Top Crop Manager

News Soil
Focusing on field conditions not planting date in Ontario


May 13, 2019
By Field Crop News

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Cool, wet weather continues to persist in Ontario and producers are encouraged to wait for better field conditions to avoid soil compaction that will negatively impact plant potential and yield, according to Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) latest crop report.

Since the end of April, little has changed across Ontario and producers continue to wait on weather that allows fields to dry out and support equipment. Soil compaction is a major concern as some producers are itching to get into the fields to catch up on the season which has been delayed by wet weather. However, OMAFRA’s field crop team says the urge to catch up on the season’s delay could have producers out in the fields earlier than they should be there.

“You end up living with compaction for a long time. Options are patience, lower tire pressure, use the biggest volume tires you can, don’t fully load manure and fertilizer spreaders etc.,” the field crop team writes in the latest crop report.

Soil compaction impacts seed emergence uniformity and the crops ability to access nutrients and water as the season progresses. Producers are encouraged to wait for better field conditions instead of fixate on planting date to give the crops their best chance to deliver on their potential.

Soils are the most susceptible to compaction when they are moist, not when they are soaked. To learn more about compaction, Marla Riekman, soil management specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, broke down compaction and how to manage it in a video from Top Crop Manager‘s Soil Management and Sustainability Summit.

Cool wet weather is prominent but eastern Ontario did get a small window to get some activity happening. While rainfall amounts vary wildly, the lack of warmer temperatures are keeping most producers out of the field. The OMAFRA field crop team says the amount of heat missed to date is minimal, so for many producers, it’s best that the seed is still in the bag.

Read the full Ontario field crop report for the second week of May for more on winter wheat, spring cereals, corn, soybeans and canola.