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The Cropwalker - Volume 7 Issue 19

The Cropwalker - Volume 7 Issue 19

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



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Crop conditions Weather has not been very nice to many. Growers in Lambton and north Kent especially frustrated. This year Haldimand, which is generally the last area to get planting done, is ahead of most areas. The table below shows we have collected more CHUs than normal. Winter wheat - heading to flag leaf fully extended. Growers who applied fungicide when flag leaf came out are glad, they did as rust is showing up. If you are 7-10 days before spraying for fusarium, consider spraying to protect the flag leaf from rust. Corn ranges from 100% planted to not started. Lambton probably only 5% planted. Overall, maybe 40% of Ontario’s corn is planted. We will send you a complete map later this week. This is the week to consider switching to earlier hybrids. It is good to have a seed rep who knows their hybrids. Some hybrids may not have to be switched. Discuss with a knowledgeable seed person. Soybeans individual growers from 0-75% planted. No reason to switch varieties. Keep planting. Forages more fields needing to be sprayed for alfalfa weevil as first cut is a few days away. And weather is not real conducive to harvesting forages.

Things to Do This Week

1.      Stay focused. There are so many things to do and just realize you are not going to get them all done. Prioritize what needs to be done. Make a plan and stick to it. Don’t get distracted by something that doesn’t matter.

2.      My list of priorities would be soybean burndowns, fungicide on winter wheat, weed control in corn.

3.      Check emerged soybeans for slugs. They love this weather. There is no control. If heavy loss work those areas and replant with the same variety.

4.      We are into army worm time. Flights south of us in the US have been heavy. Moths prefer to lay eggs in downed wheat. Check those areas and monitor. They may just be bad in spots. Watch for birds circling above wheat during the day. Armyworm will come to the top to feed and the birds will scoop them up.

5.      If you are in a traditional cereal leaf beetle area, check for them this week. Really no product registered to control them.

6.      Switching corn hybrids – Consider cutting back 100-150 CHU in areas below 2800 CHU on May 20th, May 31st for areas above 2800 CHU.

7.      Keep a notebook in the tractor or use the Notes app on your phone to make note of winter equipment repairs.


FHB timing (PJL)
There are days minus and days plus. The minuses are how many days until the head emerges. The plus is following head emergence. With day zero being 75% of heads emerged.

Heading is highly driven by temperature, some years it can drag on for several days between head emergence and flowering (0-10 degree weather), when it’s 25-30 C, this process happens quickly, and your window for day 1 to day 2 (considered optimal for fusarium protection), is likely 1 day due to the number of growing degree days it accumulates.

Day 0 75% of heads emerged
Day 1 first anthesis visible (yellow flowers in middle of head).
Day 2 20% flowers
Day 3 30% flowers
Day 4 40% flowers
Day 5 50% flowers
Day 6 end of flowers

Below is a pictorial provided by Ken Currah BASF

T3 Fungicide Product Options in Wheat (JZ)

There are three, maybe four products your retailers have for 2024. All are 20 acres per jug. All use similar water volume and spray tips. Miravis Ace is labelled for a wider application window. And two out of the four require the addition of surfactant.

Once 75% of heads are emerged is day 0. The next 3 days, day +1 to day +3 are the optimum days to spray for FHB control. All of these will provide protection against leaf and stem rust, however there are differences between products on the level of protection provided.

There is typically no rainfast listed on these types of products, conventional wisdom has been that if it has dried on the leaf surface/head, the product will be effective. Applying to crop with dew or rain on it, will reduce efficacy.

Fungicides for fusarium control

With flag leaf fully extended it will be 2-3 weeks to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) timing. Typically, you can expect 2-3 weeks of leaf disease protection with a fungicide. The strobi group of fungicides prevent spores from germinating. They do a great job giving protection from stripe rust. You cannot spray a strobi once the head appears, as it increases the risk of DON. That is when you switch to a triazole (Caramba, Miravis Ace, or Prosaro Pro/XTR)

Q I applied the T1 fungicide and wondering if I should apply T2 or just wait for FHB timing?

Ans (PJL) I think with current weather you should apply the T2 on fields with good yield potential. This will give you 2 weeks of protection during a time when I think diseases will thrive. Also, you could wait for FHB timing and then not be able to spray because of too wet, too windy, too many other things to do. In this case you will be glad you got T2 on. Another scenario is that at heading it turns hot and dry and you do not spray for fusarium. If you are trying to decide between getting your pre-emerge on or spray your T2 application. Get the pre-emerger herbicides on!

Cereal Leaf Beetle (CLB) in the traditional areas and a bit more. This pest spreads a bit more every year. Threshold is 1 larva per stem. If you walk through a wheat field checking for army worm and T3 timing and your plants turn blackish, it is CLB. Currently the only product registered to control cereal leaf beetle is malathion. This is a nasty one to apply. You apply it on a hot day and the fumes kill. You want to have a sprayer equipped with appropriate safety equipment to spray malathion.

Physiological Fleck of Wheat (PJL & JZ)

In my notes, the earliest I have as seeing this problem was 2002. It is caused by UV sunlight. The plants were sunburnt. It sort of looks like a disease. But it is general through the field. It occurs as much or more on the top leaves as the bottom leaves. It is believed that varieties with a blue tinge to the leaf tend to exhibit it more. There is very little leaf loss due to sunburn. If you are not sure what you have put some leaves in a bag with a couple of drops of water and if it is a disease the flecks with develop a visible disease of either mycelium growth or black pepper like specks.

Weed Control

Below is a summary of Dr Peter Sikkema’s research on yield loss with delayed weed control.

Temperature swings when spraying corn

Do not spray a post emergent herbicide if above 28 o C or if there is a 20 o C swing in temperature during a 24-hour period. But if you don’t get the weeds controlled there will be a yield hit. Points 1) Smaller corn plants with less leave surface are damaged less. 2) If really hot better to spray in the evening. The corn plant will break down herbicides in the first 12 hours after application. In the evening corn plants can more easily break down herbicides.

Horsetail Control

Horsetail can grow under extreme conditions of wet, dry, pH extremes, light soil etc. We have been battling it on many farms for years. There are a number of options. You want the soybeans to get a quick start, so you want the green of horsetail gone at time of bean emergence. If you have a few patches then a light cultivation of those patches gets rid of the top growth. Note from BASF research “I have seen Eragon burn some horsetail and not even touch the plant directly beside it. There are so many different biotypes and it appears that Eragon has more activity on the biotypes in eastern Ontario and Quebec than the western side of the province.  However, over the last couple years Eragon virtually has no activity”. High rate of Roundup seems to give some control. Broadstrike also gives some control. So, a tank mix Roundup and Broadstrike is probably your best bet in soybeans.

JZ – If you have Enlist tolerant soybeans, Enlist DUO (or Enlist One plus glyphosate or Liberty) has been the highest ranked option based on research conducted by Mike Cowbrough, OMAFRA Field Crop Weed Specialist.

What is the difference between Engarde and Destra IS?

Both products are sold by Corteva, and both contain a group 2 grass component and Callisto. Destra is targeted for in-crop applications and contains a safener, Engarde is targeted for the Pre-Plant to early post market and contains a higher rate of Mesotrione.

What is in UPL’s Coyote corn herbicide?

Coyote is a co-pack of Coyote 1 (generic Callisto 480 @ 0.12 L/ac ) and Komodo (generic Dual @ 0.7 L/ac). If you are a grower that would like to mix and match rates of your broadleaf and grass control, this product might be a fit for you. If you add Aatrex, you are making what use to be sold as Syngenta’s Lumax (no longer available).

The co-pack does come with 3 jugs, so plan on having to handle some triple rinsing.

Four Options for Dicamba Tolerant Soybeans Burndowns/Pre-Emerge

I had a call a few days ago regarding Roundup Xtend 2 vs Roundup Xtendimax 2 vs Engenia vs Express FX. This is what you are getting with these products.

I would like to point out that Roundup Xtend is a pre-mix of dicamba and glyphosate, and that Xtendimax is a standalone product of only dicamba, as they have very similar names.

Reminder – Max Rate of Eragon or Integrity going to Soybeans?

Is 30 mL/ac of Eragon or 0.15 L/ac of Integrity.


Q - Should I wait for the last 5% of the field to dry before planting?

A – Math suggests that you are losing 100% of the yield each day you wait on the 95% of the field that could be planted. Sometimes it’s better to take a zero on the 5%, as the yield you gave up if losing 0.3 bu/ac day would be 10 days on the 95% of the field, plus the risk of not getting wheat planted in the fall.

100 acres -> 5 acres * 50 bu = 250 bu of grain. 250 bushels/95 acres = 2.63 bu per acre not planted.

From OSCIA Crop Advances: Summary: On average the highest soybean yields were achieved when soybeans were planted during the first half of May. This is somewhat earlier than soybeans have traditionally been seeded in Ontario. Waiting from May 10 to May 24 resulted in a yield loss of 4 bu/ac. Planting after the optimal window resulted in a yield loss of 0.3 bu/ac/day in this study. Field conditions did not allow for very early planting in mid-April and limited planting in late April. In the two experiments where a planting date of late April was achieved a slight yield loss was evident compared to the early May planting. From this study the ideal planting window for maximum yield was the first half of May.



Checking corn and soybean emergence (PJL, JZ)

Hopefully, emergence is even and you are satisfied. If considering replanting corn, my (PJL) guidelines is you leave 18,000 good healthy corn plants, replant if 12,000 and in between you have to factor a bunch of things such as acres affected, can you remove the first stand with another herbicide, do you have enough moisture to get a new stand. (JZ – some of these recommendations will vary by corn hybrid. Talk to a CCA from the company that supplied your seed as to how your hybrid responds at lower populations). Generally speaking, 20-24,000 plants of corn planted on time will out yield a perfect stand of 34,000 planted at the tail end of May. For soybeans, you only need 100,000 good plants to get maximum yield. If you do decide to touch up your soybean stand, use the same variety, and consider using close to your original seeding rate (minimum 120,000 seeds).

Q - Given the current weather conditions and ability to do tillage, I want to no-till some corn, any pointers?

A – Some observations I’ve had over the years.

1.      Ideally dry fertilizer on the planter (or Conceal or liquid 2x2), with at least 40 units of N.

2.      Spiked closing wheels to breakdown the sidewall of the seed trench. Ideally the have depth limits to avoid flicking seed out of the seed trench (use a seed firmer to help with this).

3.      Seed firmer – two reasons, 1) you might not be planting as deep, and want to make sure the seed is at the bottom of the seed trench, 2) you are unable to firm the seed into soil at the bottom trench with closing wheels in unworked soils, as the seed trench is usually closed with serrated or notched closing wheels, and are unable to compress the air out of the trench.

4.      You may have to drive slower to reduce row unit chatter (bounce).


Q Should I spray for weevil after taking the first cut?

Ans (PJL) Maybe. The act of cutting will kill a significant number. The remaining ones may not do significant damage to the next cutting. At least that is what I thought last year. Then I received a call late June from a grower who had large numbers of weevil feeding on the second cut. If you have significant feeding damage in the first cut check the second cut. Generally, the only feeding damage will be by some adults and established fields can withstand this damage. Nearby new seedings can be hurt by adult feeding after first cut. You have to watch.

Question – How many plants do I need in an alfalfa stand the year of seeding?

Answer. You plant about 16 pounds of alfalfa seed per acre. This equates to about 75 seeds / sq ft. So, in 7” rows this is about 45 seeds / foot of row. A lot. So, if you have 20 per foot of row at establishment that is lots. The chart below gives an approximate number of plants through the life of a forage stand. The ideal is we want 50 stems or more per square foot. These are all book values. In reality when you look at a new seeding it is either good or not good. Generally, no one actually does a plant stand count. If you are assessing your stand and are not satisfied check the seeding depth. The number one reason for poor stand establishment is planting too deep. If you have a poor stand, then reseed poor areas right now.


Understanding Salt Index

Salt index compares the osmotic potential of different fertilizers to each other, or in plain language, how much water pulls away from the seed. It does not measure the potential for seed injury. It is an index, starting at 100 using Sodium Nitrate as the comparison fertilizer.

A&L has an excellent technical bulletin on this topic, it can be found here. https://www.alcanada.com/pdf/Tech_Bulletins/Compost_Fertilizer_Manure/Levels/141-Salt_Index.pdf


Planter Performance Tips

1.      Thou shall not back up with the planter in the ground.

2.     Thou shall not open seed bags over the seed hopper

3.     Thou shall trust the monitor when it alarms

4.     Thou shall keep hopper lids with the planter at all times

5.     Thou shall check seed depth outside of the headlands

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”

James Clear