Wheat Pete's Word, July 5: Leafhopper alert, disease diagnostics, and weed control woes


Insects, insects, insects! Peter Johnson is amazed by all the insects he is seeing this year.

In this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson talks about bugs, disease diagnostics, and weed control woes.

He also has some “cover crop craziness” to discuss, and much more!

Check out what Wheat Pete has to say in his Word and the summary below!

Your questions and feedback are needed! Leave Peter a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].


  • The markets – wow! What a rally! Canada Day just kicked off a great run-up in the marketplace. Don’t miss these opportunities!
  • How often can you sell next years soft red winter wheat crop for $6.50/bu, $6.70/bu, maybe even some locations $7.00/bu?! Amazing pricing opportunities! Could it go higher? Sure, it could. But if that’s the worst you do —it’s pretty tough to go broke making money. So use these opportunities and lock in some of those better prices.
  • Alert, alert, alert! Potato leafhopper numbers in alfalfa have exploded. Now it’s really intriguing that they seem to be the worst in Eastern Ontario — out in the Ottawa valley. They’re usually an issue along the lakeshore, so why are they worse in the Ottawa Valley? Perhaps that’s where all the storms tracked earlier on.
  • Potato leafhoppers are also being spotted in southwestern Ontario in alfalfa as well. Many growers have just done their second cut of alfalfa, and if not they’ve done their first, and when are potato leafhoppers the most damaging in alfalfa? It’s when the alfalfa is really small. OMAFRA’s Tracey Baute wrote an excellent article on scouting and thresholds — check it out here.
  • Leafhoppers are also bad on edible beans right now, so look when you planted your edible beans. We tend to get up to 45 days of control of leafhoppers from the insecticide seed treatment on beans, so you can start timing when you might have to spray if they continue to be a problem.
  • Corn — we’re seeing individual plants — it might be two in a hundred feet of row, so certainly not something that’s going to destroy the whole stand — that are twisting up, like an onion leaf. It almost looks like rapid growth symptoms or too much dicamba, but it’s actually stinkbug damage. The stinkbug feeds and puts a toxin into it that really seems to affect the growth and some of those plants likely will never grow out of it.
  • It’s also disease season — watch out for that fusarium! Peter talked about fusarium in this recent school video. Seems there is only a little initial fusarium infection is out there right now.
  • What is a good cover crop to put on your field before winter wheat? You never grow better winter wheat than you do after a pea crop. There’s just something about peas, and how they release their nitrogen.

Listen to previous episodes of the Word here.

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