By the OMAFRA Field Crop Team
The primary field crop producing regions are all below normal levels of precipitation. The rainfall on July 1st was a small reprieve but many corn fields are showing the typical “onion leafing” symptoms, especially on lighter textured soils. In those “onion leaf areas there are even some browning of corn leaf tissue. As corn gets closer to tasselling, the dry conditions may begin to have a significant impact on yield. One Wisconsin citation has estimated yield losses of 2-4% per day.
Soybeans seem to be handling the dry conditions better than corn, but there are some patchy fields that had poor germination due to dry soil conditions at planting. Even decent stands are slow to canopy due to the dry conditions. The moisture stress is also inducing other stresses (diseases, fertility) that might not normally be problematic.
It is too soon to estimate the impacts on yield and soybean fields that have a full plant stand can still recover with little impact on yields if it rains. The problem is that some areas have very poor plant stands, especially in the Niagara region. For a small percentage of fields, yields will be very poor even if there is rain in the next week. This is not a large percentage of the overall Ontario acreage but it is significant in the impacted areas.
First cut of forage for single cut systems is seeing average yields, and dry hay is coming off the fields dry so there should be excellent quality. 2nd cut of forages has started on some dairy farms with reduced yields but good quality. The volume of second cut is going to be below average due to the dry weather and producers may wait on harvesting and let the plants get slightly more mature than normal to increase yields by sacrificing quality.
Harvest is underway in Essex. The yield has been variable anywhere from 45-100 bu/ac. It has been dependent on whether growers sprayed a fungicide or not to control leaf rust. Kernel size is small in some cases but test weights have been good. Quality has also been good with little or no fusarium. We expect harvest to be in full swing in Chatham-Kent and Lambton counties (this) week.
Canola growers continue to monitor swede midge and cabbage seedpod weevil levels, however most canola acres are beyond the growth stage where economic damage will be caused by swede midge. Cabbage seedpod weevil, while they do feed on developing buds, do not cause economic damage until after 10% bloom when eggs are laid in newly forming pods. Spraying should not be done until 10-20% bloom, otherwise a second spray will likely be needed. Risk of sclerotinia to date has been low because of low moisture levels.
Edible bean growers have had very few replant situations this year. Aside from many reports of Dual injury around emergence, the crop is looking good at this time. Some rain would assist in faster growth and canopy closure. Early planted fields are now reaching first flower.
Weather data is updated at www.weatherinnovations.com/