Wheat Pete's Word, June 29: Dry Weather Scares, Curling Corn and Top-Dressing Nitrogen


Dry weather might scare you to death, but what about wet weather? And, corn leaves appear to be wrapping during the heat of the day — what’s up with that? It’s all in this week’s Word, as Peter Johnson, resident agronomist for RealAgriculture, shares his advice and answers your questions in this update for the week of June 29, 2016.

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


Record Dry Conditions

  • Two conservation authorities have declared some level of drought.
  • Will cereals be the only crop some farmers harvest this year?
  • Hay yields 1/2 to 3/4 normal in some areas.
  • Let’s step back a little. “Most of the time, dry weather yields are much better than we think.”
  • Unbelievably short spring cereals.

Split-Applying Nitrogen in Wheat

  • “What is the drop-dead date to top dress nitrogen?”
  • “When it’s incredibly dry, we don’t add any more nitrogen.”

Drough-Induced Yield Loss in Corn

  • As long as leaves unwrap overnight, yield loss isn’t likely to be that significant.
  • Dry June helps to build root mass, but we’ll need rain before the corn crop tassles.
  • Determine if yield loss is hurt enough to warrant canceling the second application of nitrogen.
  • What about fungicides?
  • Get out there and scout for potassium deficiency.


  • Not at a risk of yield loss yet.


  • Tweets of corn and soybeans that just look terrible.
  • If you never, ever planted corn into rye following soybeans before…we need to figure out the production system before doing massive acres.

Cereals in Western Canada

  • Early cereals look amazing.
  • Green tillers down in the canopy. What do we need to think about from a harvest standpoint?
  • Fifteen tillers per plant in durum?!

Spraying Weeds

  • Lambsquarters, ragweed, pigweed, and in some cases dandelion, sow thistle and nutsedge. What to spray?
  • Figure out what your worst weeds are, and challenge them first. Then see if the others are worth coming in with something a week later.


  • How much water does it take to equal one inch of rainfall?

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