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The Cropwalker - Volume 4 Issue 34

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Crop Conditions

Lots going on now but not much you can do about some of the things. Hail has occurred in some areas. Nothing you can do about it now. Some folks rushing out to spray fungicide but from my experience it won’t help. Best you can do us figure out if hail hit and target those fields for an earlier harvest. In corn, leaf shredding means less leaf area in the top leaves. That means ear will pull more nutrients from the stalk and lower leaves so stalk breakage could be worse in fields that received hail. Soybean and edible bean shattering could be worse. Again, nothing you can do. Winter wheat planting will start as soon as soybeans are off. I am not worried about planting too early. Can too early planting cause more tillers, more chance of the dreaded “Hessian Fly” (which I have only seen once in my life) maybe. Absolutely. But in my experience, there is more apt to be a yield loss by planting too late than by planting too early. Make sure you handle soybean trash, either with spreading well behind the combine or tillage after harvest. Soybeans earliest are well on their way. Expect to see harvest later this week or certainly early next week. Corn progressing nicely. Silage harvest has started and should be full out later this week. Whole plant moisture is dropping quickly. Some are looking at price of old corn vs. new with a view to harvesting in September.  Fusarium and DON No one is talking about seeing any. Spoke with a couple of researchers who said they are not seeing a lot. The thought is, the hot weather in August stopped the fusarium. Cover crops some concern that they are not growing very fast. Reality is that August was hot and dry. The cover crop plants germinated but there was not enough shallow soil moisture to get them to grow. The cells in these plants will have continued to multiply but not elongate. If you received rain this past week expect to see the cover crops jump. Spraying fungicides on cover crop oats Even if you are not harvesting your cover crop for forage consider spraying a fungicide. I like the cover crop to give as much biomass as possible. If your oats are infected with rust, you will have greatly reduced biomass.


Fall armyworm is native to tropical regions in the western hemisphere. It can only successfully overwinter in the southern US (Texas and Florida), but the adults are strong flyers and capable of long-distance migration to northern states. Multiple migration events are possible each summer, and adults can be found in Iowa from June to August. This year, they are more abundant in the Midwest than usual and are causing late-season issues. As the common name suggests, larvae can still be active in October. Droughty conditions favor their development.

A generation takes about 30 days to complete its life cycle in the summer, and we assume several generations are possible in Iowa. Eggs are usually laid in a mass of 100-200 on light-colored surfaces, including fence posts, poles or tree limbs. The eggs often look moldy or fuzzy because they are covered with grey scales. Eggs hatch within four days and larvae (caterpillars) go through six instars before pupation. Young larvae are greenish with a dark head and older larvae are mottled with red and brown. White lines along the top of the body develop along with raised spots and spines. You can distinguish fall armyworm from other armyworm species by the white, inverted “Y” on the face and four raised bumps in the shape of a square near the end of the abdomen. (Notes from Iowa State extension)

They pretty well eat anything. (One report from New York extension says that corn hybrids with Cry1 protein are not affected by fall armyworm) Check all fields if they are found in your area.

(We had one sent in by Wayne Black agronomist from Sunderland Co-op about 2 weeks ago.) see picture

The crop most at risk is forages. Check all your forage fields. They do a lot of damage in a short period of time.

They are hard to control once they get bigger than ½”. The normal control is with a pyrethroid such as Matador but there is some possible resistance, so insecticides such as Coragen or Voliam Express are possibly a better bet. Whatever product you use, check pre-harvest interval and crop registration prior to use.

Picture 1 - Armyworm in Alfalfa (Wayne Black)

Tar Spot in corn Has arrived and is identified in many counties in Ontario. This suggest it will be a yield concern next year. We do have fungicides that will control it. Here is a note from Darel Walker an agronomist in Indiana with Advanced Agrilytics; “Every foliar fungicide commonly used in corn is effective. As far as trade names, these are some which have performed better in tests conducted by Dr. Darcy Telenko of Purdue University: Delaro Complete, Revytek, Veltyma, Trivapro. My advice for growers battling tar spot is to spend the money on the newer fungicide pre-mixes which contain 1) a strobilurin, 2) and triazole, and 3) an SDHI ingredient. All of the ones I just mentioned are three-way premixes. They all run about $20/ac USD but are worth it because they last longer- These products will give us a good three weeks of tar spot control, whereas the older ones like Quilt Xcel, Azoxyprop, Approach Prima, Headline Amp, etc. will give us about two weeks. The main point: everything controls tar spot, but the newer ones with SDHI's last longer and give better yield responses.

Western Bean Cutworm (WBC)

We are hearing of farmers in areas outside the traditional WBC hot spots finding WBC feeding now. Check your fields. They will overwinter if you have them now. Traditionally they have been worse on lighter soils. (Appear to overwinter better on lighter soils) We do not have a lot of great hybrids that are resistant to WBC. If you find WBC check with your seed dealer to see what they have for 2022. I am guessing that if there are any good hybrids, they will sell out fast.

Q. I read a couple of times in The Cropwalker about Boron on alfalfa. Should I be adding it this fall?

Ans The highest probability of a response to boron (B) on alfalfa is on lighter soils. If you have a soil with a low CEC of, say 12 or less, I would add one pound this fall or next spring when you apply sulphur (S). You can’t apply S in the fall because it won’t be available next spring. Depending on the source, Boron will be available next spring whether you apply now or next spring. Alfalfa will take up boron in the fall.

Q. Should I be taking another cut of forage in September.

Ans. It depends. If it is a new seeding this year, I would rather not cut it now if you have already taken 2 or 3 cuts. Allow the plant to go into the winter in good shape.

If the field was seeded in 2019 or earlier, I would cut it and then terminate the stand. Fields established in 2019 probably have 8 or 9 cuts already. Time to terminate.

For other fields it depends. If you really need the feed or can store it in case there is a feed storage next year I would harvest, as long as you have fertilized it well so far this year. I don’t believe that the Critical harvest Date occurs any more in Ontario. Even though some people are still talking about this research from the 60’s.

Q I want to spread manure on a field, work it and spray off weeds especially Canada Fleabane. What order should I do this?

Ans Everyone’s circumstances are different. In this case a custom manure applicator is involved. So, I would spread the manure and then do tillage. I would leave the soil smooth enough so that you can spray later, say mid October when weeds are actively growing.

The alternative is to spray now, spread manure and do tillage later this fall, say mid-October. I do not like this option since it will mean do tillage on land when it is wet and prone to compaction.

Q Patrick you have seen a lot of pieces of equipment working down cornstalks at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show. Which one is the best?

Ans It is true. Over the years there have been at least 25 different machines at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show corn stalk demonstrations. In my mind they all did a good job except two or three. One was the Amazone Catros. It is well liked by many dairy farmers since it leaves the ground level for new seedings. But in my mind, it compacts too much and does not do enough to break down and incorporate the corn stalks.

The other two I did not like each had deep rippers on them. I do not like to have a piece of equipment after corn stalks that will do deep ripping. Too often it does too much compaction.

I want something that will cut up corn stalks, leave the ground reasonably level and address the corn root balls. Root balls are an issue with some planting units.

In general, all the “high speed discs” did a good job. If there was a short coming to me it was the way the equipment was set up, not the way it was designed. I have been involved with people who know how to set these tools but still cannot get the right result on every field. I believe the best machine will be sold by your equipment dealer that you can rely on. You need parts and service when you need them. I suggest if you are looking at something new, zero in on 3 pieces that are used in your area and then look at any at a dealership where you have or believe you can get a good relationship.

Better Farming Article on SWAT Maps

I do not have a vested interest in this system but do believe they are on the right track. Here is a link to an article in Better Farming I wrote on SWAT


Hail Damaged Crops

Hail damage is showing up fairly widespread in midwestern Ontario, from minimal damage at less than 5% to 100% defoliation with cobs being knocked off corn stalks. Nothing you can do about it at this point. Best is to assess what the next steps should be. Prioritize harvest on fields with the most damage and ensure your crop insurance adjuster is aware that you have been impacted by hail.

For both corn and soybeans, the first step is to assess crop stage and amount of defoliation. Then you can make use of the charts in the links below.

Feed quality will be affected. But no way of predicting. Part of the issue is the loss of feed value between harvesting and ensiling. Moulds will grow on damaged corn tissue. Again, no way to predict the amount. For sure get feed tested.

There are four resources you can use to help make management decisions this week;

1)    Hail damage impact on corn silage quality.


2)    Hail Damage on Corn



3)    Hail Damage in Soybeans


My soybeans were almost at pre-harvest window and have started to drop leaves, what impact will hail have on them?

Hail damage is pretty minimal from a seed size and weight standpoint, at this stage you may speed up maturity with faster leaf drop. The bigger question is how many pods and seeds are on the ground. To do this, count the number of seeds per square foot. 4 beans per square foot is about 1 bu/ac of soybeans.

Using Eragon before winter wheat

Application Timing:    Pre-Harvest Burndown, Pre-Plant, or Pre-Emergent (3 days after planting, per product label).

Eragon LQ                59.2 mL/ac (20 acres per jug)

Merge                        400 mL/ac (20 acres per jug)

In no-till, add Glyphosate at recommended rate per target weeds.

DO NOT BACK OFF THE GLYPHOSATE RATE. Most perennials require 1.34L/ac rate. Please NOTE, you can only use 0.67 L/ac of glyphosate 540 gr/L PRE-HARVEST.

Yes, Eragon LQ can be applied to tilled or bare/semi-bare ground. Incorporation (tillage, bean pullers, etc.) is not an issue. Eragon LQ is broadleaf selective and therefore very safe on winter wheat or cereal/winter rye.

Am I spraying Eragon too early?

I have had been asked this question more than I can count on two hands in the last few days. In general, I see growers and retailers waiting TOO long to spray Eragon, when I compare what they have done relative to the label. In these instances, you give up days when you could be spraying and/or harvesting, at least you delay the first few fields you could be doing while waiting for the others to be ready. If you do spray too early, i.e. when there are too many leaves on the plant, they will fuse to the plant, and not drop off the plant, causing considerable dust in the combine during harvest. This may lead to grading issues on dry beans and IP soybeans due to seed tagging from the dust when trying to harvest at night.

For a copy of the Eragon staging guide, you can find it here;


Text from the Eragon tech sheet, screen shots from the staging guide.

Figure 1 - Eragon Preharvest Staging
Figure 2 - Eragon Preharvest Staging - Soys
Figure 3 - Eragon Preharvest Staging - Navy Beans

Why a bare ground application? If Canada Fleabane is an issue, the Kixor molecule has excellent contact and soil-applied residual activity on Fleabane. As we know, Fleabane emerges in the shoulder months during cooler or more moderate temperatures. Fall is peak emergence timing, and therefore the best time to target this weed species. If there is no green tissue in the field – IE no weeds present – due to thorough tillage, then the Merge can be removed along with the glyphosate. However, if light tillage or bean puller disturbance has injured weeds but left rosettes and even a few days regrowth, leave the Merge in the tank to facilitate Eragon contact and uptake by the weed.

Notes from Ken Currah, BASF

A quick hitter chart, do you need to spray Eragon?

Figure 4 - Eragon Decision Chart

I want higher corn yields, but…

Is pretty much a line that everyone uses to limit themselves on achieving them. If you want higher yields than your current top end, it means needing to look at what makes up yield in the first place.

Corn Yield = # of ears, number of rows around, length of rows, kernel weight.

In the last 20 years, corn breeders have increased the number of plants per acre and increased the amount of starch accumulation later in the season to further yield gains (notes from Thijs Tollenaar – SWAC 18).

Good to know, but why am I pointing it out? In many situations management needs to change to reflect these changes in plant breeding. This may mean increasing corn populations, especially in the best parts of the field. It may mean in-crop nitrogen applications to take advantage of increased late season grain fill period. Until you go and check where yield is being left on the table, it’s hard to know.

The Math on How to Calculate Wheat Seed Rate

If you don’t have a seeds per pound or seeds per KG, first you need to know how many seeds you have POST seed treatment. To do this count 500 seeds, then weigh them using a gram scale. You will now have how many grams per 500 seeds.

Divide 454 grams by your 500 seed gram weight. This will give you how many multiples per pound you have, then multiple it by 500. This is how many seeds per pound you are working with. See my example below.

Figure 5 - Counting Seeds per Pound of Seed

If you want to put in 1.4 million seeds, because it’s September 15th, you will need to take your seed rate and divide it by how many seeds per pound to get an approximate seeding rate in pounds per acre for your drill. See example below.

Figure 6 - Converting Seeds per acre to pounds per acre

Out of everything growers unhappy with their wheat yields do, it’s not getting the right seeding rate on is the number one cause in my opinion. Number two is trying to seed too shallow into unevenly spread residue. Number three is not enough seed placed phosphorus at seeding.

A Few Additions/Updates/Corrections – Wheat Variety Trials

One omission when it came to the wheat trials and one correction.


A new hard red for fall of 2021, is Semican’s Montcalm. You would have to check with a Semican dealer on availability. This variety is one of the earliest heading and maturing hard reds in Ontario Cereal trials, it has above average straw (136 index), and a respectable protein profile. Given it’s one of the tallest in the trials and it’s lodging score, it may be a candidate for growth regulator. For leaf diseases it has a respectable rating on powdery mildew and leaf rust but is average on Septoria. No ratings on fusarium.


While Snobelen Farms’ Marker still has a respectable fusarium package, it has lost its best-in-class rating. It should be rated as moderate susceptible compared to existing genetics in the OCCC trials.

"One acre of soybeans can make about 82,368 crayons"

– Bored soybean farmer