Wheat & Cover Crops: The interns finished up the final winter wheat preharvest field walks this week. Fields are quite clean and very few needed a preharvest glyphosate application. Red clover stands are struggling under the dry conditions. Most populations appear to be alive still but without rainfall its possible they will continue to go backward in the short term. If you are planning on a cover crop in the wheat stubble it is a good practise to do a burndown after harvest and before planting the cover crop. Two benefits of this- with the lack of moisture this year, those cover crops will require all the moisture they can get and having weeds rob that moisture will effect CC establishment; additionally, starting the cover crop weed free and giving it the ability to get established before the weeds will help to smother a rising weed pressure. Minimal tillage is needed to establish a cover crop, notill is preferred. But if incorporating manure at the same time stick to the least amount of tillage as possible. Cover crops will fill in as water becomes available throughout the fall. If you intend for oats or oat/peas for feed this fall you will need to keep seeding rates up, use a Phosphorus starter and add 45 lb Nitrogen. Otherwise green feed yields will be disappointing. Remember "fancy" cover crops are not necessarily better. Keeping the soil covered, scavenging nutrients, building biodiversity, busting compaction can all be accomplished with minimal dollars and time.
Combines are beginning to roll in the various regions. Hearing a range of yields but overall they have been quite strong. The soft white yields have been impressive this season. Soft reds have also been performing well with some record breaking yields throughout the province. Generally yields have been 10% above normal averages. Areas of Ontario receiving good June rainfall are having a record wheat crop with yields commonly between 120-150 bu. It's hard not to think of what this crop could have been with an inch more rain in June. Moisture is mostly hovering between 14-18%. Samples are ugly with shrunken kernels. Straw yields have been high and it seems there is lots of straw being sold in the windrow again this year. Be sure to account for nutrient removal from straw into your fall fertilizer replacement or manure applications this fall.
Rust in Corn: The interns are moving through the soys and corn this week to get a handle on pest and disease pressures. Most corn is coming into tassel now and over the next week. We are finding rust in a most corn fields. This rust has blown in on any one of the thunderstorms that has moved through the region. Unfortunately the disease pressure is ramping up. Single pustules on 1 in 10 plants 10 days ago are now clusters covering up to 5% of leaf tissue. This rust pressure is earlier than normal and it is concerning when we find it pre-tassel. Unfortunately stressed fields will succumb to disease pressure faster than those with good moisture. Morning dew is enough for rust to flourish. When finding it this early, a tassel fungicide becomes important from a yield protection standpoint. The corn is not overly tall this year so many growers have opted to spray a fungicide with their own sprayers with little to no concern about corn height.
Western Bean Cutworm in Corn: this has typically not been a problem in this region. Some areas of Ontario have overwintering populations that increase their risk for feeding damage and mycotoxins. Most of the population found here is from populations that fly in on storm fronts from the U.S. We often find sporadic patches in mature corn where larvae has caused minor ear feeding but typically only at a nuisance level. The interns are monitoring for these as they scout fields.
Spider Mites & Aphids: A few soy fields on sandy ground with little rainfall have been sprayed for spider mites to date. They cause stippling on the upper leaves and if you turn them over you can see a grey/white fuzz- the spider mites are there (pictured below). Mites move in from grassy fencelines and ditches and also bordering wheat fields. Yellowing patches along field borders are the first clue Mites are present. We will be monitoring for these as the weather continues to remain hot and dry as that is when they cause the most issues. First aphids have been found this week. The soybeans are most vulnerable to yield loss from pest stress as they move into the reproductive stages R3-R6. Many fields are approaching or at R3.
Yield Maps & Soil Sampling: If your harvest equipment is capable of producing yield maps, touch base with Steph 705-309-3774 and she can help you compile them after wheat harvest. These are useful tools for developing soil sampling zones. Additionally, we are beg
inning to review farm lists in order to update soil samples after the wheat comes off. We will be in touch with you individually to review this and develop an action plan.
Hope everyone has a safe and happy harvest!