March 27, 2020
Spring has started in Ontario, with winter wheat greening up and some frost seeded spring grains being planted. As well, some drier fields have seen grain drills with some early spring grains being seeded. Harvest 2019 should be wrapping up any time now.
There has been some talk of early nitrogen (N) being applied on winter wheat already. It’s a bit early, but for those late planted fields that need some help tillering this spring, putting a first shot of N on early at green up will help plants tiller and improve yield potential. A later N application will be needed to help finish the crop. One big shot of N early is just wasting nutrients and not following 4R principals.
Fields planted early last fall tillered nicely before winter and are well established this spring. These fields do not need an early application, but can benefit from N application before they need it. The best timing is before the plants start to stem elongate; however, you also need to keep in mind that your application timing can be affected by when fields are dry enough to carry the equipment without causing field damage (rutting). It’s important to check the weather forecast and walk your fields to check the growth stage of the crop.
A delay in N application can result in the crop showing signs of deficiency. The yellowing of wheat due to a lack of N in the soil is a sign of crop stress. Early stress on the crop will cause fewer florets to develop which means fewer kernels and lower yield in the end.
It’s also important to note herbicide application needs to occur before stem elongation in order to prevent damage to plant and head development. Any stress just before and during stem elongation can cause damage to the developing head and reduce the yield potential. Scout early and scout often for plant growth, weeds, and diseases.
Marty Vermey is Grain Farmers of Ontario’s senior agronomist. •
March 19, 2020
Update for March 2020 is looking favourable for the winter wheat crop. Warmer temperatures over the past 10 days have allowed the winter wheat crop to come out of dormancy in Southwestern Ontario. Fields greening up with little to no standing water on them over the winter have been a welcomed sight. Many growers have had the opportunity to under-seed fields with red clover this past week, with little to no mud or compaction.
As good weather continues, we hope to see a more typical spring with some of the early crops like spring grain, peas and sugar beets being planted over the next few weeks. •