Day 12 - Critical Weed-Free Period
These are the stages for various crops:
Cereals: 1-3 leaf stage
Canola: 3-4 leaf stage is the most critical, but weeds from the canola emergence – 6th leaf stage will impact yield
Peas: 1-2 weeks after emergence
Lentils: 5-10 node stage
Corn: V3 - V6
Soybean: V1 – V3 stage
Forages: 4-6 weeks after planting in a year of establishment
Weeds that emerge following the critical weed free period are primarily cosmetic. If they go to seed, they will add to the weed seed bank for the next year and may hinder harvestability, but the yield penalties for the current crop are minor.
Day 11 - Identifying Weeds
1. Assess the size
- If it’s big and the snow only melted last week, that means it’s was growing last year and is either a winter annual, biennial, or perennial weed.
- If it’s a newly emerging plant it has the potential to be an annual or any of the longevities listed above.
- Are the leaves or stems hairy?
- Are the leaves uniquely shaped?
- Are the leaves uniquely colored? Check both the surface and underside.
- Is it small enough where there’s only the first two leaves (a.k.a the cotyledons?) If so, what shape are they?
- Does the plant grow upwards or spread out across the soil?
- Flower shape and colour?
- Are there any seeds that have developed yet?
- Is it hard to pull out and have a long tap root? Ex) dandelion
- Are there rhizomes (roots connected to other plants) that remained in the soil? Ex) perennial sow thistle
- Are the roots well developed and fibrous ex) foxtail barley
- Is it in a low spot, midslope, or hilltop?
- Is the weed near the ditch or field entrance or is it in the middle of the field?
- Are there similar plants growing around it?
After answering question like these it’s easier to narrow down the choices in a weed identification book afterwards. Google images can also be helpful with the right combination of keywords!
Day 10 - Inoculants
- Store in a dry environment
- Don’t store in direct sunlight or drying winds
- Don’t store next to pesticides or fertilizers
- Use before expiry date
- Don’t leave inoculant in the tank overnight
- Keep cool but not frozen (0-20C)
Day 9 - Seed Bed Utilization
- SBU% = fertilizer spread/row spacing x 100
Source: Government of Manitoba.
Day 8 - Tank Mixing Glyphosate
Day 7 - Wheat Midge Forecasting
- Provincial Wheat Midge Forecast
- Wheat Grade Reports
In 2020, the provincial wheat midge forecast map did not highlight an issue for most of our geography. There were pockets however around Bruno and north that were higher risk. In season there were midge seen above threshold in some of those areas.
The other forecast that sometimes is overlooked are wheat grade reports from previous seasons. Wheat midge are not good at flying large distances. In a year of a bad outbreak, adjacent fields to where the outbreaks occurred are at the greatest risk. Between May-June, if a field does not receive >22mm of moisture, the midge will not hatch. The eggs may stay dormant in the soil for years until wetter conditions are present to hatch. Therefore it helps to look back not only on the past years wheat grade report but several to see the midge trend on your farm.
In the New Year the provincial government will release the 2021 midge forecast map which will give a general scope on the midge population for the coming season.
Day 6 - Cereal Nitrogen Requirements
Options to apply nitrogen include spreading, banding, and foliar applications in season. To figure out the best strategy and product(s) for your farm, talk with our agronomists to help plan the next season with you.
Day 5 - Aphanomyces
If the conditions were dry and the crop did well, there may not be as many spores within the soil. If the conditions were cold, wet and the disease pressure was high, the chance of aphanomyces being an issue again is greater. With a dry year with minimal pressure, you may be able to get away with having a tighter pulse crop rotation. If not, it is suggested to wait 8 years.
What if you don’t know the previous conditions when there was a pulse crop? Or even when the last time there was a pulse crop on that field?
That’s where having a soil test can come in handy. There are labs that can conduct soils tests to determine the amount of aphanomyces spores within a field. Another alternative is to collect soil and grow peas in pots at home prior to seeding to determine the potential survivability under high moisture conditions.
If the spore levels are low, another tool to help manage aphanomyces is the seed treatment Intego Solo. It is registered for suppression of early season infection of Aphanomyces. It does not help with later season infections or high spore loads however.
In the next 3-5 years the Crop Development Center in Saskatoon is aiming to release pea varieties with some aphanomyces resistance.
Photo credit: Dr. Syama Chatterton.
Day 4 - Water Quality Testing
Generally following winter and the snow melt, water source conditions are at their best. Depending on the previous year, the amount of winter precipitation, and the water source itself, the mineral concentration will vary. In previous years, August at desiccation timing was when we saw the greatest increase in hard water samples. Each of our locations has a water hardness testing kit. If you would like to have your water tested anytime in season, feel free to come by with your water sample.
For those that are curious about the hardness levels, here is a breakdown of what is or isn’t acceptable for glyphosate use:
Day 3 - Cereal Seed Treatment
- Number of bushels - The number of bushels or kg dictates the amount of chemical needed.
- Flow or speed of the grain being treated - In order to add the correct amount of chemical onto the seed as it's being treated, calibration is key. You'll need to know how fast the grain is going through to ensure the proper rate is being added throughout the process.
- Grain Temperature - Cold seed and seed treatments do not go well together at all. To prevent the issues that stem from cold seed such as flaking, it's best to turn on an aeration fan in spring when the weather is warmer or turn a bin around prior to seed treating. If it's still cold both outside and inside the bin, it may be in your best interest to hold off.
- Fill Capacity - Seed treating is not something you want to do at 70-100% capacity. If there is too much grain being treated at once, there's not sufficient room for the grain to move around and spread the seed treatment. Likewise, if there's not enough seed in the treater (10-40% capacity), you won't get good seed to seed contact which will also result in poor coverage. Shooting for the 50-65% capacity is the sweet spot for treating.
At the end, your seed should be evenly covered and a light red/pink colour. For reference, the first image is barley treated with Raxil Pro under the correct conditions. The second image is untreated.
Day 2 - Flea Beetles
Even with an added insecticide seed treatment however, it doesn't mean the crop is invincible. It’s still important to scout for flea beetles from the cotyledon to four leaf stage. The best conditions for flea beetle feeding is when the weather is warm and dry. When 25% leaf area damage has occurred, it's time to apply an insecticide. Circumstances where spraying may be warranted prior to 25% leaf damage are when conditions are windy/cool and the flea beetles have been feeding on the stems. If you know fields have been an issue in the past, you may want to consider an added insecticide seed treatment.
Come spring if you need help checking a few fields for flea beetles or aren't quite sure if they've reached the economic threshold, your HFL agronomist will be more than happy to come take a look!
Day 1 - Canola Seed Selection
- Disease resistance is a big one. Many of the varieties now have resistance to clubroot, sclerotinia, and blackleg to some degree, which is especially important if canola is grown in a tight rotation.
- Another factor to consider is days to maturity. It’s often best to grow some earlier maturing varieties along with some mid maturing varieties in our growing zone. This helps split up the work load in the fall.
- “Pod Shatter” or harvest max traits are important particularly if you're is looking to do some straight cutting. You can also benefit by swathing these varieties later than normal. This in turn can also split up a the harvest workload.
- Most importantly you'll need to decide on the herbicide tolerance system, be it Roundup Ready, Liberty Link, or Clearfield. Particularly in a tight rotation it is important to change things up to avoid herbicide resistance and clean up the volunteers.
By rating and prioritizing each of the traits listed above, your HFL agronomist help you narrow in on a few varieties that would be the best agronomic and economic fit for your farm!