The OMAFRA Field Crop team published their cereals seasonal summary for 2018, covering the planting season in 2017 to the growing season in 2018, up until harvest and planting in 2018.
Some highlights include the low level of disease, the wet spring which delayed fertilizer and nitrogen applications, an early harvest as a result of the dry hot summer, and overall good quality and yields for cereals.
- Throughout the 2018 growing season, multiple freeze-thaw cycles caused concern about winter survival. Overall, winter wheat survival was good except in late planted fields or fields on heavy clay soils that did have some heaving and winter survival issues.
- Less than 25 per cent of winter wheat acres received a fall herbicide application, but those that did were much cleaner than those that did not.
- With a cool and wet spring, fields were slow to green up. It was challenging to access wet fields in April and in some cases, no nitrogen was applied until close to flag leaf emergence resulting in lost yield.
- Additionally, fields that did not receive a seed-placed starter fertilizer (phosphorus in particular) lagged behind fields that did receive seed-placed phosphorus.
- Very little disease was reported in winter wheat fields early in the growing season right through to the end of harvest. Septoria and powdery mildew were reported in some fields, but symptoms were generally well below thresholds.
- The low level of disease incidence resulted in many growers choosing not to apply early season fungicides.
- As conditions began to dry up in many parts of the province at the end of May and well into June, wheat began to burn up due to the lack of moisture. Spring cereals also exhibited signs of water and heat stress due to lack of moisture and high temperatures during June and July.
- Cereal leaf beetle (CLB) was reported at higher than normal levels in many locations this growing season. CLB moved into several spring cereal fields warranting control in many cases.
- Winter wheat harvest started out approximately seven to 10 days earlier than harvest last year. Harvest was wrapped up for most of the province by the second week of August. Despite the relatively dry and hot weather during pollination through to the grain fill period and some challenges with a wet harvest, winter wheat yields exceeded expectations for many.
- The average winter wheat yield for soft red wheat was 85 bu/ac, hard red was 79 bu/ac and soft white wheat was 81 bu/ac.
- The quality of the winter wheat crop was excellent with 92 per cent of the crop grading a grade 2 or better. Elevators and millers reported high falling numbers and very low fusarium/DON in winter wheat.
Read the full Cereal Seasonal Summary report for 2018 here.