Wheat Pete's Word, July 15: Messy (But Valuable!) Wheat, Aphids, and High Corn Disease Risk

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Wheat should be moving off the field and into the bin by now, but the ’15 wheat crop just seems to be grinding through maturity and not finishing up. As @WheatPete explains in this week’s edition of the Word, this complicates things on a few fronts, as grain fill is likely to be improved (yay!), but fusarium will continue to develop and knock back quality and yield (boo!).

Peter Johnson says that Ontario is not alone with issues with this wheat crop, as there are even reports of our farming friends south of the border discing down some fields because the fusarium levels are so high. (Read that here)

What happened and is there anything you can do about it? Well, for one thing, this year is a prime example of the true value of planting wheat in that ideal, early window, even if it means changing other practices to make sure it gets done. What’s more, Johnson says that it’s not just fusarium that’s eating into yield and quality — stripe rust and other diseases are rampant as well. If ever you needed an explanation of why you spray, this is the year.

And it’s a real shame to see so many acres dogged by fusarium as there’s talk of Ontario becoming a net importer of wheat this year and that’s going to mean price premiums, if you’ve got the quality. The moral of the story? If Ontario farmers want to extract more value from the wheat crop, it’s going to come from earlier planting, not crafty market timing, Johnson says.

From there we move on to managing for late tillers (another side effect of late planting) that won’t contribute to yield and will just hamper harvest, and talk about differences in leaf burn after applications. Good news! There are things you can do to manage it.

On to the corn crop, where some farmers have sprayed too early, but where disease pressure is building. Fields with no rotation will be hardest hit, likely, so get out there and scout and monitor, but remember that a spray timed for tassel timing delivers the best return on investment, says Johnson.

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Aphids are on the rise, and one farmer called in to ask if a forage cover crop going in after soybeans would need a insecticide seed treatment to protect against barley yellow dwarf virus, carried by aphids. Johnson says that’s not likely necessary, but get scouting and share what you see and we’ll share it on the Word.

Speaking of oats, several farmers called in with questions about oat susceptibility to certain diseases and how to manage for it. Johnson also answers questions on controlling maple saplings on field margins, and offers help on calculating heat units for corn (visit gocorn.net).

Also, the price of sisal twine has doubled, and Wheat Pete doesn’t know why either. Do you? Leave a message on that, but any and all feedback or your questions are always welcome at 1-844-544-2014.

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