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Ontario field crop report: July 18

July 18, 2014, Ontario – Spring cereal fields are looking great despite late planting dates, reports Peter Johnson in the latest field crop report from OMAF. 

Cereals
Winter cereal harvest has begun in the deep southwest, reports Peter Johnson. Wheat yields range widely, from 60 to 118 bu/ac, with most in the mid 70s. Quality reports are good. The few winter barley fields that survived the winter are ranging from 90 to 110 bu/ac. Current cooler temperatures will help extend grain fill on fields that are not yet mature.

Many early harvested fields were immediately planted to double crop soybeans, with the excellent soil moisture that exists. While mid-70s yields are not great, most growers are “not disappointed” with these yields, given how poor crops looked earlier on. Fertility in the head is excellent, with more seeds at each floret than normal. This has helped maintain yields at slightly more reasonable levels.

Little total lodging is evident in the wheat crop, but many fields have spots that are “leaning” from recent wind and rain. This is an indicator that growers have hit the perfect amount of nitrogen for that field. Note the standability of your crop: if no lean is apparent, plan to try strips at higher N rates next year.

Straw remains in high demand. Straw prices are being discussed in every coffee shop, often with values of eight or nine cents per pound in the swath. Prices this high are not sustainable. Values over four cents push straw buyers/end users to look at alternative products (corn stalks, shavings, miscanthus).

Spring cereal fields look excellent, especially given the late planting dates of many fields. The last fusarium fungicides are being applied. Fusarium risk remains high with frequent showers and cool temperatures. Rust is evident in oat fields with no fungicide applied. Net blotch and bacterial spot are evident in barley fields. Leaf rust and septoria can be found in spring wheat fields. Disease management opportunities are over, with pre-harvest intervals now too short.

Corn
Cooler temperatures have meant a significant drop off in CHU accumulation and slowed corn development over the last week. Rainfall has been significant and most areas have good soil moisture conditions. 

High kernel number and potential yield is most influenced by the three week period which runs from one week prior to silking until two weeks after silk emergence. High photosynthetic rates during this period stimulate high kernel set. Early planted corn is in this phase now. Adequate soil moisture will enhance yield potential but warmer temperatures would increase the supply of photosynthate in the plant and increase the potential for higher kernel numbers.

Factors that improve the odds of a tassel time fungicide application being profitable are: leaf diseases present, corn after corn in rotation, high levels of crop residue on soil surface, higher levels of rainfall, and higher corn prices. Knowing which disease is present is important because some have a greater potential of impacting yield than others. The “big three” in terms of corn leaf diseases for Ontario are Northern Leaf Blight (NLB), Common Rust (CR) and Gray Leaf Spot (GLS). Other diseases such as eyespot can be at high levels, but their overall yield impact is much lower than NLB, CR and GLS.


July 18, 2014
By Top Crop Manager

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