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The Cropwalker - Volume 5 Issue 39

The Cropwalker - Volume 5 Issue 39

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


Third complimentary issue for 2022
This is the third complimentary issue for 2022, we try and send one about every 3 months for you to see what we are currently writing about and to give you a test run of our newsletter.

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Thank you for reading;

Patrick and Jonathan
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Crop Conditions
Crop conditions Weather –Winter wheat earliest fields are up, and some acres being sprayed for weed control. Corn Harvest has started in some fields. Some growers surprised at how dry corn is. Suggest you check all fields for moisture, ear moulds and stalk strength. Soybeans harvest is wrapping up with many at 80-85% done. Yields have been variable depending on when rains came.
A Huron county farmer spraying winter wheat with a product that controls chickweed, Canada Fleabane, water hemp and about 20 other weeds, including suppression of perennial sow thistle

Things to Do This Week
1.     Review marketing plan for corn and soybeans.
2.     Check winter wheat emergence and weeds. (Cropwalker October 4 and September 27 have some specifics)
3.     If you have not already done so, plan termination of cover crop.
4.     Do population counts in your hybrid plots that will be harvested for comparisons. You want to make sure you are measuring hybrid differences not differences in population.
5.     Check for corn ear moulds. (See last week’s Cropwalker for corn ear disease ID)
6.     Finalize soil sampling for fall 2022 if you have not done so already. There will be a need to maximize all fertility dollars, especially on new farms/short term rentals.
7.     Remind everyone that first trip across field makes most compaction. Use the same tracks for multiple trips.
8.     Take time to enjoy the fall colours. I do not remember seeing this much colour.
A picture my brother-in-law sent me of his cows PJL

Weed Control
Rate of glyphosate this fall
Price of glyphosate is higher than 2-4 years ago. When glyphosate was lower cost, we would use up to 1.3 L/ac of higher strength glyphosate (540 gr/L at 2.0 REL) Now that price is higher you have to look at your rates. For most weeds, I can’t find any research to suggest that you get better kill with 2.0 REL than 1.0 REL rate of glyphosate. At this time of year. Exception might be quackgrass. I do believe you get better kill by.
1.     Make sure your sprayer is calibrated and every nozzle is applying the same rate
2.     Spray under ideal conditions, middle of a warm day when no wind.
3.     Use an appropriate surfactant if using a generic glyphosate. You need to ask your retailer what is the surfactant that they are having the most success with. Reality is that Bayer (Monsanto) put a lot of effort into researching into their surfactants. Some of the generics do not have the surfactant figured out yet.
Q - I have fleabane and am currently planting wheat, what should I do for weed management?
1.     If you have time, spray now with glyphosate and Eragon plus Merge prior to wheat emergence
2.     Unable to spray now? Spray in crop in the fall with herbicide that will control Fleabane and is safe for fall application (i.e., Infinity/Infinity FX etc.)
3.     Farm in an area that has cool temperatures. Then plan on a spring application with a product that controls fleabane.
4.     If you are planning on red clover in the spring of 2022, then preference is option 1 or 2. Buctril M or its generic is the only option for weed control and is weak on established fleabane.
Q I have 20 acres of wheat that did not get a starter fertilizer. What should I do?
(This question was posted on Twitter) There were various answers given. Here is some of my thoughts.

Ans (PJL)
What is the soil P level. If available, the P is measured in sodium bicarbonate and Bray-P1, what are the levels?

If P with sodium bicarbonate is 25 or higher or Bray P1 is 35 or higher probably not much response by adding more P now after planting. Then you look at pH. If pH is high with lots of Calcium, there may be some tie up of soil P if soil P in the teens. The next thing is how much P fertilizer was added either last fall or spring 2022. If more P was added than crop removal by the soybean crop, then lower probability of a yield response by applying more P on wheat that was already planted. The next question is what seeding rate was used. If a low seeding rate you could treat it like a poor soybean stand. Reseed with some more seed and add P fertilizer if the soil was testing low.

Q - How much more efficient is banded phosphorus vs broadcast phosphorus? I am getting quite a few questions on hiring a drill with fertilizer vs just broadcasting and drilling it myself. (JZ)

A – Based on crop response data compiled by Peter Johnson, looking at an efficiency gain of about 4 to 1 based on low testing soils, and 2 to 1 on moderate testing soils. On high testing soils, not much of an advantage. So, if you are on low testing soils, when banding you will use about ¼ of the amount of phosphate and get the same yield response as putting on 4x the amount broadcast.
Sample now for Soybean Cyst Nematodes (SCN)
SCN is spreading across Ontario. August is the best time to sample. Now is the 2nd best time before ordering seed and seed treatment. You can do a general test by splitting your soil sample that you are taking for nutrient levels and having one part tested for SCN. In major SCN areas it is suggested that you sample for SCN in fields that will be planted to soybeans in 2023. Or, if you have an area in your soybean field that did not yield as well as you thought it should, sample that area separately.

Understanding your SCN test results.
There are two items reported on SCN soil test results. Cysts and Eggs. One of the better articles I have come across on this topic was written by Dale Cowan. You can find it here. Dale also provides a few suggestions on how to properly sample for SCN.
Current Soybean Herbicide Traits
What soybean variety characteristics should I be looking for?
Yield – This one might seem like a no brainer, but do not get lulled into new for the sake of new, that is what plots are for. On the other hand, you want to make sure you have traits that will allow you to get yield. If you have SCN, that trumps yield from plots that did not have SCN.

Herbicide trait – what herbicide traits fit my weed management needs? Reality is that on your farm herbicide trait may trump yield. And if your neighbours are spraying dicamba you may have to plant a dicamba tolerant variety if you are always experiencing dicamba injury.

SCN – Does your soybean genetics have resistance to soybean cyst nematodes? If it does, what gene are you using? Are you using seed treatments to help manage this pest?

SDS – Does your soybean variety have a seed treatment to provide protection against sudden death syndrome? What is the variety rating when it comes to tolerance?

White Mould – How susceptible is the genetics to white mould infection, and is it able to stop the spread?

Pod and Stem Blight – If available, and if pod and stem blight is a concern, how does the genetics stack up against its peers?

Phytophthora Root Rot – If you are on clay soils and having issues with emergence, what is the PRR rating of the genetics on your short list? In 2019, the Ontario Soybean Trials had developed new protocols for the testing of PRR in soybeans. Check out https://gosoy.ca/phytophthora.php to check for performance. Seems to me that this root rot is a bigger issue for 2022 based on chatter amongst farmers and certified crop advisors.

Bushel weight of corn
We have this discussion every year. Bushel weight is a term used to market/trade corn. It is easily measured. It is the weight of a certain volume of corn. It has nothing to do with yield. A better yield factor is TKW (Thousand kernel weights). Right now, there is very little you can do about either. Field drying corn generally increases bushel eight since moisture leave the kernels and more can be compacted into a certain volume. Bushel weight is used to grade corn. The standard in # 2. As bushel weight goes down the grade and the amount paid to the seller goes down.
Dr Bob Neilson Purdue has an article on explaining the relevance of bushel weight Grain Test Weight Considerations for Corn

Q Which yields more 3 cut or 4 cuts of alfalfa in one year?

Ans There is a lot of research showing that 3 cuts outyield 4 cuts. The problem is that with some varieties feed value drops quickly with a 3 cut system. The new varieties from Forage Genetics which most companies have access to maintain feed quality as they mature. They are all resistant to glyphosate. Research below is from Dr Dan Undersander University of Wisconsin.

Q – I want to fall mouldboard plough my alfalfa; do I need to spray it off first?
Ans - Provided the plough is set up properly there is no benefit to spraying off the alfalfa. The reason to spray it off would be if you have a lot of perennials with Rhizome root systems like Quack grass and Sowthistle. If you want to use any other tillage system than a mouldboard plough, you will have to do a burndown. To kill alfalfa with tillage all of the alfalfa must be completely covered.

Question Is it OK to take another cut from my alfalfa now. It is knee high now. I am afraid of it smothering.
Answer If you answer NO to any of these questions, do not cut.
  1. Do you need the feed?
  2. Have you fertilized with at least 50 lbs. actual P and 200 actual K this year?
  3. Was the stand seeded after 2020. (You should not take a cut from fields seeded in 2022
  4. Is there a period of 5 or more days of good drying weather?

This time of year, it will take at least 5 and maybe 7 days to dry enough even for silage. As far as smothering, alfalfa will not smother out. If there is a lot of grass, the grass or volunteer cereal could smother the alfalfa. Alfalfa will leave the stems and drop leaves so that should there be icing this winter the stems will act like smokestack to let the gas given off by alfalfa escape. If you take a cut now there will be a little less in next year’s first cut compared to leaving it alone.

Stop taking that last cut before alfalfa termination (JZ)
I had a lengthy discussion with a custom operator about the costs associated with taking off 4th cut alfalfa in its last year vs getting a better kill by spraying on time. By on time, I mean August with adequate top-growth to translocate the herbicide. This likely means 3 instead of 4 cuts in your last year of an alfalfa stand. He felt that it was not worth it because you barely get enough feed off in most situations to cover the harvesting costs. I felt that it was not worth it because you end up spraying 3 times the following year trying to control the volunteer’s vs trying to spray on time, where your herbicide dollars go much further per % of weed control, and you have more time to haul manure and do any fall tillage on which you had planned.

Looking at fertility trials
Many fertility trials are shared based upon the products applied, but not with the amount of actual NPK applied. To me the proper way of demonstrating how trial data is shared, is based upon the total nutrients applied, as it helps pain a better fertility response picture. See the two examples of the data set below. In this wheat starter trial, there are two locations being tested. Jarvis with 8 ppm P and 116 ppm K, and Plattsville with 10 ppm P and 88 ppm K. The main trend line is that the more phosphorus you apply in-furrow, the bigger the wheat yield on these two fields. While it is apparent that is the case as well on the first chart, the 2nd chart when sorted by total P applied, paints the picture much better.

Q – Why do you sometimes recommend fall applied sulphur on winter cereals?
A (JZ) – It is not a fit for everyone or every field/soil type. Where I do like to see fall applied sulphur is on moderate to light textured soil types, especially in the snow belt where getting early spring applied sulphur on wheat can be challenging . Depending on the product used, you can cut back slightly on spring applied S, the end result being the same total amount of S applied with no additional expenses, and less risk of pale wheat in the spring after the snow leaves, allowing you to better time your N application based on ground conditions and other workload.

Q - I cannot see nitrogen prices softening in the foreseeable future, options?
A - If you have had success with red clover in the past, I would think this is the best option for reducing 2024 nitrogen requirements, however you need to start checking in on seed availability and ensure weeds are in check to use this as a cover crop.

Precision Ag
Variable Rate Edible Bean Research
Meghan Moran, OMAFRA Edible Bean and Canola specialist recently published seeding rate trial research on navy, black and cranberry beans. You can find links to the reports below.
Navy/Black Beans - https://drybeanagronomy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/White-and-Black-Bean-VR-Factsheet_NoCrops.pdf
Cranberry - https://drybeanagronomy.ca/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Cranberry-bean-VR-factsheet_NoCrops.pdf

Business Matters
Pssst…. Want the secret code to higher wheat yields… it’s here. Signup, you likely can do it between headlands.

Great Lakes Wheat YEN – 2023 Registration is now open

If you are thinking of entering one of your winter wheat fields in the 2023 Yield Enhancement Network (2022 fall planted), the registration is now open.


"“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”"

— Babe Ruth