The 10 Commandments of High Yielding Wheat


Peter Johnson, wheat specialist with Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, made quite the splash at Farm Tech last week. A regular in’s Wheat School, @WheatPete (as he’s known on Twitter) has very set views on maximizing wheat production, and he’s not afraid to tell a farmer, point blank, what that farmer is doing wrong. Some find him a bit brash, and during his presentation there were more than a few heads shaking. The “that will never work in our area” standby was mumbled more than a few times, but there were most certainly others who took what Peter had to say to heart and are willing to give it a chance on their farm this year. (Skip to the end of this post to see his interview with Shaun Haney at FarmTech).

Late last week, a group of enterprising farmers on Twitter imagined that Peter Johnson could stand on a hillside with a large tablet (an iPad Mega, perhaps?) and shout his 10 commandments of wheat production. Here’s what@WheatlanderJay, @OhDeere, @JoshFankhauser1 and @GJColebrook helped us put together:

  1. Thou shalt use certified seed — See Peter’s rant on this topic here. Part B could be take advantage of new varieties
  2. Thou shalt spread your residue evenly — Peter is certainly not alone in believing that there is so much more farmers could be doing to help emergence, and it starts at the back of the combine.
  3. Thou shalt not seed with a hoe drill — buy a real drill (don’t seed too deep!)
  4. Thou shalt use a seed treatment — yes, this goes for winter wheat, too.
  5. Thou shalt seed early, so as to time heading for late June, the longest days of the year
  6. Thou shalt seed on narrow row spacing (he suggests 4″ rows)
  7. Thou shalt NOT seed in bushels/acre — determine your 1,000 kernel weight and seed for a target plant population, please.
  8. Honour thy nitrogen (and use lots!)
  9. Apply fungicides so thy wheat may use thy nitrogen. Ample nitrogen rates and optimal fungicide applications have a synergistic effect (see video below)
  10. Thou shalt harvest early for high bushel weight
  11. Peter Johnson adds: Thou shalt follow thy agronomist on Twitter. He’s @WheatPete, in case you missed it.

What do you think? Did you attend the presentation and have a commandment to add? Are you guilty of not following along with some (or most) of these? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.

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