Nitrogen on winter wheat

Cereals are very responsive to nitrogen. However, over-application of nitrogen causes lodging resulting in reduce yield, quality, and harvestability. The optimum rate of nitrogen for a particular field will depend on the type of wheat grown, past applications of manure or fertilizer, soil type, and crop rotation. Use general recommendations as a starting point but combine them with observation of crop growth and lodging tendency. The idea is to ensure nitrogen is available early and consistently though the major uptake period (node development though booting).

Timing

Time single applications for late April. This avoids significant N loss from wet soil conditions that might occur earlier, while providing N when the crop demand goes up. Large single applications increase lodging potential.

Split application are preferred. The main benefits are reduced concerns over N loss, greater weed control due to increased crop vigor, more uniform heading, and less lodging. Yield benefits are secondary. Apply 50-80 lbs/ac N as early as possible (on frost any time after March 15-20), with the balance at 1st – 2nd node. Nodes can be easily seen or felt on the stem above ground level.

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Temperatures climbing? Check the grain bins.

Warmer weather’s nice, but could affect grain quality.

As much as warmer weather may have growers in Ontario thinking of spring planting, a provincial ag specialist warns farmers to consider the old crop ahead of any plans for the new crop.

Temperatures are moderating and in southern Ontario, they’ve risen well above freezing for the first time in nearly two months.

Peter Johnson, shown here in 2009, urges farmers to check their bins given the recent rise in outdoor temperatures. (Ralph Pearce photo)

Peter Johnson, shown here in 2009, urges farmers to check their bins given the recent rise in outdoor temperatures. (Ralph Pearce photo)

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Frost seeding clover

With the snow beginning to melt and spring just around the corner, it’s time to begin thinking about seeding your clover cover crops on the frost for your winter grains. Clover is still one of the most beneficial cover crops to use when you have a winter grain crop. Thompsons Agronomy has put together some tips to help achieve good success when frost seeding clover.

Why clover?

  • Establishes and maintains growth under low light and under competition for other crops
  • Well adapted to all of Ontario
  • Has an extensive root system with a tap root that can work though compacted layers and extensive lateral roots in the top 6” of soil which contributes to good structure and tilth
  • Provide nitrogen credits to the following crops
  • Termination of the crop is relatively easy with proper tillage and/or herbicides

Species selection

Generally Red Clovers are used (single or double cut) because the seed is dense, which improves seed-soil contact, it germinates at low temperatures and has high seedling vigor, allowing it to start growing early in the spring. Double cut is ideal if you are looking for the maximum nitrogen credit or are wanting to graze/bale the crop for feed as it is more vigorous in the seeding year. Single cut clovers put more emphasis on root growth and are consider better at soil conditioning. Other options are alfalfa, sweet clover, or various mixes (45% single/double and 10% sweet clover).
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Grain analyst warns of leaner years ahead for Ontario growers

By Blair Andrews, QMI Agency

The next few years will be leaner when it comes to grain prices, a market analyst for an international feed and grain company warned Thursday at the Chatham-Kent Farm Show.

Bruce Trotter based his sobering outlook on a few factors, including lower growth expectations for China and the ethanol industry.

Trotter, who works in Blenheim as the managing director for the Canadian branch of Dutch-based Cefetra, said the era from 2006 to 2011 was a time of rising land prices and better crop margins driven by bio-fuel mandates and very high growth in China.

But the mandated growth in ethanol and bio-diesel is over, and he described the most recent years as an “ethanol hangover.” Read more

Reduce production costs without sacrificing yield

Falling commodity prices mean growers are concerned with their profit per acre. Input costs have remained high and have not adjusted to where farmers believe they should be. Until prices change, strategic adjustments will have to be made to stay profitable during lower commodity pricing years. Thompsons has identified 5 ways to help you reduce production costs without sacrificing yield.

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2014 Grain Corn Ear Mould and Vomitoxin Survey

Greg Stewart, OMAFRA Corn Specialist; Albert Tenuta, OMAFRA Field Crop Pathologist

The OMAFRA Field Crops team has completed the survey of the 2014 Ontario corn crop to determine ear mould incidence and the occurrence of mycotoxins in the grain. These mycotoxins, particularly vomitoxin (DON) produced primarily by Gibberella/Fusarium ear moulds, are grading factors and can be disruptive when fed to livestock, especially hogs.
202 samples were collected from October 14 to October 17, 2014 from corn fields across the province. In each field, 2 random areas were selected: in each area 10 consecutive ears were hand harvested and bagged. In fields with several hybrids, representative samples were taken from two areas for each hybrid (maximum of 4 hybrids per field). The 20-ear samples were then immediately dried and shelled. The resultant sample was thoroughly mixed and a sub-sample provided to A&L Laboratories in London for vomitoxin (DON) analysis.

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Potassium deficiency in corn source:

Potassium is a key ingredient to producing quality crops

Potassium (K) levels have been declining in Ontario fields. Many fields that have been sampled have noticed a drop in their soil sample potassium levels from a few years ago. Simply said, growers are not applying enough fertilizer. In some cases fertilization is less than what the crop will remove causing a decrease in soil nutrient reserves. Potassium is one of the three nutrients needed in large quantities by plants. This essential nutrient could be a limiting factor in your crop yields if your soil is not maintained at adequate levels.

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