Wheat Pete's Word, May 31: Insects in a wet year, dandelions, and wild, wonderful wheat!


In this episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, RealAg Agronomist Peter Johnson wonders why insects are such a problem already, seeing as it’s been a wet year, and that usually means the fields are full of disease, not bugs.

He also dives into crop progress — what sort of advances have been made in Ontario, as well as across the country.

To top it off in his Word, Pete talks about his “wild, wonderful, wheat”, and some of the unbelievable symptoms he’s been seeing in his own wheat crop. More highlights are listed below!

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


  • Even in a cool year, believe it or not, insects can still be a problem.
  • There’s weevil in the alfalfa across Western Ontario. If you are not harvesting immediately, you need to scout!
  • And it’s not just weevil – we already have potato leaf hoppers. We often get leaf hoppers, but it’s early to see leaf hoppers and nymphs already, which means the adults came in on some of those thunderstorms we’ve been seeing.
  • Seed corn maggots are still thinning out corn stands. It’s a really interesting pest, because it’s the smell of the decaying organic material on your corn that attracts those flies to lay their eggs.
  • Starting to see lots of nitrogen deficiency in wheat crops. Even in fields that have had 120 pounds of nitrogen applied. It’s been wet, so we’ve likely lost some through denitrification. Also have had so little soil release because the soil has stayed cool and damp – and we’re just not getting enough of that release from the organic matter. (More here — Wheat School: Nitrogen stays put in cold, wet conditions)
  • If you are short nitrogen – if you have enough sulfur out there, and you are seeing that wheat go pale yellow – you need more nitrogen!
  • High fusarium risk on your wheat right now… Aerial application of fusarium fungicide doesn’t give you as good coverage on the head. However, it’s way better than not applying a fusarium fungicide. So if that’s how you have to do it, get out there and do it! (See Wheat School: Can you do more to control fusarium?)
  • Studies have shown that when 2, 4-D ester was applied, even the day before soybean emergence, didn’t have a negative impact on the yield. They saw leaf symptoms, but it didn’t reduce yield.
  • How do I get rid of a field full of dandelions, and what can I seed in it? Glyphosate will do the job. A full 2 litre on the big dandelions will be slow, but it will take them down. Plant Roundup Ready soybeans, that way you can come back in and spray with glyphosate again. And the second trip through the field, add classic, which also has some pretty good activity with dandelions.

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Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 3 (2017) Episode 30

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