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OMAFRA Field Crop Report

Corn: Greg Stewart
Depending on the area, 5-30% of the corn crop has been planted. Soil conditions have been very good. Cool temperatures (especially at night) in the last week have slowed the emergence process. If drying trends continue growers are advised to be cautious with secondary tillage that is too aggressive (too deep, too many passes) and causes excessive drying. Yields decline when crop uniformity declines. Planter performance is critical (correct depth, good seed/soil contact) to ensure that early planted corn emerges and develops as uniformly as possible. Planting deeper than 2.25” to find moisture in cold soils in mid to late April has resulted in poor stands in the past; consider waiting for rain or switch to fields where the moisture profile is better and allows for shallower planting. The early planting window has caused some growers to switch to longer season hybrids.

Cereals: Peter Johnson / Scott Banks
Winter cereals responded immediately to warmer temperatures and showers over the weekend, regaining good green colour and growth. A few isolated acres in frost prone areas have been killed by frost (a first in my 27 years). Significant varietal differences in frost injury. Whether this will translate into yield differences remains to be seen.
Advanced wheat is at the GS 32 (second node). Disease pressure is nil with dry, cold conditions. Early fungicide timing on these crops will be end of April. This is well ahead (2 weeks) of normal. Later crops remain at the GS 30 stage. Annual weeds have emerged and good control will be possible with herbicides being applied along with the early fungicide application. Spring cereal stands look excellent! There have been few reports of spotty stands where soils were dried out from tillage and seed was not planted deep enough. Early stands are at the 3 leaf stage. Herbicides should be applied as soon as weeds emerge and temperatures allow.

Forages: Joel Bagg
There is a significant increase in acres of new forage seedings. Many forage seedings are already in the ground. Ensure good seed-to-soil contact by preparing a firm seedbed. Forage inventories are exceptionally low for this time of year, with record high hay prices being reported.
Frost Damaged Alfalfa: A considerable amount of alfalfa was damaged by frost in April, although the severity of damage is variable. It takes a lot of frost to kill an alfalfa crown, so the majority of the crop should be fine, but anticipate some first cut yield reductions from delayed growth and development. For more information on frost damaged alfalfa and how to assess the amount of damage in the field go to:

Soybeans: Horst Bohner
A few “experimental” fields have been seeded. Although the long term Ontario data shows an average yield gain to early planting there are also increased risks. The majority of soybeans should be planted in late April or the first part of May for maximum yield potential. Over the last 3 years the yield loss associated with delayed planting has been 0.1 bu/ac/day after April 20th.
The majority of soybeans should be planted in April or the first part of May for maximum yield potential.

Canola: Brian Hall
Planting is 40% complete in the west- central region. Early April seeded canola is 10-50% emerged. Cold temperatures with sub-zero nights has slowed emergence and delayed seeding. Soil conditions have been excellent for field work although windy and dry weather is resulting in rapid drying of soils. If soils are dry and loose, level and pack as part of tillage operations and seed soon after tillage. Risk of fertilizer injury is higher under dry soil conditions. Nitrogen placed with seed should not exceed 10-15 lb/ac, and no potash should be seed placed. Do not delay planting of canola because of cold air temperatures. Canola seed germinates at 20 C and seedlings which have been subjected to several days of cold temperatures will harden-off and can tolerate frost.