Wheat Pete's Word, May 4: Throwing Out the Soil Thermometer, Applying Group 14s and Making Manure Trades


Early fungicide timing in wheat, varietal interactions with Group 14 soil-applied herbicides and how to prevent lodging in oats — it was almost a record-breaking week in terms of feedback after last week’s Word. Peter Johnson, resident agronomist for RealAg, returns to answer questions and share his agronomic insight as we get into the month of May.

Have a question for Wheat Pete? Call 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].



  • Soil temperature has to be over 10 before corn grows.
  • Peter should’ve taken his own advice and planted corn on Sunday!

Spring cereal plots

  • If you have spring wheat, spring barley or oats that are planted with no nitrogen or not yet planted, please contact Pete. He’s looking for more plots for a nitrogen study.

Farm safety

  • Watch your kids! If you’re parking a loader, forks down, and duals laid flat on a pallet

Wheat management

  • Now is the time for early fungicide in advanced wheat. It’s set up for disease problems.
  • There’s high lodging potential in this year’s wheat crop — early fungicide can help reduce the risk of lodging.
  • Wheat will be ready for second shot of N at growth stage 32.
  • How to determine growth stage? Take bottom of wheat stem and crush it — Peter explains how to find and count nodes in the stem.
  • Caller from Yorkton, SK asks about broadcasting N and putting P with seed in spring wheat — right on!


  • A grower didn’t get sulphur on wheat early — what are the options for applying now? First, are you sulphur deficient? Not every field needs S, notes Peter. Long-term you should be applying 10 lbs of sulphur, but if it’s not deficient now, you might be able to live without it. Ammonium thiosulphate would be one option if its needed.


  • A caller applied biosolids before oats — how to prevent lodging? Check with your buyer and see if they allow use of Manipulator. Oats no longer on Ethrel label. Use fungicides to do what they can when it hits growth stage 30-31. Probably second app at flag leaf.

Soil-applied group 14 herbicides

  • Wow. Plenty of feedback.
  • US labels say don’t use two group 14s soil-applied in the same year. No injury in some cases, tremendous injury in others — there are big varietal interactions.
  • Be cautious if you’re on high pH or sandy soils with low organic matter would be higher risk

Cover crops

  • Does a cover crop attract more wireworms, warranting neonic-treated seed?
  • If you have strips that have cover crops and strips that don’t and could plant neonic and fungicide-only seed, please do it and let Wheat Pete know.


  • A caller applied biosolids and grew clover last year — roughly 180lbs of N, in theory. Should they dare plant corn without N? Put 30 lbs on at planting as insurance because organic N doesn’t always release early. Biosolids and clover don’t always get uniform application.


  • Trading dairy manure for straw? Get manure analyzed and price based on nutrient values.
  • Drag hoses cause less compaction than tankers.
  • How do smaller tractors create less compaction? Lower axle loads.

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Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 2 (2016) Episode 34

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