Hello ReaderHeavy rains poured over much my territory dropping between 2 to 6 inches. The western areas have reached field capacity and the forecast is calling for more rain over the next five days. The eastern half of my territory is wet but in fine shape aside from some barley and peas, which are showing signs stress from saturated soils.
Mitch and I finished side-dressing 120 lbs of nitrogen per acre in our wheat and canola. Insert nervous giggle <here>. Crops at the farm are looking very good; the tram lines allow us to continue spraying and side dressing in spite of the wet weather.
This week we’ll discuss the use of fungicide to control blackleg in canola. Next, I’ll discuss some tips on applying copper with fungicides at flag leaf and how to predict flag leaf timing in cereals. We'll briefly look at fungicide options and maximizing fungicide efficacy. I’ll finish with technical grain market news.
Have a great week.
Pictured above: Side-dressing 120 lbs N/ac in canola just prior to bolting, near Morrin, AB.
Crop Staging(Calgary to Drumheller to Three Hills)
Seeded May 1-7 May 8-15 May 15-22
Wheat flag emerging 1st node 5-leaf, 2 tiller
Canola bolting bud stage 6-leaf
Barley flag emerging 2nd node 5 leaf, 3 tiller
Peas start of flower 12th node 10th node
Steve's tips and tricks of the week
Follow me on Twitter for in-season updates @BeyondAgronomy
- Continue post-herbicide checks to make sure herbicides performed well. If not, you have an opportunity to correct the problem with a re-spray.
- If spraying by air, book the plane to get on the list. It’s going to be a busy season.
- Book your fungicides now to make sure you get what you want and not what’s left.
- Time to stage flag leaf emergence so you can prepare for fungicide timing.
- Expect some leaf bronzing in Liberty Link canola from high humidity levels. You may see some phytotoxicity with contact herbicides.
- Check sandy or coarse textured soils for signs of sulphate or nitrate leaching, especially in canola. SL
CTF tour Tuesday, July 15th, 1:00 pmWe're hosting a field day with CTF Alberta Tuesday, July 15th from 1pm - 4pm at our farm NW of Morrin, AB. Please join us!
When: 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Where: One mile west of Morrin, AB on HWY 27 and 1.5 miles north on RR 20-4 (N 51 40.234 and W 112 47.543)
Google map and directions
1:00pm – Sign in
1:30pm – Crop walk and lessons learned after 5 years in CTF – Steve Larocque
2:30pm – CTF systems Q&A with long time CTF farmer Robert Ruwoldt, Vic, Aus
3:30pm – Improving soil quality – Peter Gamache & Roger Andreiuk
4:15pm – Nitrogen side dressing in wheat and canola on narrow rows
5:00pm – Chinwag and refreshments
There is no charge for the event. Refreshments will be provided. Qualifies for three Soil & Water CEUs.
Applying fungicides to control blackleg in canolaThere has been a rise in the number of fields showing blackleg symptoms in canola the last few years. Although we have R rated varieties, tight rotations, sticking to the same varieties combined with wet conditions prior to bolting have put a strain on genetic resistance. That said, what we’ve seen to date have been symptoms, not full blown genetic breakdown of blackleg. With all the hype about spraying fungicides at herbicide timing to control blackleg, I thought bring some perspective on the topic.
If you want to know about blackleg, look to Australia who has suffered serious losses from it for years. I talked to a few of my Aussie colleagues to see what they do to manage blackleg. Here are their comments:
1) Originally, we used to use 400 ml/ha of the active flutrifol. We use it as a seed treatment now with a rate of 200 gai/ha.
2) The only fungicide registered for blackleg suppression in canola is Prosaro (210 g/L) at 400-500 ml/ha.
3) Fungicide applied at 1-2 leaf the again at 4-5 leaf.
In Western Canada, Propiconazole (Bumper, Pivot, Propel, Tilt, Quilt), azoxystrobin (Quilt) and pyraclostrobin (Headline) are registered to control blackleg. However, they only have protectant activity and little to no eradicant activity, so they must be applied before blackleg symptoms are present. Also, research from Ag Canada in Melfort and Scott, SK showed there was little to no reduction in blackleg severity or improved yield when applying a fungicide to R rated varieties. Even on highly susceptible varieties, fungicides only decreased incidence by 20% and severity by 1 point so no significant difference or economical yield benefit. Research by North Dakota University found similar results using fungicides to control blackleg in canola but did find some significant yield increases outside of blackleg control on moderately susceptible varieties.
The likelihood of having significant yield loss in canola from blackleg is extremely low in our environment. The blackleg ascopsores have a very short window to infect canola in our rapid growing environment. Spraying a fungicide to prevent blackleg is likely uneconomical. However, ND State University did find some significant yield gains from the use of a fungicide outside of blackleg control, but only on specific MR rated varieties. With the R rated canola’s I’ve managed to date, I’ve yet to see a response to fungicides at Liberty herbicide timing. SL
Ag Canada research: Smith, E.G., M.L. Favret, S.A. Brandt and H.R. Kutcher. 2008. Economics of Shorting Canola Rotations. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Poster.
ND State University
Photo source: Canola Council of Canada
Applying copper at fungicide timingIn an attempt to manage ergot levels in wheat, we tried an application of copper at flag leaf with fungicide on two farms a few years ago. What we found was zero response to ergot control but a 10% bump in yield and 0.5% increase in protein on both farms. What’s surprising is that both farms would have soil test levels considered high at around 4 ppm in the top 6 inches. Since then, we’ve continued with the copper program at a cost of roughly $3.50/ac but follow some very strict rules.
Here are the rules we follow:
- First: Proceed with caution! Applying copper with fungicides at flag leaf is a risky proposition. Leaf scorch is common when the rules aren’t followed.
- Always spray in the evening and never during the day to avoid severe leaf bronzing or scorch. Even morning can leave droplets on the leaves well into early afternoon under humid conditions, which can burn small pit holes in the leaves when the sun intensifies.
- I don’t like to apply more than 500 ml/ac of a 5% copper solution with fungicides. I’ve used foliar copper products from Omex, ATP Nutrition and Stoller all with success. If you require more than 500 ml/ac of copper split apply at tillering and flag leaf.
- I have only combined copper with triazole fungicides like Prosaro, Folicur or Fuse.
- I steer clear of strobilurin fungicides like Headline, Quilt or Twinline. The strong mobility of strobi fungicides with rapid copper uptake increases the chance of leaf burn from too much product entering the leaf at once. The end result is bronzing or leaf burn.
- I aim for flag leaf timing only and do not apply at heads emerging or emerged. Applying copper to the head so close to flowering can sterilize florets.
- Best time to apply copper as a foliar is from 1st node to flag leaf.
- Foliar copper has improved yield and protein in wheat but it must be approached with utmost caution. Tank mixing fungicides and copper is risky but if you follow the rules you’ll minimize the chance for injury. Good luck! SL
Photo: Bronzing on this crop was caused by Copper and Twinline sprayed in the afternoon. Source: S. Larocque
Predicting flag leaf for fungicide timingIt’s that time of year where fungicide season is just about upon us and we begin stage cereal crops for fungicide timing. In our rapid growing season and short window of application timing, you really want to be 7 to 10 days ahead of the curve so you can give a heads up to your custom applicator or plan how you’re going to manage your own program logistically. So, here are the rules of thumb when timing wheat and barley:
- Pull wheat or barley plant out of the ground
- Tip upside down and find the longest stem, which is the main stem
- Pinch your finger at the base of the stem and pull lightly upwards to feel for nodes.
- If only one node is visible, flag leaf emergence will emerge in roughly 7-10 days
- If the second node is less than half an inch from the soil surface, the flag leaf is 3-4 days from emerging
- If the second node is more than two inches above the soil surface, the flag leaf will be visible
- If only one node is visible, flag leaf emergence will be roughly 10-14 days
- If two nodes are visible, flag leaf emergence will be roughly 5-7 days
- If three nodes are visible, the flag leaf has emerged
Disease yield loss potential and fungicide costsTop 4 diseases in wheat and barley
The following list will give you an idea of yield loss from common wheat and barley diseases along with approximate fungicide costs.
Tan spot: 3% to 15%
Septoria: 1% to 25%
Net blotch: 1% to 40%
Scald: 10% to 50%
Registered fungicides: Approximate pricing
Acapela: (picoxystrobin) 192 ml/ac = $11.30/ac
Bumper/Pivot: (propiconazole) 120 ml/ac = $6.50/ac
Caramba: (metconazole) 280 ml/ac = $11.95/ac (405 ml/ac rate for fusarium)
Folicur EW: (tebuconazole) 200 ml/ac = $14.20/ac
Fuse: (tebuconazole) 118 ml/ac = $14.00/ac
Headline: (pyraclostrobin) 160 ml/ac = $16.10/ac
Prosaro: (tebuconazole + prothioconazole) 320 ml/ac = $18.90/ac
Quilt: (propiconazole + azoxystrobin) 405 ml/ac = $11.50/ac
Tilt: (propiconazole) 202 ml/ac = $7.50/ac
Twinline: (pyraclostrobin + metconazole) 200 ml/ac = $9.50/ac
Top tips for applying fungicides
In order to get the volume, method and speed of fungicide application right for the full benefit of a spray application, consider the following guidelines:
- Have an understanding of how the fungicide you’re going to apply works on the plant. Most fungicides have limited translocation potential or move upwards and outwards only, meaning sprayers need to target the spray to hit the plant exactly where it’s needed. If the source of the infection is lower in the plant, more water may be required if the product has curative properties.
- Ensure adequate volume (e.g. 7.5-10 US/gallons per acre for cereals and 10-15 gallons/US acre for pulses).
- Try to limit application speeds to less than 12mph. Any faster and most of the droplets will hit only one side of the plant.
- Select a nozzle to give medium spray quality. Fine droplets won’t penetrate dense crop canopies and coarse ones may not give enough retention on waxy surfaces or when using an oil-based wetter.
- Select nozzle sizes and volumes that will run the nozzle with adequate pressure (e.g. more than 35 psi for fan type and low drift and more than 50 psi for low-pressure air induction) and don’t use air induction with oil-based products.
- Consider using narrower nozzle spacing such as 10 inches if you can. For those on wider spacing (e.g. 20 inch) twin jets or twin caps may improve coverage but should only be used at ground speeds of up to 10 mph.
- Use the minimum hold setting on the controller to ensure you don’t lose pressure and under-dose or increase droplet size when you slow down at the end of rows.
- Run the controller with total flow (gallons per minute for the whole boom) on the display when spraying and know what the pressure and flow rate should be when delivering the correct number of gallons per acre so that checks can be made as you go. For example, if pressure increases and flow remains the same, check for blockages. If flow increases or pressure drops check for leaks, if flow reduces and pressure stays the same, check that all sections are engaged.
- Wind speeds should always be above 3-4 km/h and less than 20 km/h for in-crop spraying unless the label specifies otherwise.
The charts I use take a short and long term look at whether the market is oversold, neutral or overbought. I use charts as a way to pull the trigger, not to determine the best price.
Canola Nov 14: The long and short term trends are down.
HRS Wheat: Dec 14: The short and long term trends are down.
Corn Dec 13: The short and long term trends are down.
Soybeans: Nov 14: The short and the long term trends are down.
Canadian $: Sept 14: The short term trend is up and the long term trend is down.