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The Cropwalker - Volume 6 Issue 10

The Cropwalker - Volume 6 Issue 10

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


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Thank you for reading;

Patrick and Jonathan
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Things to Do This Week
  1. Check wheat for winter kill and eroded areas and decide remedial measures.
  2. While checking the wheat, see what weeds are present. Any winter annuals/perennials usually determine your herbicide of choice.
  3. Check for tile blowouts.
  4. Check lane ways, fence rows for downed trees and limbs.
  5. All spring seeding equipment should be ready to go.
  6. If you plan to use corn stalks for bedding decide now what fields you will harvest.

Crop Conditions

Red clover seeding has started. More will go as snow melts. March snow typically disappears quickly. A reminder that Semican Seeds is offering two prizes for the best red clover stand underseeded in winter wheat. First prize is 1000 lbs red clover seed, second prize is 500 pounds red clover seed. Seed to be picked up at your nearest Semican Seed dealer.


Seeding Spring Grain

This time in 2021, we had significant acreage seeded. Spring wheat benefits most by early seeding followed by barley and oats. Nonetheless, all three benefit from early seeding. Planting early means grain fill will occur during an historically cooler period than if you plant later. (Also, more sunshine hours during peak grain fill). Straw will be shorter and less lodging. Harvest should be sooner and better chance to get a cut of forages if underseeded or a second crop of forage oats.

Q - Does streaming 28% UAN on wheat hurt it when it’s below zero C?

A – If it does it isn’t worth worrying about. The leaves currently on the plant have been hardened off significantly since last fall and are not new plant tissue. I get more concerned when 28% UAN is applied on the 2nd pass in cold weather conditions on plant tissue that hasn’t been hardened off. That will scorch the wheat leaves, and some of those leaves do contribute to yield. The ones currently on the plant after the snow leaves contribute a much smaller percentage to final yield.

Q - Is Spreading Manure on Winter Rye/Triticale for Green Feed a good use of the nitrogen?

A  My preference is to use commercial nitrogen for four reasons:
  1. You can ensure the material is applied evenly and at a proper rate.
  2. You can ensure the nitrogen releases in time for the winter forage crop to make use of it.
  3. You can avoid running into issues with proper fermentation that comes with spreading manure on fields that will then be used for fermented feeds.
  4. There isn’t any much soil compaction and tramping of plants.

Navigating the Winter Wheat Herbicide Conversation (JZ)
May be a bit too early to be having the wheat herbicide conversation, but here are
some initial thoughts. I have put together a summary of the winter wheat herbicides that contain the active fluroxypyr. If you have cleavers, tufted vetch or perennial Sowthistle, you should be looking at these products. Each fluroxypyr product has its own twist on how it fits into the weed control program.

Corteva’s Wheat Herbicide – Prominex 
Prominex was registered last year for the Ontario market as a wheat and barley herbicide. This product contains 3 different group 4 herbicides: clopyralid, fluroxypyr and halauxifen; think of it as Pixxaro plus Lontrel, minus MCPA Ester. You should consider adding MCPA Ester to the mix if you have weeds like burdock, horsetail, mustard, stinkweed and volunteer canola. This herbicide is the Cadillac of wheat herbicides. The only weed species I expect it to be weak or variable on is flowering chickweed. If you have a variable rate wheat stand that might be ripped up, watch re-cropping restrictions (applies to all wheat herbicides).

Winter Wheat Stand Assessment

The following chart is on the C&M website. It gives details about the ideal stand. When you seed at 1.2 M seeds/ac you get about 18 seeds/foot of row. At 1.4 M seeds 21 seeds/ft of row, and 1.6 M seeds gives 23 seeds/ft. Research done years ago suggested that if you have 7 plants/ft of row you should get 90% yields. You had to get to 5 plants/ft of row to get to only 80% yield. These were hand thinned plots taken to yield. In the real world if you have a thin stand it is likely the remaining plants are not too healthy. Deciding to rip up a stand is still an art not a science. If you have a questionable field some type of aerial image is a big help. Probably a drone picture is best. When you look at a field you are apt to overestimate the amount of damage. An image taken by a drone gives a quicker, clearer idea of the extent of the damage/winterkill.

 I’m participating in the Great Lakes YEN Wheat Competition, what do I need to know?

There are a few things you need to know:
  1. If you are a farmer, please check your email and login in to CropTrak, if you are a farmer working with an agronomist and/or CCA, and they will be entering data on your behalf, they will need to be invited to CropTrak, through CropTrak to be able to do this.
  2. For data that can be entered from the office, I suggest using your computer and web browser to enter historical data. Use the phone or tablet app to enter in-field data such as crop stage or photos.
  3. Select and enter your field location. Now is a good time to start evaluating a suitable trial location if you haven’t done so already. The area you will be harvesting and collecting from should be 1.5 to 3 acres in size. Once you start sampling, you cannot change your field location.
  4. You should flag off the area in question. I recommend using 6’ fiberglass field markers. By the time you push in the flag these become 5’ tall. Anything less in height can be hard to find in the field as you approach maturity. You should have 10 marker flags within the area, along with your corner flags. You will be going back to these locations to sample. I would also recommend dropping and recording GPS coordinates (i.e. Climate Fieldview or JD Ops Centre) at these points, should you lose a flag or two.
  5. At this time of year you can enter in information that has already happened.
    a. Field location and field history (manure/cover crop)
    b. Variety/Planting date/depth/seeding rate
    c. Starter Fertilizer
    d. Fall Herbicide Applications
  6. Enter in expected Z10 crop stage during the fall. Usually about 130-150 GDD from planting date, or use the YEN suggested approach Planting date will help estimate GS 10 (emergence) the earlier planted the quicker emergence. In Sept 4-5 days to emergence, early Oct likely 1 week, and further into Oct more like 10 days.”
  7. Going forward you will need to enter any fertilizer and crop protection applications under their respective categories.
  8. Make note of the sampling protocols and open up the box of resources that should have been sent to you. All required sampling protocols have materials and postage supplied. Read the instructions carefully.
  9. See chart below for respective sampling timings.

You can find the full list of detailed notes for this project at this link

Q - Jonathan, what were your take-aways from the 2022 Great Lakes YEN?

A  These are my top three AHAs from last year’s project:
  1. The top 20 had a lower cost of production than the bottom 20 by $0.88/bu.
  2. High biomass wheat is required to have high yields. The high biomass supports a high number of kernels per square foot.
  3. Management is the main factor affecting yields, not weather conditions. Why do I say this? The top 20 and bottom 20 had the same yield potential, but yields varied by roughly 50 bu/ac.
  4. Bonus – benchmarking against your field’s yield potential and like-minded individuals opens up new and exciting ways of managing your wheat crop.


Q  Why did you omit a few soybean herbicide from your soybean pre-emerge tables?

A  Here’s the logic behind what was or wasn’t selected.
  1. It needed to control herbicide resistant annual broadleaves and Canada fleabane to get a mention. If it didn’t check those two boxes, no mention.
  2. I didn’t want to focus on going back by 1 to 2nd trifoliate if you’re going to spend $25-30/ac, or more on pre-emerge. You should be able to wait until 2-3rd trifoliate without sacrificing yield.
  3. I tried to put down certain pre-emerge programs that helped fix a gap in particular herbicide system. So if a system is weak on a particular weed species, there is more of a focus on that group of chemistry to help round out what can be sprayed in crop as a rescue. Yes, I said rescue. Your first line of weed control defense should be pre-emerge.

Reader comment – make sure you use the layered approach when it comes to Waterhemp.
“On Enlist tolerant soybeans, my preference is to use a product like Diligent (Classic + Valtera) up front, followed by pyroxasulfone (Zidua) in-crop post emerge to stay ahead of this hard to control weed. We have had very little crop injury with this program, and it has been popular on clay soils.”


Corn Stover Values

Easiest and the fairest to all parties involved is to price it laying in the field. Research suggests that 60% of potash value in the corn stalks will have leached out over the winter. The biggest drawback of baling stalks is delayed planting, and the risk of soil compaction. Balers are heavy, and the loads the bale wagons are carrying are even heavier. Keep these hidden costs in mind if you are approached to sell corn stalks. Given current fertilizer values, the minimum threshold I would be selling my stalks for is 3 to 4 cents/lb laying in the field.


Sulphur Response on Winter Cereals for Feed (PJL)
According to Tom Kilcer with Advanced Ag Sy Systems you should apply 15 lbs/ac sulphur when you are applying nitrogen this spring to any cereal rye, triticale or biannual grasses that will be harvested as forages. This sulphur has been shown to increase protein by 3-5%.


Q - What type of nutrient are you working with?

A - I made this chart for myself to provide a clear understanding of which nutrients are plant mobile/non-mobile and soil mobile/non-mobile. I find it helps when trying to understand plant nutrient deficiencies and soil interactions.

Business Matters
New(ish) Fungicides
I thought it would be appropriate to review newer fungicides that have come to market over the last 2-3 years.
Here is a summary:
Lean Farm – Equipment Uptime
To improve their dairy farm, Jana Hocken of Lean Farm has adapted Toyota’s Lean concept to agriculture use. A recent blog post of theirs caught my attention around equipment uptime and I thought our readers would enjoy it. Check out the post on: Our farm equipment: reliability, capacity & effectiveness.

“Love your Enemies, for they tell you your faults.”

— Benjamin Franklin