Wheat School: Managing Ontario's "Incredible" Winter Crop


Peter Johnson was practically giddy as he walked through wheat fields on a beautiful November day near Woodstock, Ontario.

“We’ve got big acreage of wheat and big yield potential. How could Wheat Pete be any happier,” pronounced Real Agriculture’s resident agronomist as he digested the fact that Ontario farmers have planted almost 1 million acres to wheat this fall.

“There’s an unbelievable amount of incredible wheat in the province,” Johnson says. The challenge now is to put that yield potential in the bin.

In this Wheat School episode, Johnson looks at the range of wheat development across the province and management implications. The tremendous fall weather allowed many farmers to plant early and it’s critical for farmers to get a handle on the how their crop is developing. “Keep digging and scouting. Know where you’re at so you know what management you need,” he adds. (continued below)

Johnson has talked to farmers who planted as early as September 7. In many cases, theses early-planters maintained high seeding rates – up to 1.5 million seeds/acre. In these fields, farmers are seeing as many as five to eight tillers per plant and the huge mat of growth is already promoting leaf disease. Here, Johnson recommends avoiding fungicides – it doesn’t help – and says to spare the nitrogen because the crop will be prone to lodging.

“You don’t want to starve it for nitrogen, but no early nitrogen. Wait as long as you can before putting nitrogen on to let a few tillers fall away.” Farmers also need to check the standability rating for their variety. “If it’s not highly rated, you may have to look at growth regulators to keep it standing,” adds Johnson.

Watch more Wheat School videos here

Much of the wheat looks ideal, especially fields planted during the last two weeks of September. “It’s planted at about an inch and a half and has a main stem and three tillers. It won’t need early nitrogen, but you don’t want to starve it.” In these fields, Johnson recommends a shot of nitrogen right around corn planting.

Late planted wheat – around October 11 – will need early nitrogen next spring. Much of that wheat is now showing two leaves and will need nitrogen to make it tiller.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Other Episodes

Wheat School (view all)Season 6 (2015) Episode 2

Please register to read and comment.

Privacy Preference Center


Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

gdpr, __cfduid, PHPSESSID, wordpress_test_cookie, woocommerce_items_in_cart, woocommerce_cart_hash, wp_woocommerce_session, wordpress_logged_in, wordpress_sec, wp-settings, wp-settings-time, __cf_mob_redir, wordpress_cache, realag


Measuring interactions with the ads on the domain.



These are used to track user interaction and detect potential problems. These help us improve our services by providing analytical data on how users use this site.



Preference cookies enable the website to remember information that changes the way the website behaves or looks, like your preferred language or the region that you are in.

chartdefaults, comment_author, comment_author_email, comment_author_url
JSESSIONID, _os_session,anonymous_votes,csrf-param,csrf-token,user,user-id,user-platform,intercom-session,intercom-lou,intercom-session
personalization_id, tfw_exp


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.