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The Cropwalker - Volume 2 Issue 35

Always read and follow label directions.

August 2019 Complimentary Issue; to become a member and receive all issues, sign up at:


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Ontario Grower Survey

Earlier this year, the Ontario Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) Association surveyed CCA members, employers and industry stakeholders. Now, we would like to gather input from growers. This will help us determine where the Ontario CCA Board should focus efforts over the next three years and how we and our members can best add value to you and to Ontario agriculture.

We have a short, 14-question, mainly multiple choice survey we would like you to complete. According to Survey Monkey, it should take approximately six minutes for you to complete the survey and it is compatible with phones, tablets and computers. You may also enter your email address for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. Your answers will not be linked to your email address. However, there is no obligation to enter your email address.

The link is https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P8TC8M7 It would be appreciated if you could complete the survey by Friday, September 27th.

Crop Conditions

Corn – earliest is starting to dent. Latest is at blister stage. There will be a bunch of good corn and some very good silage corn. There is an opportunity for co-operation between cash croppers and livestock producers. The opportunity is to trade corn acres. Some corn that probably won’t make #2 yellow will make good corn silage. Corn makes carbohydrates and moves them to the ear. If the carbohydrates are still in the stalk, they have feed value for ruminants. Crop insurance equates 1 ton of wet silage to 7 bushels of dry corn. One reader said that on their farm where they have sold silage and left a couple of acres to harvest as grain to verify yields, they get 8-10 bushels of dry corn per ton of silage. However, some of the later corn may be closer to 7 bu/ton. If you can leave some and get a dry bushel yield. Soybeans - some are turning quickly and will be ready for harvest within 2 weeks. I have seen the odd field that has dropped all the leaves. If you are using a desiccant, you need to have 90% of the pods brown. At this stage the leaves will be dropped or yellow. Roundup is not a desiccant. Eragon is. According to BASF “Eragon delivers fast complete dry down of soybeans with reduced risk of regrowth.” Winter Wheat - planting will start this week. Probably a bit early from some areas but land that did not get planted this spring will probably see an early planted wheat crop. Issues with early planting are mainly root rots on heavy soils if it turns wet. Other issues such as snow mould, aphids, barley yellow dwarf virus, “the dreaded hessian fly” are all possible but not very probable” Forages third cut is being finished and fourth cut started. Keep harvest as weather permits. Biggest issue with winter survival is addressing soil fertility.


Western Bean Cutworm (WBC)

Another year has proved that scouting for WBC eggs can be an exercise in futility. At least three CCA’s have told me that as they scouted, they were not sure why. One CCA has told me they scouted, could not find eggs, and now have a noticeable number of WBC larva. No one knows the significance these WBC will have on fusarium levels. What if instead of scouting, you just put WBC traps in your corn fields. When it comes time to spray a fungicide, check the traps, and decide then if you will spray for WBC. Just a thought for discussion.

Picture 1 - Western Bean Cutworm Feeding in Corn

Fusarium Tolerant Hybrids

Corn seed folks are coming around asking for orders. Be sure to ask about tolerance to fusarium. Even if fusarium is not an issue in corn this year, we must insist on having hybrids with good fusarium tolerance. In some area’s fusarium is a problem every 7-8 years. Some areas it is a problem 3 out of 6 years. The corn buyers will be more diligent in checking for fusarium. Keep the pressure on the seed companies to give us hybrids with good fusarium tolerance. I think you can give up some yield to get good fusarium tolerance.

Winter Wheat Seeding Reminders

The most important thing is spreading soybean chaff evenly. Your combine manual will give ideas if your service guy doesn’t know. If seeding this week probably 1.2-1.3 M seeds /ac is enough on the best soils. For tougher soils, or those very low in phosphorus, aim for 1.4 to 1.6 M seeds.  Planting this early you will get tillers. As season goes on you will need to increase seeding rate. Even though you are planting early, you need to plant at least 1” deep. You need this depth to reduce the amount of heaving next spring. Many a field has been ripped up simply because the grower did not put the drill in deep enough. Applying phosphorous fertilizer with the seed is a proven practice unless your soil test is very high for phosphorous.

What Stage to Harvest Oats for Forage

Stage of maturity for optimum forage quality is at the “boot-stage” (head beginning to emerge from leaf whorl). Harvested at the boot-stage, fall grown oats are highly digestible and palatable. With cooler temperatures and shorter days, fall grown oats often have higher digestible energy than spring seeded oats. Boot-stage oatlage is excellent feed for dairy heifers and beef cows but may not be adequate to include in high producing dairy cow rations. At the boot-stage, cereals are typically about 16.5% crude protein and 54% NDF with very good fiber digestibility. Once headed, nutritional quality declines rapidly. Harvesting at the headed or early-milk stages will provide more yield but will have much lower digestible energy and protein. Wet chemistry rather than NIRS laboratory analysis of cereal forage is recommended. (Notes from OMAFRA)

Fall Seeded Cereal Rye

You can successfully seed cereal rye after corn silage, or after soybeans, if you need feed next spring. The earlier you plant cereal rye the better. Fall planted cereal rye can provide a reason quantity of quality forage next spring. One customer harvested 9 – 4’X5’ bales per acre (65% moisture) in late May, from cereal rye seeded after winter wheat. Probably 1-1.5 tons/ac of dry matter is a realistic number to shoot for. Doing this in late May allows you to plant beans after. Winter triticale - is a bit of an unknown. If considering planting winter triticale just plant a few acres. Yields can be comparable (see article below), seed available and fall management are critical. Winter hardiness can be an issue. Winter Barley - Will typical mature too late for most of Ontario to double crop soybeans but can provide nice forage yields.

Stage of Growth for Harvesting a Winter Cereal for Forage

According to Dr. J. Cherney at Cornell, stage of growth has a bigger effect on forage quality than the species of winter grain chosen. For quality winter forage, flag leaf rolled is a bit early, by waiting for 4-5 additional days to early swollen boot (head below the last leaf), you can have the same feed quality and gain a 35% yield increase. If the head has started to poke through, you have waited too long if trying to produce a 20% protein forage. Better to be on the early side than too late. Thus, you must harvest at rolled flag leaf to early swollen boot to have acceptable feed quality.

Notes from Tom Kilcer, CCA-ON on Winter Triticale

Earlier planting means more tillers, which provides higher yields. Winter Triticale should be seeded 10-14 days prior to your ideal winter wheat planting date. For example, winter triticale with a Sept 10th seeding date in replicated trials yielded 30% more dry matter than October 5th seeding date. The Sept 10th plantings were ready a week earlier for harvest than the October 5th fields. In Tom’s trials, ideal seeding rate has been 100 lbs./ac, regardless of seeding date. If seeding later, Tom has found that a 3-way fungicide seed treatment (no insecticide), has been beneficial, 15% more yield on the earlier seeding date, 28% more on later seeding date. Set your drill to a minimum of 1.25” deep, seeding depth is critical for winter survival. There is a benefit to fall tillering if you can give it a shot of N to stimulate tillering, this will not affect winter hardiness. Lastly, treat it like a forage crop, not a cover crop. If you plant a mix with oats, and take off a fall cut, keep mowing height high.

Is Critical Harvest Date Really a Hoax?

Not really but I wanted to get your attention that you should ignore any “Critical Harvest Dates” information from other sources. I imagine there might be one, but it is different every year. Sort of like the “black hole date for planting wheat” that once was mentioned.

Is It Too Late to Apply Fertilizer for Forages?

It is a bit late to get best “winter hardiness affect” from fertilizer. But it is better now than later, or next spring. A good crop will remove the equivalent of 150 lbs./ac of MAP and 400 lbs./ac of muriate of potash. This quantity is best split in at least 2 applications. If one is next spring, you can add sulphur and boron next year. If you still need to apply your potash, consider applying boron with it, if you haven’t historically used it. It can help with winter survival, and there has been visual symptoms in most alfalfa fields I have set foot in this fall.

My Biggest Equipment Pet Peeve

My biggest pet peeve when it comes to equipment is growers that spread soybean residue unevenly. Especially since it is something that is within your control, or the combine operator’s control, as it leads to many other issues in the rest of the crop rotation. Have an uneven wheat stand in the spring? Look at how well the residue was spread the previous fall. It really is the case of an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Picture 2 - Uneven spreading of soybean residue

Spraying off Roundup Ready Alfalfa

OMAFRA Field Crops Weed Specialist, Mike Cowbrough, had an excellent article in the most recent issue of Country Guide on terminating Roundup Ready alfalfa stands. To sum it up; In 2018, October 3rd provided better control than October 30th, regardless of burndown product used. The main factor was that air temperatures were consistently below 5C and had very little growth after application. In this research, you would have been better off waiting until spring, when more growing degree days were available. Which product should you use? In the fall, 2,4-D Ester 700 @ 0.52 L/ac or Engenia (Dicamba) at 0.4 L/ac provided similar control. For spring application, 2,4-D Ester 700 offered the most crop options, but only had 80% control, Engenia (Dicamba) @ 0.4 L/ac had 86% control but restricted you to Xtend soybeans. Spring applied Lontrel 360 @ 0.33 L/ac provided 95% control, but you were restricted to corn or spring cereals as a crop (soybeans or dry beans would have too great of stand loss).

I Have White Mould In My Soybeans, How Much Yield Loss do I Have?

In soybeans, for every 1% plant death observed (due to white mould) at growth stage R7 (tan pod), is estimated to be 0.25 to 0.50 bus/ acre yield loss. (Notes from Dale Cowan, CCA-ON)

Picture 3 - White Mould Infection on Soybean Stem

New Herbicide Registered - Express SG

Express SG from FMC has been registered for use in Ontario. You have likely already used the active in this product. It is one of the two group 2s in Refine SG/Refine M/Barricade M.  Where does Express SG (Tribenuron) fit this fall? If you are doing a fall burndown and have Wild Carrot or Scentless Chamomile, two weeds that most burndown actives are weak on, you may want to consider adding Express SG to the tank. A few comments that suppression of Scentless Chamomile has been reported as variable, in most of those situations it was applied to larger plants.

Should You Do a Solvita Test as Part of Your Fall Soil Sampling?

Based upon conversations with soil labs that offer this soil test, it can be useful for determine differences in nitrogen response between crops/treatments. Especially if you are trying to compare manure vs. no manure or cover crop vs no cover crop as part of your management program. Use your typical soil sampling process (6” cores), but keep the samples cool and send to the lab sooner than later, especially if you would like the nitrate portion of the test completed.

Soil Test Lab Differences

A few clients have a specific soil lab that they like. Generally, Ontario labs will be using similar extractants and processes for the accredited nutrients. The question is, when you would recommend working with one lab over another? ?The biggest differences I see between labs are; 1) Technical Staff – the people behind the test may have years of experience in particular crop and how to maximize nutrient response, 2) Turn around time, almost all ag labs can do soil analysis, some have more of a focus on feed testing than soils, others focus more on the crop side. 3) While the reports will have the same results, how the information is presented may differ, some reports are easier to interpret than others. 4) Soil/Tissue Sample Database, half the battle once the results are completed, is keeping track of the information, when the next soil sampling is due, and having access to the various file formats for post processing (especially for prescription writing).

Once you see the tidal wave, it’s too late!” – Stan Parsons