Wheat Pete's Word, April 19: Big Wheat, Bigger Weeds, Sulphur on Corn, and Low-Lignin Alfalfa


The nitrogen is on, the wheat and weeds are growing, and field work and planting is beginning in earnest in Ontario’s south (other areas and much of Western Canada will just have to wait a tiny bit longer).

As #plant17 gets rolling, Peter Johnson is back with another edition of Wheat Pete’s Word, and this week we start with patience before hitting the field, why April is still a perfectly fine time for clover, and why night time temps now could mean lodging later in the wheat crop.

From there, Johnson tackles too-big dandelion issues, the horrid fleabane problem that must be addressed, whether or not you can re-seed alfalfa on alfalfa ground, and why it’s ok to wait (or skip) a sulphur application on corn (unlike wheat).

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Don’t forget to send Peter your questions and comments! Leave a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].


  • Spring cereals are going in, and even some carrots, but please be careful and rushing corn in — ground worked too early (wet) may equal a loss of 50-60 bushels per acre!
  • Clover — not all the clover is on yet, because it may have been too wet or not cold enough in late winter. Is it too late? NO. Research shows that March is the best month, but followed closely by February and then April. It’s still insurable and usually works out well, plus we’ve got 2 weeks of showery weather ahead to get the crop going.
  • There’s the most amazing wheat crop out there! The early planted wheat is at about growth stage 30, meaning stem elongation has started. The late planted wheat is well behind at growth stage 21 or 22. The early wheat has huge yield potential, so keep tabs on night temps during stem elongation and be ready with a PGR is the variety has poor standability.
  • Big wheat equals BIG weeds! Winter annuals, such as fleabane, dandelion, and chickweed is large and advanced making it much harder to control. Get the Pest Manager app to best figure out your options in the spring. We can’t let fleabane get away, and dandelion either…those huge plants eat a heap of yield (20+ bu/ac)!
  • Question on planting options for new land that’s been fallow for 2 years: It’s really weedy. Are oats a good option. Likely not, says Johnson, as you need good weed control when weeds are actively growing — later corn or even Xtend soybeans may be the better option
  • Sulphur on corn ground — if it’s so important on wheat, what about corn? Funny story: corn needs it much later in the year, so spring applied manure should provide plenty
  • Black beans that never got harvested in 2016, is there an N credit to the wheat crop? Peas transfer N to wheat, yes, but there’s not much research on edible beans. So, best guess, is 30-50 pounds
  • If you spray out a spent alfalfa crop this spring, can you re-seed this summer? Possibly. Consider oats in between?
  • Low-lignin alfalfa — does it impact standability?

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