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What are they looking for?

If you’re out driving past grain fields in the upcoming weeks, you may notice grain farmers walking their field and examining the plants. With most of the Ontario grain crop now planted, many farmers will be out keeping an eye out on their fields as the seedlings begin growing.

This is because in the next few weeks the plants will be at their most vulnerable to threats.  Any threats from pests can cause serious damage to the growing plants.

Pests include weeds, insects and diseases. Weeds can compete with the growing plants for nutrients, water, sunlight and even soil space, while insects and diseases can eat and damage the emerging plants leaves and stems.

Adverse weather conditions such as heavy rain, drought, frost, hail and/or strong winds can also damage the plants so farmers will be checking the grains for any signs of damage during these conditions.

#YourFarmers will also be examining the plant for any signs of nutrient deficiencies. As the grains begin developing colouration on the leaves, stalks and roots can indicate the plant is lacking a nutrient.

If farmers identify a pest that is a threat to their crop, they will most likely spray to eliminate that pest. In many cases, eliminating the pest problem will save the crop and allow it to continue growing.

In some cases, farmers may have to replant their grains. This means after the seeds were planted,  the seeds did not grow or emerge after a certain period of time. The seeds are generally not able to germinate and emerge from the soil so the farmers will replant the field. Heavy rains, flooding, drought, are common reasons a farmer may have to replant their fields.