossing multiple veins
Picture 6 - Bean Leaf Beetle Feeding on Leaf; Doesn't Cross Leaf Veins
Picture 7 - Bean Leaf Beetle Feeding on Leaf; Notice Hole-Punch Effect

Yield Monitors – Are They A Good Investment?

It seems that quite a few growers have scales on buggies, but not all producers record yield data. Usually when doing winter planning, or making in-season management decisions, I get asked, what’s the return if I do XYZ practice for my operation? This is where doing your own on-farm trials comes into play. For example; Soybean fungicides run $16 to $25/acre depending product and rate. As soybeans get close to flowering, I’m asked, should I spray these this year? I can go off weather conditions, experience, and manufacturer data, but you should have information based on your management practices. Using a yield mapping system like FarmTrx www.farmtrx.com (if you have an older combine or do not have the hardware for your current one), which could allow you to gather this data. How about the cost? For less than $2000 CDN, you can be recording your own data. I would suggest you can’t afford to NOT to have a yield monitor. If you applied fungicide on 100 acres of soybeans, and didn’t get a response because of your management practices, it would have cost you a minimum of $1600/acre, plus application. But what if you had applied it and doubled your money? You may have been missing out on $1600 per 100 acres for several years and didn’t know it. It is tough to make incremental improvements without measuring. Whether you decide to use a yield monitor, or not, you are paying for it either way.

Why Hire a Crop Consultant?

Many producers hire a crop consultant because they feel that it gives a second set of eyes to catch small details they may miss. And that may be the case in quite a few situations, these details are usually enough to more than justify the fees the consultant may charge. In my opinion, producers should look at hiring a crop consultant to prevent them from making decisions that may cost the farm or lead the farming operation down a path that could be costly and time consuming. While the $1000 saved here and there is great, it is the $100,000+ decisions on your operation where your 3rd party consultant can really shine.

“Insight doesn't come from success or failure but rather from reflection.”

- Shane Parrish