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Winchester Agribusiness Breakfast Meeting – May 14, 2019

Weather Conditions
 
Wet, cool weather conditions have continued, with short windows of opportunity to plant in the past two weeks. Most fields are saturated, and several fields have some ponding. A few fields are actually underwater in Renfrew close to the flooding areas. Soils that are semi-dry have had fertilizer applied and will be planted when the field conditions are suitable. A few acres were planted last Thursday before the rain. There was some concern that it was too cold but was saved by a warm rain on Friday.
 
Forages
 
A few of the borderline stands have been saved. Growers have applied nitrogen fertilizer on stands with some grass content. Severeal fields have been overseeded with alfalfa, oats, other grasses. There is lots of damaged forage stands, but they have not been reported yet to Agricorp. Of the 9,250 acres of new seeding insured, only a few damage reports have been received by Agricorp to date. Many clients seem to be calling the adjusters directly. Damage reports must be called-in by either the first time the grower cuts or by May 31st. The forage stands are better in the Renfrew area. It is estimated that only about 15% of hayfields were taken out. There is a real concern that there is no extra hay or feed around and it is expected forage yields will be low. Some earlier fungicide has been applied on alfalfa.
 
Winter Wheat
 
The 93% winter wheat damage reports east of the 400 to Agricorp are from eastern Ontario.  Estimates of winterkill in eastern Ontario have been 80 to 95% across the area. The winter wheat stands are better in the Renfrew area. It is estimated that only about 13% of winter wheat acres were taken out. A few growers have interseeded the damaged areas with spring wheat or oats or barley as they need the straw for livestock feed and bedding. At least one grower has baled some of last year’s corn stalks expecting there to be a shortage of straw for bedding. Yield was estimated at about 3,000 pounds per acre at 10% moisture.
 
Due to the winter kill, several growers have rolled their contracts forward to next year. Seed supply will be tight this fall as less winter wheat acres across the province to go to harvest this year. Growers who need to fill contracts for next year should book earlier and plan ahead. We are approaching the weed control and the early fungicide timing on what is left of the winter wheat acres.
 
Spring Cereals
 
Few acres of spring cereals have been planted to date. Some growers have decided not to plant spring wheat now, freeing up some seed. After assessing the risks and consulting with industry, Agricorp has decided to extend the last day to plant spring wheat, spring grain, oats and barley in areas B and C by five days. The last day to plant spring wheat, spring grain, oats and barley is extended to May 20th, from May 15th. A customer is not obligated to plant in the extension.  If they feel it doesn’t make agronomic sense for their business, they can choose not to plant in the extension.
 
There was some discussion about seeding rate for spring wheat given the later planting dates. Some are still targetting the 1.6 million seeds per acre, others suggest increasing the seeding rate to 2 million as there will be less tillering with the late planting.  Some western spring wheat varieties like Grandin may make its way into Ontario – will be interesting to see how it works out.
 
Corn
 
Only a few large growers have about 40%, but overall only about 5-10% of the intedned corn acres are planted. More so in the Finch and south Carleton area, not so much the upper valley. Challenge for tilled fields this spring because there was not as much time for tillage last fall due to a late harvest.
 
Questions coming in; 1) when to switch hybrids? 2) when should we start switching out corn? Long day corn hybrids although it is hybrid dependent, if not already planted should be switched to 200 CHU less around May 25th. Need to look at the genetics (late flowering, etc.) of the hybrids when planting late. Depends on maturity group. Based on some data from Elora, if less than 2,700 CHU hybrid, there is not a huge difference even if you go down by 50 units. If over 2750 that you can see a difference in yield if you change your hybrid to a lower heat unit variety in lower maturity groups.
 
Regarding switching corns and beans, the quote-of-the-day “Beans are terrible”. The question is, ‘will I make more with late corn or early wheat?’ Beans might be a wash in the end, though when farmers are panicking about all this corn to plant, break it down by the day, and they may realize that they will be able to plant within a shorter period than they previously thought. If we were to planting the 10th of June how much yield are we actually losing as opposed to planting soybeans – this is the question?
 
Average of trails planted before May 20th  = 196 bushels/ac; after May 20th = 186 bushels/acre.We have very little information about what is planted after the 20th. Hybrids will adapt. Switching to lower hybrids will depend on the farm setup of drying capacity, ability to blend corn, etc.
 
Soybeans
 
No till soils in better shape than tilled soils. Growers should be prepared to change the planter to plant soybeans if the field is fit. Estimated yield loss of 0.3 bushel loss per day delayed planting. A few acres of soybeans are planted. Growers are more concerned about planting corn than soybeans. Burn-down is important; growers want to plant early, but when you have hard to control weeds you need to target these first, especially fleabane! Growers who have already had it (fleabane) are not concerned – they know the impact. It is the farmers who don’t think or believe that it is prevalent yet.
 
Buckwheat
 
Usually with late spring planting conditions, growers start to look to other alternative crops like buckwheat. Markets are limited. Quebec has a niche market for organic. No contracts are available.
 
Market Update – Aubrie Mowat, BroadGrain Commodities Inc.
 
After large losses throughout the last two weeks the market has taken a turn for the better (soybeans delivered to Johnstown are still around $400/MT) after crop progress came in yesterday afternoon below expectations, in addition to this we can add in Trump’s recent positive (for once) babbling regarding the trade deal with China on Twitter to contribute to these gains. The crop progress numbers that were released yesterday did not come as a surprise. Corn acres planted to date came in at 30% compared the five-year average of 66% while soybeans are 9% planted to date vs the five-year average of 29%. The bearish USDA Report that was released on Friday held no real surprises. Ending stocks in both old crop and new crop corn and soybeans were greater than the average estimates. The old crop corn ending stocks were revised up 60 million bushels while old crop soybean ending stocks were revised up 100 million. In regard to new crop corn ending stocks there was some discussion surrounding the 2.485 million bushels that USDA has calculated. The 176 bushel/acre trend line yield they have used to determine this number is potentially unlikely considering how late of start the US has been given with disappointing weather and slim planting windows. We can clearly see how volatile this market is and will continue to be until a trade deal is made, it is hard to know what is fact or fiction at this point of the game. Targets will be your friend, call your grain marketing representative and place some!
 
Miscellaneous
 
Higher fertilizer prices with very few suppliers. Market 2016 prices are not that far off from where we are now. Initially prices were raised due to concern of shortages. Range in fertilizer prices. UAN was really low last summer, then climbed way high, then backed off a lot – not a normal trend. Flooding really affected supply therefore price because poor ability to move it into where it was needed. Urea was isolated from UAN fluctuation. Not the same ratio is was 10 years ago. In the fertilizer market you can buy the dollar and build storage.
 
Agricorp planting deadlines are corn June 15th and soybeans is June 30th.
Source : Field Crop News