Seeding Winter Wheat? There’s Lots of Good Information on Crop Chatter!

With canola coming off in Manitoba, now is the time of year where producers are making plans to seed winter wheat.  There have been numerous posts on Crop Chatter regarding winter wheat production over the past year and I’ve summarized the most relevant ones to seeding below:

Another excellent source of information is the Western Winter Wheat Initiative website at: http://www.growwinterwheat.ca/. The Western Winter Wheat Initiative is a collaboration between Bayer Crop Science, The Mosaic Company Foundation, Richardson International, and Ducks Unlimited. It provides information and support in agronomy, products, and grain marketing to ensure winter wheat is a crop that is sustainable and profitable for farmers.  So check it out!

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture
Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture

 

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Top Winter Wheat Varieties in Manitoba – 2016

In 2016, there was approximately 134,000 acres of commercial winter wheat seeded in the fall of 2015 in Manitoba, as reported by producers for AgriInsurance purposes (acres do not include pedigree or organic production). This is down slightly from the 159,000 acres of winter wheat seeded the previous fall of 2014.

The variety Emerson, at 64.7% of Manitoba’s commercial winter wheat acreage, was the most popular variety grown in Manitoba in 2016 (compared to 54.2% in 2015 when it also the most popular).  Emerson was first released to producers in the fall of 2014 and is the first winter wheat variety with a Resistant (R) rating to fusarium head blight.

CDC Falcon remains in the second spot in 2016 at 12.4%, down from 2015 (20.7%). In third spot is AAC Gateway at 10.1%, which is a newer variety developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Lethbridge Research and Development Centre.  It is a shorter-statured variety, with good straw strength, good yield potential, and higher protein content. AAC Gateway belongs to the Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) class.

Rounding out the top 5 include CDC Buteo at 5.5% and Flourish at 2.3%.  The top five varieties were grown on 95% of winter wheat acres in Manitoba. The remaining 5% of acres were seeded to 8 other winter wheat varieties.

Approximately 85% of commercial winter wheat acres were seeded to varieties belonging to the CWRW class, with the remaining acreage seeded to varieties of the new Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP) class. The CWSP class is a new class created by the Canadian Grain Commission (CGC) as of August 1, 2016 (https://www.grainscanada.gc.ca/consultations/2015/classes-en.htm).

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Source: http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/sar_varieties_2016.pdf

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Provincial 5-Year Average Yields for Cereal Crops in Manitoba

As Harvest 2016 progresses, there is always the question “How will this year’s yields compare to what producers typically see, i.e. average yields?”

If we use yield data reported by producers to Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation (MASC)  over the last 5-year period (2011 to 2015), average cereal crop yields are as follows:

  • red spring wheat – 51 bushels per acre
  • feed wheat – 68 bushels per acre
  • CPS wheat – 48 bushels per acre
  • barley – 64 bushels per acre
  • oats – 91 bushels per acre
  • winter wheat – 63 bushels per acre
  • fall rye – 44 bushels per acre

Note: varieties insured as feed wheat can belong to a number of wheat classes, including Canada Western Soft White Spring (CWSWS), Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP) and Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR), as well as unregistered varieties.

So far in 2016, yields for cereal crops are ranging from average to above the 5-year average.  However, there is variability noted across the province, largely due to the amount of precipitation received over the growing season.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Data source:  http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/mmpp_browser_variety.html

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture

 

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Manitoba Barley Acres & Top Varieties in 2016

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In 2016, there was approximately 352,000 acres of commercial barley seeded in Manitoba, as reported by producers for AgriInsurance purposes (acres do not include pedigree or organic production), down from 383,500 acres in 2015.

The variety CDC Austenson, at 21.8% of Manitoba’s commercial barley acreage, was the most popular variety grown in Manitoba in 2016.  It was the second most popular variety in 2015 (16.6%). CDC Austenson is a 2-row feed type that was registered in 2008. It was developed by the Crop Development Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, with SeCan being the distributor.

CONLON, a 2-row feed type, is in second spot in 2016 at 19.5%; CONLON had been the most popular variety based on market share since 2004 in Manitoba and was grown on 24.4% of commercial barley acres in 2015. In third spot is Celebration at 9.3%, a 6-row malting variety. Fourth and fifth place are AAC Synergy at 9.1% and AC Metcalfe (2 row-malting) at 7.3%.  AAC Synergy is a newer 2-row malting variety developed by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada – Brandon Research & Development Centre and distributed by Syngenta Seeds Canada Ltd. It is shorter-statured variety with good straw strength and good disease package. The top five varieties were grown on 67% of barley acres in Manitoba.

Rounding out the top ten are the varieties Newdale (2-row, malting), CDC Copeland (2-row, malting), Tradition (6-row, malting), Champion (2-row, feed), and Bentley (2-row, malting).  The top 10 varieties together were grown on 91.3% of barley acres in Manitoba. The remaining 8.7% of acres were seeded to 32 other barley varieties.

In 2016, acreage devoted to the feed/food, malting and hulless categories were 49.9%, 50.1% and 0.04%, respectively. By comparison, in 2015 52.5% of acres were grown to feed/food varieties, 47.3% to malting varieties, and 0.2% to hulless varieties.

When looking at the feed/food category in 2016, majority of acres were seeded to 2-row varieties (98.5%) compared to 6-row varieties (1.5%). This trend is consistent from 2015 where 97.1% of acres were grown to 2-row and 2.9% to 6-row varieties.

In the malting barley category in 2016, 66.5% of acres were seeded to 2-row varieties (59.8% in 2015) compared to 33.5% to 6-row varieties (40.2% in 2015).

Overall in Manitoba, 2-row barley varieties were grown on 82.4% of acres in 2016 (compared to 79.5% in 2015), with the remaining 17.6% grown to 6-row varieties (20.5% in 2015).

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Source: http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/sar_varieties_2016.pdf

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Acreage Seeded to the Various Wheat Classes in Manitoba – 2016

In 2016, there was approximately 2.8 million acres of wheat seeded in Manitoba, as reported by producers for AgriInsurance purposes (pedigree and organic production not included), down from 3.0 million acres in 2015.

The Canada Western Red Spring (CWRS) class remains the largest class of wheat grown in Manitoba.  In 2016, 79.3% of provincial acreage devoted to wheat production is sown to CWRS varieties.  This is down slightly from 86.0% in 2015.

The new wheat class Canada Northern Hard Red (CNHR) is the second largest class of wheat in Manitoba at 12.1% of the total wheat acreage. The class currently includes three varieties: Faller, Prosper and Elgin ND. This class of wheat grew as 7.8% of the total wheat acres were grown to those three varieties in 2015.

Winter wheat, which includes varieties belonging to the Canada Western Red Winter (CWRW) class, and the new Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP) class, is the third largest category at 4.9% of total wheat acres, down from 5.3% in 2015.  Keep in mind for winter wheat, the number of acres represents what was seeded in the previous fall and does not reflect the number of acres remaining after winter injury or winterkill.

Combined, CWRS, CNHR and winter wheat account for 96.3% of total wheat acres in Manitoba in 2016 (compared to 96.1% in 2015).

The remaining 3.7% of wheat acres in 2016 are comprised of the smaller classes of wheat, including Canada Western Hard White Spring (CWHWS), Canada Western Amber Durum (CWAD), Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP – spring varieties only), Canada Western Soft White Spring (CWSWS), Canada Prairie Spring Red (CPSR) and unregistered spring wheat varieties. There was a substantial increase in CPSR acres – approximately 59,400 acres in 2016 compared to 3900 acres in 2015. However, the other smaller classes of wheat saw decreases in 2016 acreage from 2015.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Source: http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/sar_varieties_2016.pdf

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Top Red Spring Wheat Varieties in Manitoba – 2016

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AAC Brandon at Portage la Prairie, MB (2016). Photo by P. de Rocquigny

In 2016, there was approximately 2.2 million acres of commercial red spring wheat seeded in Manitoba, as reported by producers for AgriInsurance purposes (acres do not include pedigree or organic production).

The variety AAC Brandon, at 37.9% of Manitoba’s commercial red spring wheat acreage, was the most popular variety grown in Manitoba in 2016.  It was the fourth most popular variety in 2015 (10.4%).  AAC Brandon was first released commercially in 2015. AAC Brandon is an awned semi-dwarf variety with strong straw, good yield potential, resistant (R) to both stem and leaf rust, and has a moderately resistant (MR) rating to fusarium head blight and stripe rust.  It was developed by AAFC – Swift Current and is distributed by SeCan.

Cardale remains in second spot at 17.1% of acres, compared to 2015 where it was grown on 20.7% of acres. In third spot is Carberry at 10.2%, and rounding out the top 5 include Glenn at 7.1% and Harvest at 5.8%.  Harvest has consistently placed in the top 5 of most popular CWRS varieties in Manitoba over the past few years, showing its popularity with producers.  However, Harvest is one of the 25 CWRS varieties being reclassified to the Canada Northern Hard Red (CHHR) class by the Canadian Grain Commission effective August 1, 2018.

Rounding out the top ten are the varieties AAC Elie, CDC Plentiful, AC Domain, Muchmore, and CDC Stanley.  The top 10 varieties together were grown on 91.8% of red spring wheat acres in Manitoba. The remaining 8.2% of acres were seeded to 43 other red spring wheat varieties, many of those newer varieties gaining in acres.

Other popular varieties, based on total acres grown, include Faller and Prosper, which belong to the new Canadian Northern Hard Red (CNHR) class. AAC Penhold, a CPSR variety, is also gaining market share in Manitoba.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Source: http://www.mmpp.com/mmpp.nsf/sar_varieties_2016.pdf

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How Many Days Until My Grain Corn Reaches Maturity?

The 2016 season has seen normal to above normal accumulation of corn heat units (CHU), with a range of 95 to 117% of normal from May 1st to August 14th: Percent of Normal Accumulated Corn Heat Units. So as we inch closer to September, producers start to wonder when their grain corn may reach physiological maturity (R6).  At this stage, kernels have reached maximum dry matter accumulation and kernel moisture can range between 30 to 35% (but can vary by hybrid and environment).  But more importantly, at physiological maturity the grain corn crop will be safe from a killing frost.

The following table was modified slightly from the original table found in NDSU’s Crop & Pest Report August 8, 2013.  The table relates calendar days to corn kernel development and yield in general terms.

Table 1: Relationship between corn growth stages and calendar days to maturity, yield loss, and other kernel characteristics

Days to Maturity Grain Corn

Source: NDSU Crop & Pest Report – August 8, 2013

The ranges listed are fairly large in order to take into account variances in temperature (climate) and the relative maturities of the hybrids grown (genetics).   It is also important to remember that the various plant stages and the duration of those stages can also be influenced by soil fertility, cultural practices (plant populations) and water availability (dry conditions can hasten maturity).

Source:  NDSU Crop & Pest Report August 8, 2013 http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cpr/plant-science/characteristics-of-late-maturing-corn-08-08-13

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture

 

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Northern Corn Rootworm – Additional Established Populations Found in Manitoba

Established populations of Northern Corn Rootworm have been found in additional locations, as reported in the most recent Manitoba Insect & Disease Update – August 17, 2016.  The following is provided by John Gavloski, Provincial Entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture.

When corn is grown in the same field for several years in a row, it becomes more susceptible to various potential pests. One such pest is northern corn rootworm (Diabrotica barberi). Until last year only the occasional specimen of northern corn rootworm had been found in Manitoba, and not at levels that appeared to be an established population in a corn field. Last year we did find a well established population in a field in the Souris area. This year we are looking more intensively for them, and have found established populations in corn fields near Morden and Winkler. All fields where they have been found so far have had a long history of consecutive corn being grown in the same field.

This time of year you will see the adult beetles (Figure 1), often on the silks of the corn plants. These adult beetles are generally not of concern, and will lay eggs in the soil of the corn field they are in. When larvae hatch from these eggs the next spring, if there is corn in the field again they will feed on the corn roots. If corn is not in the field they will starve to death. Thus crop rotation is the easiest and cheapest way of dealing with them.

northern-corn-rootworm-on-corn

Figure 1. Northern Corn Rootworm

If anyone finds corn rootworm on their corn, or insects they think may be corn rootworm, we are trying to verify the range of this insect in Manitoba. So samples would be welcome and can be sent to John Gavloski, Manitoba Agriculture, Box 1149, 65-3rd Ave. NE, Carman, MB, R0G 0J0.

Visit the Insect Pages of Manitoba Agriculture’s website at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/insects/index.html

 

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Book Enough Winter Wheat Seed to Hit Your Target Plant Stand!

It’s that time of year when producers are booking their winter wheat seed. To order enough seed, you’ll need to know how much is needed for the acres you have planned – and you can go one step further than using the ‘rule of thumb’ of 2 to 2.5 bushels per acre.  To calculate seeding rate and how much seed is needed, the following critical pieces of information are required.

Target Plant Stand. For winter wheat, producers should be aiming for a target plant stand of 30 plants per square foot in the fall. In the spring, it is hoped established plant stand will be 25 plants per square foot to maximize yield potential and increase crop competitiveness.

Thousand Kernel Weight (TKW). TKW is what it sounds like – the average weight in grams of a 1000 kernels. There is variability between winter wheat varieties commonly grown in Manitoba. If looking at registration data, varieties such as Emerson or CDC Falcon had TKWs around 29 to 30 grams, while varieties such as AAC Gateway had a TKW of 32 grams and AAC Elevate had a larger seed size of 36 grams per 1000 kernels. Remember TKW can change yearly based on growing conditions – just because your chosen winter wheat variety was 32 grams in 2015 does not mean that it will be the same in 2016.

Expected Seedling Survival Rate. Expected seedling survival rate is the percent germination less an amount for seedling mortality.

The percent germination will of course be available from your seed retailer if you are booking certified seed. If considering using farm-saved seed, also be sure to test – and make sure a test is done after seed cleaning and at an accredited lab (and no…..kernels on a wet paper towel on a windowsill is not a germination test!!). Since most germination tests are relatively inexpensive, it is a small price to pay. And while you are having percent germination done, get the TKW as well.

The other factor of expected seedling survival rate is seedling mortality, i.e. what percent of viable seed will germinate but not produce a plant. I wrote a Crop Chatter post on April 26th asking readers if they’d considered their seedling mortality. The focus was on spring cereals, but the same principles apply to winter wheat as well. Seedling mortality can vary greatly from year to year, and field to field. For spring cereals, seedling mortality rates can range from 5 to 20%.  However, for winter wheat a seedling mortality rate on the higher end of the range should be used to take into account winter survival.

The Western Winter Wheat Initiative (www.growwinterwheat.ca) suggests using an expected seedling survival rate of 70%, which takes into account germination, emergence rate and the impact of winter survival.

So obtaining the above information may not be as easy as using a bushel per acre seeding rate. However, taking those extra steps will help ensure you are hitting your target plant stand – one of the first steps in setting your 2017 winter wheat crop up for success.

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

For more information on winter wheat production, visit Manitoba Agriculture’s website at http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/production/winter-wheat.html

 

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Corn Cobs in Tassels – What is the Cause?

Updated from a Crop Chatter post made August 2012

In talking with Morgan Cott, Agronomist with the Manitoba Corn Growers Association, producers are reporting seeing corn cobs in the tassel of plants. Although relatively uncommon, this phenomenon called ‘tassel-ear’ is reported almost every year.  A tassel-ear is very noticeable in the field and is often found on tillers of a corn plant along the edges of a field or in areas of low plant populations. Although it is uncommon to find tassel-ears that develop on the main stalk of a corn plant, it can happen.

Tassel Ear (P.de Rocquigny, 2015)

Tassel-Ear in Corn (Photo by P. de Rocquigny, 2015)

So How Do Tassel Ears Happen? A corn plant has a monoecious flowering habit where the plant has both male and female flowers.  What many may not know is that both flowers are initially bisexual.  During the course of development the female components (gynoecia) of the male flowers and the male components (stamens) of the female flowers abort, resulting in tassel (male) and ear (female) development.

Now every once in a while, the upper flower that typically becomes a tassel instead forms a combination of male and female floral parts on the same reproductive structure. The physiological basis for the survival of the female floral parts on the tassel is likely hormonal, but the environmental “trigger” that alters the hormonal balance is not known.

It has been noted that can be varietal differences where different hybrids produce ears in the tassel and is linked to a particular set of genetics. Ear development in the tassel may also occur when the plant sustains hail or mechanical damage early in its development.  Pollen shed would not have been affected, nor will yields be decreased as a result of this phenomenon.

Submitted by Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

For more information on the production and management of corn, please visit Manitoba Agriculture’s website at:  http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/specialcrops/bii01s01.html

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Preventing Stored Grain Insects at Harvest Time

#Harvest16 is here and a below is a quick review (from the most recent Manitoba Disease & Insect Update – August 10, 2016) of preventing stored grain insects from John Gavloski, Provincial Entomologist with Manitoba Agriculture.

Preventing stored grain insects: A reminder before moving and storing new grain to clean old grain out of bins, augers, combines, truck beds, and other areas where grain or grain debris may be. Infestations of stored grain insects such as rusty grain beetles usually do not get started by harvesting the insects along with the grain. They are often the result of insects already being present in bins or equipment used to move grain, or insects being able to get into the stored grain through openings in bins or storage structures. Figure 1 (below) is a picture of a sawtoothed grain beetle (top right), red flour beetle (bottom left), and rusty grain beetle (bottom right) with a grain of wheat (top left) to give perspective on size.

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Figure 1. Some beetles that may occur in stored grain.

Some insects in stored grain, such as the rusty grain beetle, will feed primarily on the grain, while others, such as foreign grain beetle, may be feeding primarily on molds growing on grain that is too moist. So it is good to know the species you are dealing with as management options may differ. Additional information on identifying and managing insects on stored grain can be found at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/insects/prevention-and-management-of-insects-and-mites-in-farm-stored-grain.html

For long-term storage of grain, lowering the grain temperature below 15C as soon as possible after the grain is placed in storage can help minimize the risk of stored grain insects. Below 15C potential insect pests of stored grain stop laying eggs and development stops. Grain that is not aerated or moved after harvest can often remain warm enough for insects to survive the winter.

Following proper storage recommendations is also a key component in Cereals Canada’s Keep It Clean initiative. More information is available at http://www.cerealscanada.ca/keep-it-clean/

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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Why am I seeing Tillers in my Corn?

I have been receiving a few calls over the season regarding tillering in corn. So I figured a Crop Chatter post based on an article I wrote back in 2005 would be good to answer some questions. Is it only due to plant populations? What could be other causes? What effect will tillering have on crop growth and yield potential?

What are Tillers? And What Causes Them?  Tillers are lateral branches that form at below ground nodes. Although tiller buds form at each below ground node, the number of tillers that develop is determined by plant population and spacing, soil fertility, early season growing conditions, and the genetic background of the hybrid.

  • Plant Population: Many hybrids will take advantage of available soil nutrients and moisture by forming one or more tillers where stands are thin in the row or at the ends of rows. However, excessive tillering may indicate problems with stand density and distribution. If tillering is associated with row gaps and less than optimal plant populations, these are the conditions which need to be corrected to ensure optimal yields.
  • Soil Fertility: Tillers are most likely to develop when soil fertility and moisture supplies are ample during the first few weeks of the growing season. They are usually visible by the 6-leaf stage of development.
  • Genetics: Hybrids with a strong tillering trait may form one or more tillers on every plant even at relatively high populations if the environment is favorable early in the growing season. If a particular hybrid shows excellent yield potential and also produces extensive tillering under some growing conditions, it should not be avoided.
  • Weather Conditions: Hail, frost, and flooding injury that destroy or damage the growing point early in the growing season can also result in tiller development and non-productive plants.

What is the Effect on Yield Potential? When farmers see extensive tillering in their corn hybrids, they often express concern that the tillering will have a detrimental effect of crop performance (that the tillers will “suck” nutrients from the main plant and thereby reduce yields). As a result, tillers are often referred to a “suckers”. However, research has shown that tillers usually have little influence on grain yields and what effects they do have are generally beneficial. Recent studies have found that there is little movement of plant sugars between the main plant and tillers before tasselling.

After silking and during grain fill, substantial amounts of plant sugars may move from earless tillers to ears on the main plant. When there are ears on both the tiller (often called ‘tassel-ears’) and the main plant, little movement of plant sugars occurs. The main plant and tillers act independently, each receiving sugars from their own leaves. The ‘tassel-ears’ that tillers may produce, therefore have no impact on the ear development of the main plant as was once thought and don’t contribute to yield.

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture
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Late Season Crown Rust & Stem Rust in Oats

On a recent tour of the MCVET Portage la Prairie site,  I found both stem and crown rust present. Here is a quick refresher on the differences between stem rust and crown rust in oats.

Stem rust
Stem rust is caused by the fungus Puccinia graminis f.sp. avenae.  Symptoms include dusty, raised reddish-brown, oblong spots on the stems (see Figure 1), but can appears on leaves (see Figure 2). When developed, spots will rupture through the surface, releasing spores into the air. The surface of the tissue appears ragged and torn.

Stem Rust in 2016 MCVET Oat Trial - Portage

Figure 1: Stem Rust in Oats at MCVET Portage la Prairie Site (Photo by: P. de Rocquigny, 2016)

 

Stem Rust Symptoms on Leaves of Oats at Portage la Prairie MCVET Site (Photo by P. de Rocquigny, 2016)

Stem Rust Symptoms on Leaves of Oats at Portage la Prairie MCVET Site (Photo by P. de Rocquigny, 2016)

Crown rust
Crown rust is caused by the fungus Puccinia coronata f.sp avenae. The characteristic symptom is the development of small, scattered, oval-to-oblong, bright orange-yellow pustules (uredinia) on the upper and lower surfaces of leaves (see Figure 3). The powdery spore masses in the pustules are readily dislodged.  The number and size of the crown rust uredia vary greatly, depending on the susceptibility of the oat variety and the severity of infection. Crown rust is distinguished from stem rust of oats by the bright, orange-yellow color, the smaller size of the pustules, plus the lack of conspicuous, jagged fragments of oat epidermis adhering to the sides and ends of the pustules.

Crown Rust in 2016 MCVET Oat Portage

Figure 3: Crown Rust in Oats at MCVET Portage la Prairie Site (Photo by P. de Rocquigny, 2016)

As the oat plants begin to ripen, the black overwintering spores (teliospores) are formed (Figure 4). These spores also may form earlier in the season during periods of adverse weather, such as extreme drought, excessive moisture, or very high temperatures.

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Figure 4: Crown Rust in Oats at MCVET Portage la Prairie Site (Photo by P. de Rocquigny, 2016)

There isn’t much to be done at this stage of the growing season if either rust is found.  However, in future growing seasons control options would include planting resistant varieties, seeding early if possible, and application of fungicides.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Source: Crown Rust of Oats: http://ipm.illinois.edu/diseases/series100/rpd109/
Rust Diseases in Canada: http://prairiesoilsandcrops.ca/articles/volume-4-10-screen.pdf

For additional information, visit Manitoba Agriculture’s website:

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Estimating Harvest Losses in Cereals – Don’t Just Rely on the Grain Loss Monitor!

UPDATED FROM ARTICLE POSTED ON AUGUST 12, 2015

Winter wheat and fall rye harvest is underway in Manitoba. Since final yields aren’t determined until the crop is in the bin, attention now has to be focused on the harvest operation. Grain loss at harvesting time is a direct loss of income. The more grain saved, the greater the returns. The following information comes from 2 articles: ‘Grain Harvest Losses’ by V. Hofman with edits by Dr. J Wiersma & T. Allrich (University of Minnesota) and ‘Estimating Harvest Loss’ by G. Carlson & D. Clay (South Dakota State University).

Grain harvest losses result from shattering of the standing grain, shattering during windrowing (swathing) or direct combining, picking up the swath with the combine, and threshing, separating and cleaning within the combine. Estimates of acceptable losses for small grains such as wheat, barley and oats are placed at 3% of total yield (total yield equals harvested yield plus harvest losses).

It is usually very difficult to reduce total losses below 1 to 2% so the operator must decide on the value of the crop, the cost of combining and the time available for combining or climate conditions. Some harvest loss is unavoidable in order to get harvesting done in the time available with an end goal of cleaned harvested grain.

Estimating Harvest Losses.  Advancements in engineering have greatly improved harvest operations. Combines have various types of monitoring equipment available, including grain loss monitors, to help alert the operator to any potential problems.  A grain loss monitor is a good guide in selecting travel speed for varying conditions such as size of windrow and moisture conditions. A grain loss monitor must be calibrated to provide an acceptable grain loss reading. If the combine is used on different crops, the monitors are not only useful in limiting maximum speeds and losses, but can be used to properly feed the combine for optimum capacity.

However, a grain loss monitor is not a substitute for careful machine adjustments and good old fashioned monitoring, i.e. getting out of the combine to estimate losses. Or even better, when your local retail agronomist comes out with cold beverages, put him/her to work to estimate harvest losses.

A simple and rough estimate of grain loss requires the use of a one-foot square frame. A rough estimate of how much grain is left behind in a harvested field can be done with a few simple steps:

  1. Pick a typical area of the field after the combine has passed.
  2. Place a 1 ft by 1 ft (inside dimension) box on the ground and count the kernels found within the box. To improve accuracy, three counts (one behind the left side of the header, one behind the centre of the combine, and one behind the right side of the combine) are better.
  3. A one (1) bushel per acre loss equates to 20 wheat kernels/ft2, 14 barley kernels/ft2 and 10 oat kernels/ft2. Keep in mind that this is a ‘fudge factor’ but for the purpose of rough field estimation is an adequate estimate. There are more accurate ways to estimate harvest losses which take into consideration the width of windrower cut and combine cylinder.

If losses are on the high end, some investigation is warranted to try and identify the source of loss.  Is the crop shattering prior to the arrival of the combine (to check for losses that occurred prior to the arrival of the combine, i.e. shattering, use the method above in the unharvested areas of the field)? Are there header losses? Or are the losses due to less than perfect threshing/separation of grain within the combine?  Finding the answer may help to adjust the harvest operation and maximize the amount of grain going into the bin!

Good luck with #Harvest16!

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture
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Wheat Class Modernization – Changes Coming August 1, 2016

Over the past few weeks, I have spoken at a couple of crop tours.  When presenting in front of the MCVET spring wheat trials, one of the questions I asked attendees was “Who knows what is occurring on August 1, 2016?”.

The answer is the first steps of the Wheat Class Modernization by the Canadian Grain Commission. On August 1, 2016 there are 2 new classes being created: Canadian Northern Hard Red (CNHR) and Canada Western Special Purpose (CWSP).  There are many varieties moving to these 2 new classes.  Primary grade determinant tables will also come into effect August 1, 2016 and are available here:

There are also three wheat classes being eliminated on August 1, 2016:

  • Canada Western Interim Wheat (CWIW);
  • Canada Western General Purpose (CWGP); and
  • Canada Western Feed classes.

My colleague in Saskatchewan, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist Mitchell Japp, wrote an article Wheat Class Modernizing Starts August 1, 2016.  It is a must read and covers the changes coming August 1, 2016, and includes important links to additional information.

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Manitoba Agriculture website: www.manitoba.ca/agriculture
Manitoba Agriculture on Twitter: @MBGovAg
Manitoba Agriculture on YouTube: www.youtube.com/ManitobaAgriculture
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HERBICIDE OPTIONS FOR PRE-HARVEST MANAGEMENT – KNOW THE DIFFERENCES!

Harvest 2016 is here as winter wheat and fall rye harvest has started in some areas of Manitoba. With favourable weather, crops are advancing quickly so now is a good time for a refresher on pre-harvest management!

As agronomists and producers, there are a few distinctions you need to be aware of between the pre-harvest herbicide products that are available for pre-harvest management. When done correctly, a pre-harvest application can provide a number of benefits including maximizing yield and quality, allow for direct combining of standing crops, perennial weed control and managing weed escapes from the growing season, and can speed up harvest timing.

However, it is critical to know the differences between the herbicide options to manage product expectations, and to ensure application is done correctly to make your crop export ready! The following are some key points to remember when considering your pre-harvest management.

  • The most commonly used active ingredients used for pre-harvest management are glyphosate, diquat (ex. Reglone), saflufenacil (ex. Heat), carfentrazone (ex. Aim) and flumioxazin (ex. Valtera). There are also products that are pre-packaged mixes of active ingredients (ex. CleanStart with glyphosate and carfentrazone).
  • Products such as Reglone or Heat are desiccants. GLYPHOSATE IS NOT A DESICCANT. Desiccants and glyphosate work very differently, usually require different application timings and parameters, and provide different benefits.
  • Desiccants that contain diquat (e.g. Reglone, etc.) have been registered the longest in many crops and are the gold standard to which all other desiccants are compared. Diquat rapidly dries down green plant material, with desiccation typically occurring within hours to a few days. In fact, diquat fast acting nature sometimes works against itself, by limiting uptake by drying plant material, which is why the labels recommends applying these products at dusk or on cloudy days.
  • Newer desiccants, such as Aim, Heat and Valtera, also result in the dry down of green plant material. Research has shown that Heat and Valtera are often just as or more effective than diquat for desiccating crops, and usually only take slightly longer to do so. Aim, on the other hand, is relatively slow acting, which makes it an ideal partner for glyphosate. And research has shown a synergistic effect when Aim and glyphosate are tank mixed (i.e. CleanStart), something not seen with other desiccants. Opposite to diquat, these desiccants are best applied on sunny, warm days.
  • Coverage is important for these contact products, so be sure to keep water volumes up!
  • GLYPHOSATE IS NOT A DESICCANT but can enhance dry down of crops. Research has shown that, compared with untreated crop, glyphosate can improve crop dry down after 7 to 14 days (depending on the weather). But glyphosate typically does not dry down crops as consistently or to the same extent as the true desiccants.
  • However, glyphosate is a popular pre-harvest choice for many growers since, as the only systemic, is provides control/suppression of weeds, including winter annuals and perennials. Desiccants will also dry down green weeds, but only provide top growth control.
  • Proper application timing is critical regardless of the product used. Always refer to and follow the product label for the correct timing and rates. Remember, desiccants or glyphosate neither bring about nor speed up crop maturity. However, it can decrease the time between when the crop has reached maturity and when the crop is harvested.
  • Proper application timing is especially important for glyphosate. When applied too early, glyphosate residues could accumulate in the grain and may exceed Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs) of important export countries.
  • Residues for the contact products (diquat, Aim, Heat and Valtera) are usually very low because of their contact nature. But that doesn’t mean that these products are without MRL concerns since, in many cases, residues tolerances can be exceeded simply because an MRL has not been established in all markets.
  • Cereals Canada, Canola Council of Canada and Pulse Canada have information available through their “Keep it Clean” initiatives. Please refer to the following websites for additional information for meeting export standards, why MRLs matter, pre-harvest interval information, and herbicides that should not be used.

Submitted by: Jeanette Gaultier, Provincial Weed Specialist, and Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

Herbicide options for use as a harvest aid or desiccant before crop harvest are listed on Page 63 of the 2016 Guide to Field Crop Protection: https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/guides-and-publications/#gfcp

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STAGE CEREAL CROPS CORRECTLY FOR A PREHARVEST GLYPHOSATE APPLICATION

Modified from Post Originally Published July 30, 2014

Staging a crop for preharvest glyphosate application for perennial weed control can be difficult when there is variability of crop staging within the targeted field.  As well, kernels in the same spike will reach physiological maturity at different times, with the middle of the head maturing first. To go back to the basics, for wheat you want to apply the preharvest glyphosate when grain moisture of the wheat crop is less than 30%.  In terms of visual assessment, the wheat crop must be in the hard dough stage.  This is when the kernel has become firm and hard and a thumbnail impression remains on the seed (see Figure 1).  Remember….you can’t rely on the color of the field as an indicator.  Walk the field and hand thresh heads to determine kernel staging.

Figure 1:  Kernels at various times during grain filling: a) kernel at watery ripe, b) kernel at late milk, c) kernel at soft dough, d) kernel at hard dough showing loss of green color, and e) kernel ripe for harvest.

Source:  Growth and development guide for spring wheat. 1995.  S.R. Simmons, E.A. Oekle & P.M. Anderson.  Photographer:  Dave Hansen.

 

Another visual indicator for wheat is a change in color of the peduncle, which is the part of the stem located just below the head.  It will have turned very light green or yellow at physiological maturity (Figure 2).

wheat_spikes
Source: Topics Addressing Small Grain Crop Dry-down and Harvest . 2015. Jochum Wiersma, Small Grains Specialist; Doug Holen, Crops Extension Educator and Phyllis Bongard, Educational Development and Communications Specialist

 

So what is special about this 30% moisture content?  At the end of the hard dough stage, the kernel has reached its maximum dry weight and the wheat is therefore physiologically mature, i.e. no more weight is added to the grain.  Therefore, final yield has been determined.

If application of a preharvest glyphosate occurs prior to the 30% moisture content, yield can be reduced, along with quality factors such as test weightIn addition, early application prior to the recommended timing may result in grain with glyphosate levels above maximum residue limits.  This could have implications depending upon target market.

So in timing an application on a variable field, this will be difficult but remember its likely better to apply on the later side than too early.  Also remember that depending on weather conditions, glyphosate can take up to 2 weeks for optimal weed control. However, under hot, dry conditions harvest could commence is as little as 7 days after application.  So keep harvest timing and weather forecasts in mind as well when planning your preharvest application.

Notes: Do not apply to wheat, or any crops, grown for seed.  Not all glyphosate products are registered for preharvest application on all crop species – always refer to individual crop labels for a list of registered uses and crop species. Check with malt barley or milling oat buyers prior to application to confirm acceptance of glyphosate-treated grain.

Following label instructions and keeping in mind pre-harvest intervals are also key component in Cereals Canada’s Keep It Clean initiative. More information is available at http://www.cerealscanada.ca/keep-it-clean/

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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Should I Spray my Sunflowers for Sclerotinia Headrot?

Sclerotinia in sunflowers can be frustrating and devastating, especially in the form of headrot. Headrot is very weather related. It needs rainfall to wet soils stimulate sclerotia to produce apothecia mushrooms and ascopores. Ascospores once on disk petals, need prolonged wetness to allow the infection and growth of the fungus on the petals and spread into the sunflower head tissue.

It takes approximately 14 days after a “ground soaking” rainfall for the mushrooms to appear and produce ascospores.  In 2016, most areas in Manitoba have saturated soils, making an ideal environment for apothecia emergence, which could be the start of the lifecycle to cause sclerotinia head rot in sunflowers.

Weather data can be used in combination with a risk calculator to determine if a fungicide is needed.  You can find the Manitoba Agriculture calculator here http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/business-and-economics/financial-management/pubs/calculator_sclerotiniadecisiontool_sunflowers.xls

It has only been in the past couple of years that sunflower growers have had fungicide registered to control headrot.  With limited use of use, control has been not always been what was expected.  The fungicides available are protectant and work to protect plant when disease infection potential present.  If there was infection prior to application, or, if pressure remains high after application, control may be less than expected.

National Sunflower Association of Canada has put out a bulletin talking about sclerotinia headrot control in sunflowers in 2015 and can be found at http://www.canadasunflower.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Sunflowers-sclerotinia-and-fungicides.pdf

 

Submitted by: Anastasia Kubinec, Manitoba Agriculture, Oilseed Crop Specialist

 

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Ear Damage in Corn – Birds or Ear Rot?

I’ve received a few photos over the last several weeks asking what is causing ear damage in corn (see photos below).  In both cases, the damage is caused by birds feeding on the ears.

DSCN1711

Corn Ear Damage Caused by Birds. 2014. Photo Courtesy of Earl Bargen, Manitoba Agriculture 

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Corn Ear Damage Caused by Birds. 2014. Photo Courtesy of Lionel Kaskiw, Manitoba Agriculture

Typical symptoms include missing or damaged kernels on the cobs.  In the first photo, shredded husks is the key symptom in identifying birds as the culprit.  Secondary damage can result from ear rots as kernels eaten by the birds will often turn brown or black once the ear rots begin infecting the damaged tissue.

Birds, especially large flocks, can cause quite a bit of damage. The most damage occurs along field edges or by wooded areas such as bush, but damage can extend throughout an entire field.  Also, it is also not unusual for birds to prefer one hybrid over another, although the reasons are unclear.  Perhaps it can be attributed to birds being able to detect slight differences in kernel maturity or other kernel characteristics between hybrids.  I have seen this with other animal damage, such as racoons, in hybrid performance trials.  Amazingly, the animal can pick out a hybrid within each replicate of the trial without damaging other hybrids.

Submitted by: Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture

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Winter Wheat Seeding – A History of Crop Chatter Posts

 It is that time of year again where producers are making plans to seed winter wheat.  There have been numerous posts on Crop Chatter regarding winter wheat production over the past year and I’ve summarized the most relevant ones to seeding below:
Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture
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Seeing Purpling Leaves / Stems in Wheat?

At a recent field tour, I was asked to explain why a particular spring wheat plant had a purple stem.

Over the past few years, Manitoba Agriculture’s Crop Diagnostic Lab and the Crop Industry Branch has received samples of wheat plants with a distinct purple coloration on its stems and in other cases, the leaves as well.  Similar symptoms were first reported in 2009 on leaves of KANE wheat (see photo below).  Since 2009, this purpling has been seen sporadically, usually on the leaves, and not only in KANE but also in the varieties of Unity VB, Glenn, AC Barrie, WR859 CL and Carberry.

Purpling of Leaves – cvr KANE
Photo taken by: A. Sirski (2009)

So what is the purpling?  Essentially it is a physiological response of the plant to abnormal stress conditions, such as low temperatures, drought, or a combination of hot and humid weather. Under stressful growing conditions, sugars can build up in the plant.  Within these sugars, there are purple anthocyanin pigments which then produces the color change.

It is also possible other plant parts such as stems (see photo below) and glumes can exhibit this purple coloration and in these cases it is called melanism (see Melanism in Wheat).

Purpling of Stems in Spring Wheat (2016) cropped

Purple Stems in Spring Wheat at MCVET Portage Site (Photo by P. de Rocquigny, 2016)

Purpling of leaves or melanism may be more prevalent in certain varieties as anthocyanin production can be a genetic.  It has been noted in literature the American varieties Amidon and Butte has exhibited this purpling.  Amidon is a parent of the variety McKenzie, which is a parent of KANE.  So this stress response of KANE that we starting seeing in 2009 and 2010 may be traceable back to Amidon.

Is there any impact to yield?  In the United States and here in Manitoba, this purpling has not caused any noticeable yield losses. However, keep in mind there could be other explanations to the color change.  If you think there could be more going on than just a physiological plant response, rule out phosphorous deficiency and viral diseases such as barley yellow dwarf that could also cause purpling of leaves or stems.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture 

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Estimating Grain Corn Yields

The time of year is approaching where yield estimates can be done on grain corn.  Remember that grain corn yield is a function of the number of ears per acre, number of kernels per ear, and the weight per kernel.   Using the yield component method that was developed at the University of Illinois, yields can be estimated as early as the milk stage of development.

Calculating Estimated Grain Corn Yield:

Step 1.  Ear Number  – Using a row length equal to 1/1000th acre (row width 30 ” = 17′ 4″; row width 36 ” = 14′ 6”), count and record the number of ears in the length of row that are harvestable.

Step 2. Average Number of Kernels per Ear – Pick 3 representative ears and record the number of complete kernel rows per ear and average number of kernels per row.  Multiply each ear’s row number by its number of kernels per row to determine total number of kernels for each ear.  Calculate the average number of kernels per ear by summing the values for all the sampled ears and dividing by the number of ears.

Note – Don’t count the extreme butt or tip kernels, but rather begin and end where you perceive there are complete “rings” of kernels around the cob.  Do not count aborted kernels.

Step 3. Estimate yield by multiplying the ear number by the average number of kernels per ear, then dividing the result by 90:  Yield (bu/ac) = (ear number) x (average # of kernels per ear) / 90.

Note:  The value of 90  is a “fudge factor” for kernel weight and it represents the average number of kernels (90,000) in a bushel of corn at 15.5% grain moisture.  If grain fill conditions have been excellent (larger kernels, fewer per bushel), use a lower value (80).  If grain fill conditions have been stressful (smaller kernels, more per bushel), use a larger value (100).

Here’s an example:  Field has 30” rows.  You counted 24 ears (per 17’ 5” length of row).  Sampling three ears resulted in 480, 500 and 450 kernels per each ear, where the average number of kernels per ear would be (480 + 500 + 450) divided by 3 = 477.  The estimated yield for that location in the field would be (24 x 477) / 90, which equals 127 bu/ac.

Remember that yield estimates are only as accurate as the number of samples taken so repeating this exercise in several areas of a field will improve accuracy.  Since corn is in the early grain filling stages, water availability, insects, weeds, diseases, and other factors can still affect seed fill and therefore final yields.  However, as the plant approaches maturity, environmental stresses have less impact on final yield so yield estimates made that are closer to maturity should be more accurate.

Submitted by:  Pam de Rocquigny, Provincial Cereal Crops Specialist, Manitoba Agriculture 

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Why is there a cob in my corn plant tassel?

Although relatively uncommon, this phenomenon is reported almost every year.  As most know, a corn plant has a monoecious flowering habit where the plant has both male and female flowers.  What many may not know is that both flowers are initially bisexual.  During the course of development the female components (gynoecia) of the male flowers and the male components (stamens) of the female flowers abort, resulting in tassel (male) and ear (female) development.

Now every once in a while, the upper flower that typically becomes a tassel instead forms a combination of male and female floral parts on the same reproductive structure. The physiological basis for the survival of the female floral parts on the tassel is likely hormonal, but the environmental “trigger” that alters the hormonal balance is not known.

It has been noted that can be varietal differences where different hybrids produce ears in the tassel and is linked to a particular set of genetics. Ear development in the tassel may also occur when the plant sustains hail or mechanical damage early in its development.  Pollen shed would not have been affected, nor will yields be decreased as a result of this phenomenon.

For more information on the production and management of corn, please visit Manitoba Agriculture’s website at:  http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/specialcrops/bii01s01.html

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