Wheat Pete's Word —  May 13: Caution for Cool Weather Ahead, When to Plant Edibles & Wheat Nutrient Deficiencies


What a week! The planting is going fast and furious, and farmers are getting itchy for rain. In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, hosted by Peter Johnson, we tackle why a dry spring is a-OK and why not to worry too much about rain just yet.

What’s more concerning is the downright cool weather forecast for Thursday night. What can you do ahead of this cold spell? Don’t spray wheat! Anything sprayed today through Friday could set the crop back, as the wheat plants will have to metabolize the herbicide while under cold stress and that doesn’t work out well. What’s more, the type of product and number of products used (hint: adding a fungicide or fertilizer) also should be considered — at this point, no spray is best, but if you have to, use the fewest products possible.

Related: See last week’s Wheat Pete’s Word here

Will corn and soybeans be OK through a cold night? Well, there’s not much you can do about it, says Johnson, but take heart as soybeans are actually slightly more frost tolerant than corn, however, corn at the two-leaf stage can handle night time temps close to zero without any impact on yield, even if the first few leaves get damaged.

If you’re watching fields for early insect damage, reports out of the U.S. of high cutworm and armyworm numbers are of some concern, but without significant weather events to blow insects up this way, Ontario’s crops should be in the clear for now.

On to the wheat crop! Those with early planted wheat are sitting pretty and may be looking to determine if plants are done tillering. How can you tell? Johnson covers that in the audio below. It’s, again, the late planted wheat that’s causing all the wringing hands out there — farmers are reporting corn-row syndrome, where there are strips of nutrient deficient wheat visible. What’s going on? Those strips are likely deficient in phosphorus, maybe sulphur and also manganese, probably because of cold, wet soil conditions last fall. What can you do about it? Sulphur deficiencies can be corrected, but phosphorus issues are a longer term project. As for manganese, there are some rather pricey options, so choose wisely.

Story continues after the player…

For those done corn and maybe even soybeans, what’s next? For those considering edible beans, be cautious. It’s still a tad early for edibles (May 20 with warm soil and a good forecast should be OK, but listen to Wheat Pete’s audio for a full explanation), and seed supplies are tight — replanting may not be possible.

From there, Wheat Pete answers the many questions left at 1-888-746-3311 — like being challenged on under-seeing alfalfa into rye. One listener says, it’s a disaster, don’t do it! Another asks can you run the packer after corn? Which Johnson says depends on where the growing point is, so early is better. He also answers questions on double cultivating timing and moisture loss, what magnesium levels really mean and which is the most important, the pitfalls of dry manure on emerged corn, and discusses max liquid loads for manure on corn ground.

Until next week, stay safe out there and happy planting.

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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 1 (2015) Episode 34

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