Wheat Pete's Word, May 17: Western Canada leads #plant17, leaf burn woes, and crusting corn


Cork-screw corn, good-looking western spring crops, heat unit discrepancies — it’s been a wild week of major seeding progress in Western Canada, while much of Ontario’s planting progress has been hamstrung with extremely cold and wet weather.

Some Ontario farmers, including Wheat Pete’s Word host Peter Johnson, are on to plan C for field prep as rain keeps many off the fields, and so it’s no surprise that this week we’ve got questions on crusting corn, leaf burn on wheat, missed fertilizer applications and more.

Full summary of this week’s episode continues after the video…

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].


  • Western spring planted barley and wheat look stellar — early wins in a year when you can make it happen
  • For eastern Ontario farmers, Agricorp has extended coverage for spring planted cereals for some counties. Check out the extended dates (as late as May 25, depending on the crop), because sticking to rotations is important
  • Winter canola is coming into bloom in southern Ontario! For those wondering, Windsor has accumulated 140 CHUs, but London has only made it to 70 CHUs. It’s just that cold.
  • What’s with purple alfalfa stems ? It happens in wheat too, and is a symptom of cold, wet soils. What happens is the plant builds up photosynthate and doesn’t have any new growth to send it to
  • If you’ve got crusty corn fields, how do you know if you should run a hoe or planter back over to help break it up? This is where the art of farming comes in, because it’s tough to say, but Wheat Pete offers some thoughts on it
  • If you still haven’t got nitrogen on wheat yet, should you bother? Yes! The crop is pulling out as much as 4 lb/N per day right now, and will make use of an application as long as it’s there by pollination. Get going.
  • Does leaf burn from second N app negate the value of a split app? Unless the burn is on the flag leaf, it’s less damaging than you think. Check out the full discussion here in this Wheat School
  • Sulphur didn’t make it in time, can you just skip it? And it’s liquid, do I have to stream it?
  • If you had low yields in 2016 because of drought, is there residual N there that the wheat crop can take up? In Ontario, we lose N over the winter, so make sure you’ve accounted for those losses.
  • Is there anything you can do with dandelions in newly established alfalfa? Only if you’ve planted HarvXtra glyphosate-tolerant alfalfa. Tear it up and start again. Sad face.

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