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Ontario field crop report: August 1

Aug. 1, 2014, Ontario – Winter wheat yields are varying tremendously, from "best ever" to "never growing wheat again," reports Peter Johnson in the latest Ontario field crop report from OMAF.  

Early planted canola is 10 to 14 days away from being harvested, reports Brian Hall. Cool weather conditions have been favourable for flowering with many fields flowering for three weeks. In thin stands, increased branching will extend flowering period and maturity. Stands with uneven maturity may require swathing or preharvest herbicide application. Canola matures from the bottom upward and outward, so branches mature later than the main raceme. Judge crop maturity by overall seed colour change rather than by just colour change on the main raceme. Evaluate a number of areas in the field by looking at individual plants to see where the majority of yield will come from. Seed colour changes typically by 10 per cent or faster every two to three days. Green stalks and seeds, perennial weeds, and uneven ripening can all be a problem at harvest. Delays in harvest can result in significant pod shelling, reducing yields. Preharvest products to aid harvest can evenout and speed crop dry down and allow for timely harvest. For more harvest information visit

Edible beans 
Crop conditions vary from very poor to excellent, Hall adds. Heavy rainfall and frequently saturated soil conditions have hampered growth of many stands and root rot is now widespread in these areas. Scuffling and applying supplemental nitrogen operations are ongoing to help alleviate root rot and tight soil conditions. The first application of fungicide for white mouldanthracnose is nearly complete. There have been unconfirmed reports of anthracnose infection. Anthracnose fungicides are very effective at providing protection and arresting anthracnose. Western produced seed has been problem free for anthracnose, so likelihood of anthracnose being a problem is low in these fields. To scout for anthracnose, scout water runs, low areas, headlands and field margins where anthracnose often first appears. Second fungicide application timing for white mould or anthracnose should occur seven to 10 days after initial application. If only one white mould fungicide application is to occur this should take place no later than 50 per cent bloom, which corresponds to two to three pin beans present. Early signs of bacterial blight are evident in some fields. Foliar fungicides do not control blight, and copper based sprays are ineffective unless started earlier in the season and usually requires repeated applications.

Winter wheat 
Harvest ranges from complete in the south to a week away in shorter season areas, according to Peter Johnson. Rain, showers and humid days continue to frustrate growers and slow progress. Almost all of the crop harvested to date has been high in moisture, up to 22 per cent. Quality remains good, with high test weights and only an odd load downgraded due to fusarium or sprouting. Concern is running high for deterioration of the crop with current weather patterns. Remember to increase combine cleaning fan speed should fusarium levels increase to levels that cause downgrading. Fusarium Damaged Kernel (FDK) counts can be reduced by as much as 50 per cent with maximum wind speed.

Yields vary tremendously, from “best ever” to “never growing wheat again”. Good management was essential with tough winter conditions to obtain good yields. Yield responses to seed placed phosphorus are at record levels (up to 35 bu/ac); sulphur trials show seven to 10 bu/ac response, planting date and drainage all pay. Dry weather at early grain fill, or N loss from saturated soils are other factors impacting yields. Excellent forward contract opportunities for 2015 crop Hard Red Winter wheat (HRW) exist at some elevators, with over $1/bu premium at certain locations. This is the first time in several years that premiums have been at these levels. Consider growing some HRW this fall, and lock in these premiums now. Premiums to encourage acreage of a given crop often shrink once the crop is in the ground.

Spring cereals
Barley harvest is just underway. Current cool temperatures and rainfall are excellent for grain fill of the remaining crop, although raises the probability of fusarium problems. Crown rust in oat is at extreme levels in some fields where fungicides were not applied. Lodging of barley is evident where high nitrogen rates or heavy manure was applied. Final acreage numbers indicate spring wheat acres down 11 per cent, and barley, oat and mixed grain acres up two per cent.

Although most areas are very close to normal for CHU accumulation for the season, recent cool temperatures and cloudy conditions have slowed crop development, reports Greg Stewart. CHU accumulation for last week was approximately 15 per cent below normal and in some areas, up to 23 per cent below normal. This may have a negative impact on kernel number and yield potential as well as delaying the start of the grain filling process. On the positive side, most areas have adequate moisture to keep tassels and silks in good shape.

Detecting successful pollination without waiting for the kernel blisters to appear can be done by carefully removing the husks, turning the ear upside down and gently tapping it. The majority of silks should fall off, indicating successful pollinations. Silks that remain attached indicate kernels that have not been pollinated.

Some fields are showing premature signs of N stress most likely caused by denitrification or leaching in areas with abnormally high rainfall. Thirty-seven per cent of the total plant N is taken up after tassel so in some cases high clearance applications of additional N may still be attempted on fields where yield potential is good and N deficiency significant.

August 1, 2014  By OMAF


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