RealAg Crop Update Ontario: Jumpstarting this Wheat Crop & the Surprising Benefit of Spring Harvested Corn

Ontario farmers with wheat in the ground are having to adjust their management practices to accommodate the late start to spring, especially after the cold, wet fall of 2014.

Weather conditions this spring have hampered efforts to apply nitrogen or frost-seed cover crops in winter wheat, explains Peter Johnson, a.k.a. @WheatPete, in this conversation with RealAg’s Lyndsey Smith.

RealAg Crop Update Ontario PicUnfortunately, much of the wheat crop is in desperate need of a shot of nitrogen to help it along as very little growth and next to no tillering occurred prior to the onset of winter.

“It needs something to stimulate it and that’s called ‘nitrogen,’” explains Johnson. “We’re back now to saying let’s run immediately. It’s the first time in my career that I’ve recommended nitrogen on frozen ground. We don’t have that window anymore and we need to make sure we get that early shot of nitrogen out there.”

The cold, wet fall is also the reason why growers in some areas are still working on harvesting last year’s corn crop. Johnson says he’s been pleased with the quality of the corn left standing through winter. Moisture levels in the 15 to 18 percent range have been reported.

“The sample in the bin looks excellent. Great quality. Great yields. No drying charge. No storage. It’s not a bad story the way it’s working out,” he says.

Listen to this conversation with Peter Johnson for more on managing winter wheat this spring, including how to split nitrogen applications and when to seed red clover. He also gets into how corn left in the field has fared through winter and the concept of leaving a corn “snow fence” on field edges.

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