Saturated soils across Ontario delay seeding
May 27, 2019 By Field Crop News
Seeding progress is varied across the province and soils continue to remain unfit for field operations in large parts of the province, especially in much of the southwest and parts of eastern Ontario, according to the latest crop report from Ontario’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).
Large parts of southwestern Ontario and pockets north of Toronto have saturated surface soil moisture that is more than 10 per cent greater than average, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s soil moisture difference from normal map. In contrast, other areas of the province that have seen a few days of favourable conditions have been able to catch up on cultivation, fertilizer spreading and planting.
In every part of the province, some have felt pressured to “mud it in” and work in borderline to unfit conditions. OMAFRA’s field crop team explains that a crop in compacted soil from working the field too early will need timely rains to avoid potentially significant stress. Impact from longer-term subsoil compaction could be visible in crops for years to come.
For producers kept out of the field due to weather conditions, OMAFRA recommends using the time to review the crop plans and prepare to adjust as conditions evolve. Having confidence in a plan offers reassurance. OMAFRA also encourages producers to engage with available resources because coping with pressure and stress during unpredictable times can be difficult. The Ontario Mental Health Help Line is 1-866-531-2600, or anyone can dial 211 to be connected to mental health support in their community.
Other highlights from the latest crop report include:
- As a result of delayed seeding, corn growers across the province are starting to switch hybrids to lower maturities to deal with the shorter season.
- Soybean planting progress has been minimal to date, but producers are encouraged to narrow row width to get early interception of sunlight by the later canopy.
- Nitrogen has been applied to most winter wheat fields by now, with some growers choosing to apply by helicopter because of field conditions.
- If winter wheat is at flag leaf stage, the weed control window has closed.
- For canola growers, swede midge emerges at the end of May or beginning of June, so pheromone traps should be set soon.
- Winterkill among forages is a widespread issue, but producers have plenty of options for alternative forage crops for the planting season ahead.