Corn and soybean crops are progressing across most of Ontario, according to the July 13 weekly update from the Grain Farmers of Ontario. However, in some areas, excess soil moisture is creating concerns. The winter wheat harvest is underway between rain showers.
Corn crops in southwestern Ontario are progressing rapidly thanks to the combination of favourable weather conditions, including rain and heat. Advanced fields are starting to show tassels (VT) breaking through, with full tassel expected shortly. However, the region experienced a drought in early June, followed by excessive rainfall, leading to crop stress and variability in soil structure across fields.
Moisture will play a vital role in the upcoming weeks, particularly during the pollination stage, which is expected to occur within the next two to three weeks.
In addition to moisture concerns, the Western bean cutworm has been detected in fields, emphasizing the need to monitor traps and scout for egg masses.
Furthermore, diseases have started to emerge in the region, requiring vigilance from farmers. Specific diseases of concern include tar spot (recently identified in the Rodney area), northern corn leaf blight, and gray leaf spot. Regions with persistent rainfall are particularly susceptible to disease development due to excessive leaf wetness and high humidity throughout the season. Fusarium infection leading to the development of DON (deoxynivalenol) over the grain fill period is also a significant concern during the upcoming pollination period.
Soybeans in southwestern Ontario are experiencing rapid growth, propelled by favourable conditions. As the plants progress beyond the third trifoliate stage, branches and additional trifoliates develop quickly. Flowers have started to form, and most fields are now at the R1 stage (first flowers on any node) to R2 stage (full flower) where flowers are present at the upper nodes.
Dry weather during the flowering stage is tolerable for soybeans, as any flower loss can be compensated for within the following month. However, rain during pod fill in August will be essential to ensure optimal crop development. Conversely, dry weather during flowering helps limit white mould infection, as it reduces the risk of the open flowers being affected.
Farmers should also be alert for other potential threats, including white mould, two-spotted spider mites, and aphids, and take appropriate measures for monitoring and management.
Winter wheat crops across the province are now entering the ripening stage, with farmers in the deep southwest already using combines, whenever the weather allows. Reported yields so far have been around average. However, it is crucial to remain vigilant for the occurrence of black point, a condition caused by pathogens during warm and wet conditions during grain fill and ripening. Although no mycotoxins are associated with this disease, downgrades may be possible due to kernel discolouration. Farmers are advised to scout and prioritize the harvest of affected fields to mitigate potential losses, advises the Grain Farmers of Ontario update.