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The Cropwalker - Volume 5 Issue 13

The Cropwalker - Volume 5 Issue 13

By Jonathan Zettler CPA, CMA, CCA-ON and Patrick Lynch CCA-ON


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Thank you for reading;

Patrick and Jonathan

Send us your questions
If you have a question, just reply to this email, we try to have an answer for you within 48 hrs.
Crop Conditions
Winter wheat nitrogen application is going slowly. Ranges from just starting to maybe 15%. Areas in the Niagara are having more N on. Hopefully, we will get some on this week. Things are behind last couple of years so when the weather changes a lot could happen in a short time. Wheat is greening up nicely and so far, not many areas are thinking of ripping up more acres than normal.
Things to do this week
1.     Good week to calibrate sprayer
2.     Figure out all spray mixes. Amount of water and amount of each product in a tank mix. Write this down and have ready for anyone to check.
3.     Check forage fields for winter survival and any big stones that need picking.
4.     Gather up last years seed and decide where to plant it. Old seed may lose some vigour so do not plant it first, but make sure it gets planted.
5.     Check all fire extinguishers, SMV signs/hazard lights that they are secure and visible.
Fungicide Book - Crop Protection Network
The Crop Protection Network has a great manual online to use as a reference, plus you can get CCA credits for reading it, you can access it here.


Weed Control
Controlling Chickweed (PJL) – Chickweed is growing in wheat and no-till bean fields. It keeps getting worse every year as it is not controlled. It germinates from late summer until late spring. It likes Roundup Ready soybean crops if there is no residual herbicide to stop it from germinating. It attracts and harbours insects (cutworms) so that no-till fields are often hosts to these pests. The cutworm adults fly in each spring and look for lush growth to lay their eggs. Chickweed is a candidate for egg laying. If you control chickweed with an herbicide and then work those areas a couple of weeks before you plant corn the moths will lay their eggs in someone else’s field where it is not controlled. Chickweed is an alternate host for SCN. It is easily controlled with low rates of Glyphosate in a burndown. In winter wheat, Enforcer M and Pixxaro are rated 8, Barricade M, Infinity, Infinity FX, and Refine SG are rated 9.
Q - Syngenta isn’t making Turbocharge any more, what are the substitutes?
A - A couple of suggestions – Journey by Winfield or Sure-mix by AMVAC Canada
Q Should I be using a nitrogen inhibitor/additive when I apply nitrogen to soft red winter wheat. (PJL/JZ)
Ans Most cases no.
There are two reasons to add an inhibitor. First is to prevent volatilization of nitrogen. For nitrogen to volatilize and escape into the air the temperature needs to be warm. There is a lot of research on this topic. Most relates to volatilization in late May early June. If there is moisture and warm conditions (10-15 degrees C) you could have some volatilization. The exact temperatures are agued since you need warm temperatures over a period of hours. If it suddenly gets to +10 you do not suddenly lose N.
The other reason to use an N inhibitor is to prevent leaching. If you are on light sandy soils and receive a lot of rain after application some N could leach below the roots zone. How much is a lot? No one knows. If you are on light sandy soils better to split apply nitrogen.

Nitrogen Volatilization (PJL)
At this time of year this type of nitrogen loss is greatly overrated. I can find no research that shows any volatilization until soils reach a temperature of 45o F. At temperatures of 45-50 oF the loss is very low, if no rain. Various researchers suggest that you need 0.1 to 0.4 inches of rain to move N into the soil to prevent loss. For wheat, the soil is usually not warm enough to cause volatilization. For corn ground, you can apply N, and if you do not get rain in 5-6 days, then work the N in. If you have that many consecutive days without rain, you should have time to work N in, and this working will also kill the small weeds.

Are we late applying N on wheat? (PJL)

Currently there may be 2-3% of the N applied to wheat across the province. We were at this pace in 2015. That year average Ontario wheat yield was 78.4 bu/ac which was the same as the average of the previous 5 years. The current previous 5-year average for winter wheat in Ontario is 84 bu/ac. Research below was from the 90’s at Ridgetown. They showed no yield loss from applying N up until late April. This research was from Ridgetown so I would expect that you can apply N later in the 2800 and lower CHU areas without a yield loss. If you applied N last fall either as part of a starter or part of a broadcast mix you could delay even later without a yield loss. This is one reason to have a small amount of N and S in the starter, so that the plant can green up without the need to apply N on ground conditions that are less than fit. Which happens every year on some acres.

White mould reminders (PJL)
With all the other topics covered this winter and all the world events this disease may have gotten forgotten. Here is a review
1.     Number one line of defense is variety. There is a big difference among varieties.
2.     Plant an early variety to keep the blossom time early and short. Mould starts by infecting the blossoms.
3.     Population is the next consideration. If possible, keep seed drop to 100,000 to 130,000 or less in mould prone areas.
4.     Stay away from mould prone fields. (If you can)
5.     Avoid Tillage. Any tillage will increase probability of mould.
6.     Stay away from manured fields, and do not apply nitrogen.
7.     Spraying with a fungicide is the last resort. Generally, is effective but you will still have a yield loss if mould is heavy.

When to start planting (PJL)
Notes from Dan Quinn extension agronomist at Purdue.
Soil temperature is also always a hot topic each year as planting approaches. Pictures of digital thermometers placed in the soil are often shared as everyone waits for the infamous 50oF to be achieved to begin planting. However, it is important to remember that corn typically needs 115 growing degree days to emerge and if the soil temperature is at 50oF and continues to average only 50oF for a length of time, corn can take upwards of 35 days to emerge. Whereas, if corn is planted into a soil with a daily average temperature of 65oF, emergence can occur in 7 days or less. The overall goal is to achieve rapid emergence of corn plants to shorten the period an emerging plant is exposed to certain stresses, limit the potential for uneven emergence, and achieve more stress tolerant plants. The bottom line is that when corn planting season is approached, it is more important to pay attention to specific soil conditions and the upcoming weather forecast, rather than chasing a specific calendar date or a specific soil temperature of 50oF when choosing to make the decision to start planting.

Fertilizing Forage Fields Without a Soil Test (JZ)
For fields with mostly grasses consider using 75 lbs/ac urea, plus 100 lbs./ac MAP (MESZ), 50 lbs./ac Sul-Po-Mag (for sulphur and magnesium) plus 75 lbs./ac 0-0-60. If pushing grassy forages, repeat after first cut. If 50-75% alfalfa MAP(MESZ) 100 lbs./ac, Sul-Po-Mag at 75 lbs./ac and 0-0-60 at 125 lbs./ac. Repeat after first cut if you are pushing the field. I generally add 1 pound of boron before or after first cut. (Even though it isn’t accredited, it is better if you have a soil test.) If you farm in an area with high magnesium levels, replace the K-Mag or Sul-Po-Mag with Ammonium Sulphate.

Calibrating fertilizer spin spreaders (PJL)
This is an annual concern/frustration with fertilizer dealers who rent out this equipment. Each spreader should be calibrated but this is very hard to do. (Yes, I have done it) You can calibrate a fertilizer spreader with a certain product. But if you change product mix, rate per acre, ground speed the spread pattern changes. This is not a big deal when broadcasting P and K since over time the spread patterns will compensate. Where it is, a big deal is spreading nitrogen on winter wheat. If there is a spread issue, it will show up in wheat fields. One option is to half the rate and double spread. You can either spread at 90 degrees if a square field or half the normal spread distance. The other thing, if you are renting a spreader and something is not working properly or you back into something please tell the folks where you rented the spreader. One issue that can easily be fixed that can cause spreading issues is product caked on the on the area that feeds the spinners from the apron chain. Power washing this area will help ensure an even flow and hit the spinner at the right place.

Nitrogen Inhibitors Review
Getting quite a few questions on these products. As a reminder from last week the nitrogen process is.

Urea -> Ammonia -> Ammonium -> Nitrate -> Taken up by the plant.

The nitrogen inhibitors on the market in Ontario (Canada) stop one of two processes. The first one is volatilization, which is the loss of ammonia nitrogen due to urease converting Urea. The soils at the biggest risk of loss are those losing soil moisture due to evaporation, with increased risk when the soil pH is above 7 (i.e., Harriston loams).

The 2nd process that is inhibited is nitrification, which is converting Ammonium to Nitrate. This reduces the losses of denitrification (lack of oxygen, think fully saturated soil, i.e., Niagara clays) and leaching (movement below the root zone due to moisture, i.e., Norfolk sands) by preventing nitrogen to converting to nitrate.

The kicker is understanding what active controls which process, and ensuring the product selected manages the type of losses you are susceptible to, see the chart below.

Urease Inhibitors - i.e. Anvol, NBPT, etc.
Q - What are Chafer Bars, and why should I use them to apply nitrogen in my cereal crops? (JZ)
A – Chafer bars are commonly used in the UK to apply liquid nitrogen to crops. What makes the Chafer bars preferable over streamer nozzles is it is not sensitive to boom height. This yellow bar attaches to your nozzle body, and typically includes an adjustable-rate slide, so that you can match the orifice size on the bar to your gallons and ground speed. No need to carry multiple streamer tips. Want to do 10 gallons/ac, no problem. 50 gallons/ac? Just move the rate slide, no problem. Continue on. One down fall of these units is that some growers find them to be brittle in rough ground conditions. The other is that because they hang lower on the boom, you may have to remove a couple to allow the boom to sit in the boom cradle without breaking them. And yes, I do have them on my own sprayer.

Cost is under $30 CAD per bar and in Ontario you can source them at Argis 2000.

Q - Can I use my Streamer Bars/Nozzles in Corn
A – They work quite well on smaller corn. Once you get to 6-8 leaf, I would not use streamer nozzles, as they hit the crop on an angle, I would still consider using chafer bars, which allows the product to fall in a straight line to the ground. One watch is to not apply UAN on corn in a dew, which can result in crop response. See images below.

Text to go with the photo above from a reader, (taken in 2019)

Good morning!  

U had mentioned a late application of N on corn ..what the best ways are .... This field I did 20 ga/ac with my chafer bars the other day ... almost zero burn ..... I did it at about 4 pm and it rained about 6 hrs later ...

Amazed how well it worked !

Text to go with photo above form a different reader, (taken in 2020)

Corn ended up pretty burn, likely applied during a heavy dew with minimal rain in the forecast, unfournately lower leaves ended up quite burn as a result. Caution should be exercised with this practice on larger corn, and dews, if you want to avoid burning.
Precision Ag/Technology
Weather/Cropping Applications for your Phone
There are a number, here is a few to consider.

BASF Xarvio
One aspect I like from Xarvio is the radar goes out more time wise than a few of the other free offerings. With Xarvio you can choose free or paid subscription. The paid subscription allows you to view forecasted weather, forecasted crop stage (based on GDD and planting date), disease modelling, in-season biomass imagery. There are additional functionality as well around in-season prescriptions for inputs.

Climate Fieldview
Has a few features that I like, such as the weather alerts on hail and precipitation provided by field. I have also used the app in the field to check on the radar. Having accumulated rainfall for the season is also quite handy when working on projects or analysis where field by field weather data is required. I haven’t used the imagery as much for field scouting, mainly because the field boundaries were not properly setup, minimizing their use, however I think I have that fixed for 2022.

Davis WeatherLink
Has a paid and unpaid portion you can access. You can view any Davis weather station in your area for free with this app if the station owner has chosen to share. The paid portion provides access to historical data, charts, and growing season information.

My go to free weather app is OpenWeather. It is a no-frills and has no advertising. If you are looking for a bare bone app without much in the way of graphics, I’ve been happy with the accuracy of the data.

Ukko Agro
This system does both weather modelling, crop and disease staging along with alters. I tried this system in 2020 and 2021, my experience was that the crop staging is quite accurate provided you use a local weather station. In 2021 the digital weather feed was too coarse to be of much use if your fields are located in areas of less than 10 x 10 km, however the crop staging accuracy was reasonable.

Have one you use that is not listed? Send it us and I will share it next week.

"There is nothing in the world like persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus."

Mark Twain