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Planting and seeding underway, East and West

Saskatchewan and Ontario ministries report that some seeding and planting has begun in both provinces, particularly the southwest corner of Saskatchewan and southern Ontario. 

April 24, 2009  By Top Crop Manager/SMA/OMAFRA

April 23, 2009

Seeding has begun in the southwest corner of Saskatchewan, where a late spring combined with cooler temperatures and precipitation, has delayed seeding in most other areas of the province.  The north and central regions are reported to be one to two weeks away from the start of seeding.

Reports of moisture are mixed; in the western part of the province, the word is that some districts are in need of rain, despite experiencing sufficient winter snow, which did not lead to a lot of runoff.  In all, 18 percent of cropland in Saskatchewan is reported as having surplus moisture, 71 percent is reported to be adequate and 11 percent is cited as having low or very low moisture levels.


While waiting for suitable conditions, growers have spent much of the last several weeks picking stones, preparing machinery, cleaning grain, controlling winter annuals and obtaining their crop inputs.

In Ontario, the word from the weekly agribusiness meeting in Ridgetown was that corn planting has begun in some regions, including reports of 25 percent of the crop being planted in some areas.  Generally, it was acknowledged that most growers have yet to start; soils have remained too cold in some areas, having yet to reach 10 degrees C.

Winter wheat crops are still variable, with some continuing to struggle in the absence of rain and sunlight.  Apparently, southern Lambton County is the so-called "hot spot" for discussions on whether to replant.  In other areas of southern Ontario, three days of relative warmth last week helped the crop considerably. There is a significant amount of nitrogen that has yet to be applied, with some growers waiting to determine the health of the crop while others cannot get into their fields due to poor conditions.

On the subject of replanting, advisors warned against being too pessimistic noting most growers over-estimate the percentage of a field that is damaged or fairing poorly. If using plant counts, four healthy plants per foot of row is considered the minimum, while seven healthy plants per foot will reach 95 percent of yield.

On the weed front, it was noted that winter annuals are beginning to bolt and ragweed has germinated.  In winter wheat crops, dandelions, chickweed and other winter annuals should be a priority for control. Trophy was mentioned as a new herbicide that will help with tufted vetch and cleavers.


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