Wheat Pete's Word — April 5: Plant17 in Alberta, Starter Fertilizer Conundrums, Test Plots, and Lodging Risks


We’ve hit April, and that means it’s time for the first of many #plant17 reports! This week, we’ve got super early wheat going in in Alberta, believe it or not, so that’s where we start with this edition of Wheat Pete’s Word.

For Ontario growers, host Peter Johnson kicks off with a rust warning and a reminder to scout, scout, scout. With a quick shout out to Nature Nut Nick at Strathroy, who combed through weather records back to the 80s, anyone anticipating a hotter summer because of ice-free Great Lakes, Johnson also adds you’re likely to be disappointed.

Moving on to a tonne of starter, in-furrow, and 2-by-2 band questions, this edition of the Word also covers tips for under-seeded alfalfa, seeding rater tweaks to manage for lodging and (maybe?) fusarium, and a reminder that there are no mistakes, just test plots — all that and more, below!

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].


  • Can you underseed alfalfa vs. red clover in winter wheat? No, it’s too weak a seedling, but into spring wheat can work for sure!
  • Urea as starter fertilizer doesn’t always gum up in fertilizer boxes! A listener says they use it in a 2-by-2 band to great success
  • Are the results in from the 2016 Ontario intensive management trials up yet? According to Ben Rosser, corn specialist for OMAFRA, the results are not posted yet, but they’re working on them. Keep calling for them!
  • A caller asks if they need to continue with liquid in-furrow fertilizer since they’ve got to a 2-by-2 band?
  • A good reminder — There are no mistakes, just test plots! A farmer in Michigan had an issue with a planter and ended up putting 3 million wheat seeds per acre, planted on October 17. Will this crop be under risk to lodge? Depends on the number of tillers. Manage for lodging by splitting N apps, the second after growth stage 32. What about fusarium risk? Seeding rate doesn’t matter. Just time the coverage right.
  • Further to that point, is tillering the big issue messing up fusarium timing? Nope! Wheat Peter argues it’s variable seeding depth that leads to uneven emergence that leads to variable maturity. Start treating wheat like corn!
  • A question on ESN at seeding and Agrotain on the second application for wheat: Hold on! Why are we using ESN if we’re splitting apps? And why so early? And are you protecting the wrong loss stage? Great discussion.
  • Micros: do you need them? If you’ve got an actual deficiency, yes! Without a deficiency, you likely should spend your money on good basic agronomy before worrying about micro applications
  • A farmer asks about applying 28%, wanting to avoid leaf burn, and waiting too long. When is too late? Really not ever, but stem elongation is set at growth stage 32 and the plant needs the N by boot stage

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