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The Cropwalker - Volume 4 Issue 43

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Crop Conditions

Weather- darn wet. Our corn and soybean harvest are now behind every year in the last 5 years. Some harvesting this past week between rains. Some fields are compacted, but we have done that before. Winter wheat my estimate is now 600,000 acres, and some more acres will be ripped up. In 2015 we harvested 630,00 acres and 2019 only 656,000 acres. In 2022 we will hit a 10 year low of harvested acres. Some fields in Niagara area will be terminated this week. But some acres will be planted on lighter soils in other areas of the province. Last weekend some more acres were planned to be planted but the weather forecast has changed. If planting winter wheat this week suggest you increase seeding rate to 2.2 to 2.5 M seeds per acre and plant at least 1.5” deep. You just need seed to germinate this fall to produce a crop next year. It does not have to emerge. The higher seeding rates will give you more main stems as there will be fewer tillers. Do not skimp on seed placed P. Soybean harvest drags on. Some growers are less than 50% off. Across Ontario our survey suggests about 85-90% harvested. Beans are being downgraded to #4 and #5 due to off colour. The discount is $0.25-30 per bushel. If soybeans were not so scarce worldwide, discount would be higher. Soybeans have been rejected because of off colour. Corn at 55-65% harvested. Again, some growers are done, and others will start this week. Standability is still good.


Things to do this week

  1. Check winter wheat stands.
  2. Last chance (maybe) for weed control in soybean stubble and corn stalks.
  3. Plan which corn companies to buy from. Put emphasis on Gibb susceptibility, and whether you can sell that hybrid into the EU market.
  4. Start to summarize results of plots.
  5. If you have not already, update Cost of Production for 2022, this is not a year to cut and paste the 2020 or 2021 plan, as input values/crop prices have drastically changed.

What is happening and what happened with Gibb and DON in corn?

DON levels are still relatively low. (But there are some loads at 4-5 ppm DON) Cold weather is stopping the growth of Gibb. The hot weather this summer stopped the growth of Gibb after initial infection in corn. This is one good thing about global warming. If we have a few hot days in the summer where temperature gets above 30 it will be hot enough to stop Gibb and slow down white mould in soybeans.

Various colours in winter wheat

The picture below is from Ryan Benjamins in Lambton County. Lots of rust showing up there. This is wheat leaf rust as confirmed by for Albert Tenuta OMAFRA disease specialist. This is a completely different species than the crown rust that affects oats or the leaf rust that affects corn. You can also see powdery mildew starting. The current warm weather with moisture is allowing this disease to spread. Suggest you check your fields with a view to spraying a fungicide early next year if you see powdery mildew start. The wheat leaf rust will die over winter.

Yellow leaves are typically nitrogen deficiency. This is caused by the lack of air in the soil meaning the plant cannot take up nitrogen. And the excessive moisture has led to denitrification of available nitrogen. Nothing you can do.

Brown leaves are a combination of the above resulting in the leaves dying. The heart of the plant will still be okay

Purple leaves are a bit harder to explain. They are related to a buildup of sugars in the leaves. These sugars are not translocated. They turn into anthocyanins which are purple. The same thing happens to corn. In corn some hybrids are more prone than others. I imagine there is a difference among wheat varieties. So why are they building up? The most often cited is low phosphorous levels. Low phosphorus means the plant cannot move the sugars. A more common reason is compacted soils which restricts root growth and does not allow translocation of nutrients. Cold weather and cold soils also slow down P uptake. When this happens the plant just does not translocate leading to a buildup of nutrients. Nothing you can do about any of it this year.

Picture 1 - Rust on Winter Wheat (Ryan Benjamins)

Thoughts on nitrogen use in corn for 2022

You will be tired of hearing and reading about how to increase nitrogen efficiency by the time you start to plant next spring. There will be lots of talk about timing, products, and additives. Currently we know if you can side dress nitrogen at 6-8 leaf stage you can decrease nitrogen rates by at least 30 lbs/ac and not give up yield. When nitrogen was $.45 a pound it was not worth doing on many clay loam and silt loam soils. You would save $13-14 /ac but had to make a separate trip, get the equipment, and hope you had good weather to do it. So many growers put all the nitrogen on at planting. But with nitrogen at $1.00 /lb. actual N the economics change. You still may have to add the cost of an additive to prevent loss. The corn inoculants this year are showing variable results. Even so, you need more than one-year results to be certain. So, plan your corn inoculant trials now.

Q I planted cereal rye to be harvested next spring for either forage or straw. There are killed out spots between the tile runs. Can I plant spring cereal rye?

Ans Planting spring cereal rye is a good option. It will mature later than the earlier planted winter cereal rye. You should consider taking it for forage or straw rather than hoping to harvest grain and plant a second crop. If planning this, order seed now.

Q I will need straw next year. What spring cereal will give me the most straw.

Ans, I know you said mostly straw, but the grain portion could be significant.

Cereal rye will give the most straw. The grain is not worth that much, can be good value selling it cleaned into the cover crop market.

Oats will give the most straw and it makes good bedding. You could sell the grain for cover crop at a decent price.

Barley has low straw yields but good grain yields.

Spring wheat has as much straw as barley and much better grain returns.

Whatever grain you decide on suggest you get the seed purchased now. There is difference between varieties on straw yield. You can check the Ontario Cereal Committee trials, as they do have a straw index listed. See link below for the most recent report (just published).

2022 Ontario Spring Cereal Trials

Figure 1 - Ontario Cereal Committee - Area 2 Spring Wheat Variety Characteristics
Figure 2 - Ontario Cereal Committee - Area 2 Spring Barley Variety Characteristics
Figure 3 - Ontario Cereal Committee - Area 2 Oat Variety Characteristics

Soybean variety selection for 2022

Just to start the discussion. We know that if you go for a longer variety, you can increase yield by 1-2 bushels. But this year we see the cost of doing that. With low soybean prices you need to do everything to get highest yields. This year’s harvest points to growing an adapted soybean variety, getting it off early and hopefully getting wheat in on time. This year early planted wheat in some fields did not make a difference. But you must go with the odds and most years it makes a difference.

Using coated grass seed in 2022

Many companies have gone to coating grass seed as well as coating legume seed. For 2022 all grass seed will be coated. From my experience you can use the same rate of coated seed as you used of plain seed. The coating gives better seed placement. The coating help establishment by not allowing the seed to germinate until there is enough soil moisture to break down the coating and allow germination. Some of the coatings will have additives such as fungicide or micronutrients.

Discussion with Christine O’Reilly OMAFRA Forage Specialist

I talk to Christine on a regular basis to see what she is thinking. Here are some excerpts from this week’s discussion.

Me so Christine you still believe there is a critical harvest period for alfalfa, don’t you?

Christine well the research shows that is exists.

Me Christine that research was done in the sixty’s, with older varieties, on old stands with no fertilizer applied and no soil tests.

Christine but it is still there. And we have no more recent. Besides, we still have that period. And the customers you work with do not have to worry but there are a lot of farms where it still applies. I know your customers will fertilize properly and will not leave their stands down too long, but that is not every farm.

Me so Christine why don’t we just get farmers to manage their alfalfa properly with fertilizer, new varieties and do not let them leave their stands down too long then we will not have to worry about a Critical Harvest Date?

Christine good idea Patrick. How are we going to change them?

Post Harvest Control

Fall herbicide applications are ideal for controlling larger established dandelions. Cooler temperatures will trigger dandelion to move sugars down to the taproot for storage. Applying a systemic herbicide in the fall promotes movement of the active ingredient down to the roots providing effective long-term control. In general, numerous products and tank-mixes provide adequate control of dandelion when applied in the fall (Table 4). Deciding on which one to use will depend on the weed spectrum, cost and rotational flexibility of the specific herbicide or tank-mix. Refer to Table 2 and the product label for information on rotational restrictions.

Figure 4 - Fall Control of Dandelions/Chickweed with Various Products

Question Is it too late to plant cereal rye. Answer: It is a tad late, but cereal rye is more winter hardy than winter wheat. You may have enough soil moisture and heat to get it to germinate and grow if you plant immediately. Strongly consider increasing seeding rate beyond the recommended 100 lbs/ac.

Question – Jonathan, how does test weight impact the dry bushels per acre on the grain ticket?

Answer – It does not. It is purely a qualitative factor for grading purposes. All grain bought or sold is adjusted for moisture, then discounted for test weight (grading). If priced in bushels, it is all done in units of that bushel.

Example. You harvest 10,000 lbs of Wet corn @ 23% moisture. To get wet bushels you divide 10,000 by 56 lbs/bushel. 178.6 bu of wet corn. To convert this to dry bushels, you need to take the difference between the wet weight and moisture of commerce for corn (15.5%).

178.6 wet bushels multiplied by 77% dry matter (23% moisture) = 137.22 bushels 100% dry matter.

137.22 bushels 100% dry matter divided by 84.5% dry matter (15.5% moisture) = 162.7 bushels @ 15.5%.

Once you have the dry weight the end user would deduct grade factors on your final payment through test weight measurement (quality).

All wet or dry bushel weights use a standard weight of 56 lbs for corn, or 60 lbs for wheat or soybeans. The difference is accounting for moisture.

How much does your farm spend on Research and Development?

Forage Fertility Research

This is not the exact way I would conduct forage fertility research, but it has been completed and was shared in the Ontario Forage Network’s October issue of “Thinking Green.” The summary is that forages respond better to OMAFRA recommendations vs. that of just applying 100 lbs/ac of 19-19-19 or no fertilizer at all. I think we should be doing site specific research on alfalfa/forages rather than this, but if you are not at that level, it might be time to at least start with a soil test to see where your levels are at today.

Thinking Green - October 2021

Corn Tillers Do Not Impact Corn Yield

Data recently shared by Kansas State University Ph.D. student Rachel Veenstra suggests that corn tillers do not reduce corn yields. You can see her poster in the Twitter post below. This research poster is based on two hybrids, mileage may vary.

"There is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather."

John Ruskin