Wheat Pete's Word, June 1: Finding Head Snag, Reducing Leaf Burn and Applying Nitrogen in Dry Conditions


Crops are moving along quickly thanks to the recent heat in much of Ontario. RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson discusses what the hot, dry weather means for wheat, nitrogen considerations in light of the dry conditions, keys to reducing leaf burn from in-season N on wheat and much more on this week’s Word.

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


  • Insects
    • Very heavy alfalfa weevil pressure in alfalfa from London south and west, possibly elsewhere — cut or spray immediately. Is it an insect year because of the mild winter?
    • The free Pest Manager app from Mike Cowbrough and Peter Gredig gets top marks from Peter — features pictures to help ID and control measures for weeds, diseases, insects. (iTunes link here)
  • It’s dry!
    • Much of the province has been missing rain. Wheat, especially on sand in eastern Ontario, is turning blue.
    • Wheat is early, which is normally good, but the hot, dry weather at pollination is not a good scenario.
  • Fusarium control
    • Do you need fusarium spray if it’s dry? “Good grief!” If you want response from higher nitrogen rates, you must use a fungicide. “Close your eyes and spray.”
    • New data from Dr. Dave Hooker shows spraying for fusarium a day late might be better than spraying a day early.
    • Which spray tips are best?
  • Head snag
    • “Hokey, is there a lot of head snag out there.” This is what happens when a wheat head tries to emerge and is caught in the ligule and gets kinked. Some varieties are genetically pre-disposed. Usually it’s no big deal, only yield loss if you break conductive tissue in stem or head.
  • Nitrogen on corn
    • Consider the dry weather pattern may leave late split nitrogen stranded on the soil surface. Think about applying earlier when there’s still moisture?
  • Weed escapes
    • “We’ve learned 2/10ths of an inch activates weeds, but it does not activaet herbicides…” It might look like PREs and PPIs aren’t working, but they’re still giving 80 percent control. Control weeds early in dry conditions, says Peter.
  • Reducing leaf burn from nitrogen on wheat
    • In general, use high water volume, wait for high relative humidity and minimize products in the tank.
    • Droplet size, variety can also be factors.

Wheat Pete hosts the Word every Wednesday. Listen to past episodes here.

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