Ontario wheat crop conditions fall into a very wide range currently
What could 2750 CHU have to do with wheat at the end of April? Well, in an informal evaluation of wheat stands through Oxford Perth and Middlesex counties APR 25 last week, 2750 chu line is roughly where there is a fairly distinct change in development and appearance of the wheat crop. This was observed in field scouting, and also pretty noticeable to the travelling eye as the various shades of green start to pop out of the landscape. (It is hard, I know, but one must be cautious of doing too much crop-gawking behind the wheel, drive careful my friends). Reports from crop specialists in other areas of the province seem to follow a similar pattern. Photo source: Grain Farmers of Ontario.
2750 CHU Line
To the warmer southern side of the line, there are many reports to the tune of “wheat looks quite good” and emerging “better than expected” from winter stresses. These reports are quickly followed by a fertilizer application and many of these crops now look like they are glowing vibrant healthy green. Full of strong yield potential!! The most advanced crops have grown thick enough to begin showing signs of active Septoria disease developing as well as First Node detectable which were identified by Emma Epp, Cargill Agronomist. Significant regional progress with fertilizer application has been made in these areas.
The story begins to quickly change to cooler northern side of the line. North of 2750chu, the status range is from “Awesome” to “Calling Crop Insurance”. The wheat planted in early portion of the planting window, looks really excellent! The most advanced crops have perhaps reached start of elongation. To Apr 28, Little or No progress has been made with fertilizer application. Wheat planted after Oct 10 last fall seem to be the spots to find the largest potential for poor establishment. In some cases, the wheat planted Oct 20th ballpark had germinated well in fall, looked ok in the row after thaw in February, but now have nearly disintegrated. The April 24 OMAF Mount Forest Breakfast meeting revealed very few damage calls in to Agricorp for winter wheat – we know that number will be higher this week.
The areas with heaviest damage do seem to be isolated to certain counties and conditions, but within those counties impact will be significant. I don’t usually like to make generalizations, but I have to think 6-12% of Ontario acres planted last fall are in real jeopardy of re-plant. (I optimistically wish for fewer!). Snow mould and drowned pockets tend to be isolated and small in size, but very visual.
Mother Nature dealt a very difficult hand to the “later planted wheat” in cooler parts of the province. Late planting opportunity lead to very little root development last fall. The snow cover was good until February thaw, but the frosty dry and frigid duration that followed was extremely tough on the small seedlings.
Take Home 1: It has been stated many times before… The greatest wheat crops start with early planting! Pick your shorter soybean maturity to accommodate.
Take Home 2: Take a look at forward pricing some wheat. 2018 and 2019 values are very strong! (NOTE: not a marketing newsletter, but these price levels can not be ignored.)