Wheat Pete's Word, Oct 12: Hard Frost, High Vomi Corn, and Zinc Starters


Frost over the Thanksgiving weekend has put an end to the growing season, and should help with drying down soybeans, as Peter Johnson kicks off this week’s Word with an update on soybeans and corn. From there, he offers some timely advice on fall burdock control, disease considerations in cover crops and — of course, saving his favourite for last — starter fertilizer and seeding rates for wheat.

If you have a question or observation to share with Peter, you can always leave a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected]!



  • Hard frost hit most areas on on Sunday night — beans that were regrowing won’t be anymore.


  • Fertility and rotation make a big difference in yields.
  • Report from central Grey County of beans planted right before cold rain yielding 10bu/acre less.
  • Purple beans showing up in the sample in Lambton County. Not a huge deal, but could be a problem in IP beans.


  • Still talking fusarium/giberella in corn — 25 percent of samples coming back over 2ppm vomitoxin — alert for hog feeders. Last time there was this much vomitoxin was in 2011.


  • Use handsfree phone options!
  • To prevent loosing hairpins in corn field, use spring loaded clips or self-locking pins.
  • Slow down, think twice at this time of year.

Weed control

  • Burdock! 10,000-17,000 seeds per plant if allowed to go to seed, and it’ll remain viable in the ground for at least three years. Have to control in the fall (several product options), and then come back in spring to control seedlings, likely repeat several years.

Winter rye

  • Hybrid rye instead of wheat this fall? Unfortunately hybrid rye seed is tight.
  • Treat it like winter wheat in fall with weed control and fertility.

Planting green

  • Lots of feedback about cover crops and planting green stemming from Wheat Pete’s talk on Thursday of Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (which will be up on RealAg soon!)
  • Planting winter wheat into rye after soybeans — some root diseases could be a concern — later planting, less likely you’ll have problem with root disease
  • Sunflowers as cover crop — don’t forget they’re a vector for white mould, but you tend to not get as many disease issues if you plant in a mix.
  • Need to match cover crop mix with planting date.

Late red clover

  • How many plants do I need to get 100 percent nitrogen credit? (Only 1 good plant per square foot, as a general rule of thumb.)
  • How do I remember where there’s a good clover stand and where there aren’t many plants when applying N? (Aerial photo — get a drone out, make a map.)


  • Zinc starters on wheat in fall — no data right now supporting it as a starter, but do your own trial.
  • Seeding rates — go up 100,000 plants every five days. Also more on clay than loam. It’s all about making leaf area next spring.
  • Weed control — yes, you can spray emerged wheat in the fall if you missed burndown. Wait for it to get to 3 leaves.

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