Snow, Rust, and More – In the News!

Snow in Kansas, Stripe Rust in Ontario & Spring Wheat Planting Dates

(Photo above captured by Emma Epp, May 2016)

It’s snowing in Kansas?  Yes, and not just a little bit.  Stripe Rust has made its way into Ontario so scout your fields and plan accordingly.


After reporting that stripe rust has moved from to the northern US states we now have the first reports of it moving into Ontario.  Dale Cowan and the crew Agris Co-operative in Stoney Point have spotted the first pustules of Stripe rust in Ontario.  It did occur in a field of 25R46, which is a highly susceptible variety for stripe rust.

Fortunately, C&M Seeds lines have had excellent tolerance of stripe rust but strains do change, so growers should take warning and check their fields.  Consider applying a fungicide at your earliest chance, ESPECIALLY if you are growing a variety with lower tolerance.  Cargill Agronomist Emma Epp was the first to spot stripe rust in Essex county and report it to us in 2016 around May 15th, but infection was at already at higher levels at this time.

According to Albert Tenuta, Field Crop Pathologist with OMAF, “we are at higher risk this year because of the mild winter in the US”.  We should expect a similar scenario to last year and should expect to see the first signs of Strip rust to become more evident within a week.  Tenuta also said to “scout all of your fields; if it looks like it is increasing, a preventative spray would be good for your integrated disease management strategy”.

Leaf rust has also made its appearance in Ontario on wheat at GS30-32 stages in Bruce County.  Leaf Rust is less impactful on yield than Stripe Rust but still warrants control.  We are also seeing lots of powdery mildew and septoria in fields across the province.  Some situations where powdery mildew has already moved onto the upper leaves – this can create a yield impact.   With the great stands of wheat we have in Ontario we need to protect every bushel.  SPRAY and Protect the high yield potential that we have set ourselves up for!  There are also signs of Wheat Spindle Streak Mosaic Virus coming into some fields.  Keep in mind that sprays will not control viruses.  If you are unsure, call us and we can help.



Twitter has been a great way to keep up to the minute on disease and crop staging. – Tweet about stripe rust from Dale Cowan


Anyone who watches the markets or is on Twitter could not have missed the Kansas wheat story this week.  The Hard Red Winter crop was drastically impacted by snow at heading timing and frost just before heading timing.

Local agronomists say it will take 10 to 14 days before the final effects of the unprecedented late-season freeze and snow events can be determined with any accuracy. The first estimate from the snow alone put loss potential at 50 million bushels or almost 1.4 million metric tons (MMT). That would be roughly equal to 5 percent of the 23.8 MMT 5-year average total U.S. HRW crop.  This may create some pricing opportunities as the news continues to come.

Frost around heading timing is impactful and could create up to a 20% yield loss, but the snow will have kinked stems in the regions where it occurred, making the crop a complete write-off.  The Kansas wheat tour is currently going on and it is reporting that where the snow events did not occur yields look normal creating a price impact on May 4th.  I expect we may see more market reaction as more news comes out of this region – most likely positive as more bad news comes in.

Other news from across the wheat world – Spring wheat planted acres in Western Canada are expected to remain similar to last year.  Planting is progressing well.  This may cause some short term downside on the Minneapolis market.  Fusarium risk is Very High in the southern parts of the United States across the soft red growing region as well as parts of the HRW growing region. The rainfall we are expected to get is occurring now in the US and creating a high risk situation.  This story could create the next pricing opportunity in the coming weeks.  The reality is that we will continue to see great volatility in the wheat market.  Take advantage and price some wheat!


Many regions have gotten their spring wheat in the ground across Ontario but some have not.  If you still don’t have your spring wheat planted, don’t worry – there is still good yield potential.  The newer varieties in the marketplace seem to be performing better in mid May planting.  The keys to high yielding spring wheat in this timing are to keep your seeding rate on the high side and ensure you encourage early growth with fertilizer.  Spring wheat does not tiller as much as Winter Wheat and will respond highly to most of your Nitrogen going on pre or just post plant.  Later applications (GS32) will help protein content but should be limited to around 25% of your total Nitrogen.

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