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The Cropwalker - Volume 2 Issue 7

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Spring Issues Related to Last Year’s Weather

Soil Nitrogen – could be in short supply due to all the wet weather last fall. Especially vulnerable are lighter soils. The nitrogen released from organic matter last summer will probably have leached down a bit. If there is warm weather in May, more will be released. However, suggest you get your first split of nitrogen on wheat as soon as the wheat greens up. Sulphur likewise will be limited. Apply sulphur for wheat with your first nitrogen pass. Likewise, alfalfa should have sulphur applied early. Weeds – like fleabane and chickweed will be bigger than normal. The wet weather last fall helped them grow. You can have some winter kill of smaller fleabane plants but the survivors will be bigger and tougher than normal. Try to control these as soon as possible, especially in fields to be planted in soybeans.

Soybean Seed Issues 2019

I checked with a number of suppliers. It looks like there will be lots of seed. There was a significant amount of disease in the seed fields last year. However, the fungicide seed treatment will do a good job mitigated that risk. The disease will be on the outside of the seed, not inside, so no problem for 2019 on fungicide treated seed. Seed size is something to consider. Higher yields last year came from bigger beans, as opposed to more beans per plant. If you are used to seeding large soybean seeds no problem. If not, then handle seed carefully. Drills can do more “grinding” of the seeds than planters. So get out your drill/planter manual, and know the setting for larger seeded beans. Could be a lot of beans at 2,000 or fewer seeds per pound.

2018 Grower Trials/Experiences – General Comments

5 bu/ac responses by side-dressing soybeans with N+S on sandy soils, did not see a response in the best areas of the field. More loam or clay parts of the field had minimal response. This was on 20” soybeans.

Consider using Ilevo treated beans on sandy parts of the field with mSet (Dual Hybrid) from Precision Planting. Only use the seed treatment where you need it. Another option is to use two tanks on the air drill. Have one tank with regular seed treatment, another for Ilevo for the areas that have high SCN pressure. First line of defense should be genetics.

Foliar feeding – one grower had been doing foliar feeding with a shotgun type product. After completing a couple years of on-farm trials, they have discontinued the practice.

Hybrid comparisons – grower has spent considerable time comparing hybrid by seeding rate. During this he has noticed that one hybrid is typically his highest yielding, another is his most consistent and a third is one he doesn’t grow anymore. It has taken him a few years to develop the data. Between his highest yield hybrid and the one no longer on the farm there was a 20 bu/ac spread. Spending time on trials for him meant $80/ac opportunity cost by growing the laggard.

Grower found that with OAC Wallace soybeans, 7.5” rows with the drill vs. 15” rows with planter meant minimal yield difference. However, when they went to 15” rows with the drill vs. 15” rows with the planter, the planter had a slight advantage (2-3 bu/ac).

Another commented in passing that when they have tried no-till soybeans they haven’t seen a response to 2x2” fertilizer with the corn planter. (Mileage may vary depending on soil tests)

Starter fertilizer blend considerations

Aircarts are a popular method of delivering starter fertilizer on planting and seeding equipment. Many a grower (and retailer) has gone through a steep learning curve as they utilize this equipment the first few years. To save some growing pains on plugged runs and towers, make use of the critical relative humidity charts to ensure smooth sailing this spring.

A few additional pointers I have picked up;

1.      There are several grades of Sulpho-Mag (K-Mag). Standard grade looks like cut glass and is extremely abrasive. This is fine for planters with a standard dry fertilizer box, but will quickly wear out parts on an air system. Premium grade is made by granulation and is more susceptible to taking on water during days with high humidity.

2.     Looking to increase the flowability? Nutrien’s ESN is an excellent option when looking to improve the flowability of a blend. With air carts you are pushing moist air past the prills as it is being blown to the opener, as a result you end up with moist and sticky residues the entire length of the piping from Urea or other Ammonium Nitrates. Dusty potash exasperates this even more.

3.     Mosaic’s MESZ may have a slight improvement in flowability over MAP. Especially if it has been oiled when leaving the terminal. An added benefit of MESZ, is that you would not require Ammonium Sulphate in the blend, if looking to apply Sulphur in the band.

4.     Limited benefit to placing boron in a 2x2 compared to broadcast. Due to boron toxicity and the limited application rates. As a rule of thumb, boron should be applied with the highest rate nitrogen application. Agronomists have commented on seeing a bigger yield bump by broadcast over 2x2 applications. The use of Aspire (Mosaic’s granulated potash with boron), can reduce the risk of hot spots, if using boron in a 2x2 band.

5.      Adding liquid micros to the blend can cause additional issues. Mileage will vary depending on the underlying blend ingredients. Consider a drying agent in the blend, such as, zeolite, kitty litter, or Agsorb to reduce issues.

Table sources: European Fertilizer Manufacturers Association

Table 1 - Granular Fertilizer Critical Relative Humidities
Table 2 - Granular Fertilizer Compatibility

Risks of Planting 2 Hybrids in Same Field

It is nice to do split planter hybrid comparisons vs. having your own hybrid trials. Biggest issue is spraying these fields for fusarium control. The window for silk emergence is small. Then when you figure in the variability between plants, and within a field, the right time for spraying is smaller. Then if you have two hybrids planted side by side. In the same field, it is practically impossible to effectively control fusarium. If you want to do a hybrid comparison, consider splitting the field, not the planter.

Planter Maintenance – Corn planting season is only four weeks away! I have seen a couple of planters pulled out from the back of sheds. If you haven’t done so already, take the time now to go over your planter. Check and replace worn out parts, including; disc openers, chains, and belts. Make sure seed tubes are clean, or replace them if they are worn. Lubricate chains and grease fittings. Make sure that coulters and disc openers are aligned properly. Inflate tires to the proper air pressure. If you can find the manual, it would be worthwhile to do some light reading before you get started. Be ready, so when it’s go time, you can get planting.

Thoughts on Soybean Fungicides

I am reading various reports of spraying soybeans with a fungicide where white mould control is not evaluated. In general, the newer fungicides are out yielding the older fungicides. Probably not a surprise. We know the common fungal diseases will change. A product registered a few years ago will control some of the fungi. Any fungi that live will cross bred with other fungi and lead to more resistance. I think it is a case where if you are looking at fungicides on soybeans do not be afraid of new products promoted by a reputable supplier. I mean new actives, not just a new product with old actives.

Oats as A Cover Crop

Most oat varieties are susceptible to rust. That means you either have to spray a fungicide or risk having very little top growth. According to Peter Johnson, former OMAFRA cereal specialist, AC Bullet was the preferred variety, until it started to show susceptibility to rust 2 years ago. If you grow oats for a cover crop, spray for rust at the 3rd node stage with a fungicide labelled for crown rust. According to Johnson the variety for top forage yield is Richmond and it has the same rust tolerance as AC Bullet. If you plan on using oat as a cover crop and want to grow your own seed, consider planting as early as possible this spring, for harvest shortly after wheat harvest. Apply 40-60 actual N.  Typically, new oats do not appear as aggressive as 1-year old seed, but they eventually catch up.

Demonstrations at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show

The preparations for this year’s show are in full swing. There will be “Tillage of Cover Crops”, as well as a demonstration of fertilizer spreaders, including variable rate spreaders. It also appears that OMAFRA will be continuing with their strip till demonstrations. This year will also include fertilizer with the strip till machines


Firm Fined Over Fertilizer Ad – A Kitchener judge fined a fertilizer company for claiming that their phosphorous was more available. (There were also other reasons for the fine). This is why we like to get claims in writing regarding nutrients from some fertilizers being more available. If something is said, it is not as valid as if it is written. Most companies who are not willing to stand behind their product will not put things like “being more available” in writing. The fine associated with phosphorous “being more available” occurred in 1978. But the decision is still valid

2019 Soybean Disease Management

Trying to fine tune the last of your soybean management decisions? Key takeaways from the Plant Management Network;

1.      When it comes to yield loss, the soybean cyst nematode/sudden death complex is the number one cause of soybean yield loss in Ontario. This must be managed through a combination of variety selection and seed treatments (Bayer’s Ilevo or Syngenta’s Clarvia pn + Mertect).

2.      When considering early planting, a seed treatment that controls cool soil diseases such phytophthora root rot, fusarium seedling blight or Pythium is highly recommend.

a.      See notes below under 3 a. for phytophthora.

b.     Fusarium seedling blight can be managed through tillage, drainage or planting above 13 degrees C. Seed treatments with fludioxonil (Maxim), thiabendazole (Mertect) or trifloxystrobin (Triflex) can provide activity

c.      Pythium or damping-off can be managed through seed treatments with metalayl or ethaboxam. Primarily occurs on soils with poor drainage, soil compaction and soil temperatures below 13 degrees C.

3.      When it comes to in-crop management, white mould and phytophthora root rot account for the bulk of the losses.

a.      To reduce losses due to phytophthora root rot, especially on clay or damp soils, select varieties with stacked Rps genes and good partial tolerance or resistance to all races. Also consider a seed treatment with metalaxyl-M or ethaboxam. Syngenta has increased the rate of metalaxy-M on their VibranceMaxx or CruiserMaxx packaged NK soybean seed to provide improved control and reduced stand loss.

http://gosoy.ca/table1.php has both variety Rps genes listed and % stand loss data.

b.     For white mould; variety selection, plant population, tillage program, and row width should be the primary management factors. Also consider a fungicide labelled for control of white mould as part of your program.

c.      After white mould, pod and stem blight (Phomopsis) accounts for the next biggest yield robber. The timing for pod and stem blight is typically R3 to R4 (first pin bean in the upper 4 nodes to first full pod), which is later than 1st pass white mould control. Consider products that control this disease for your second fungicide pass.

There are seed treatments available as well should you have had severe infection in 2018 and need to save the seed for pedigree purposes. Fludioxonil (Maxim), thiabendazole (Mertect) or trifloxystrobin (Triflex) can provide activity.

Tables from; https://cropprotectionnetwork.org/download/2582/

Tables from;

Table 3- CPN - Leading soybean yield losses 1
Table 4 - CPN - Leading soybean yield losses 2

“Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.”

- Jim Rohn