Wheat Pete's Word, August 30: Fusarium and gibberella, wheat yields, and seeding time for "the crop of all crops!"


In this episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, RealAg Agronomist Peter Johnson expresses his confusion and concern for FROST! Oh man!

It’s time to seed the “crop of all crops”, winter wheat! Find out what tips he has for you.

He also adds a quick note about fusarium in wheat and gibberella in corn.

Listen to the full episode here, and read some of the highlights below:

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


  • Yes – it actually got cold enough to show ground level frost in parts of Ontario. Not enough to really do a lot of damage, but oh man, that is not where we want to be! I’m not trying to be a doomsday sayer, but man for almost the first of September things are not where we would like them to be!
  • Yields, wow! From Western Canada – keep these yields coming! It just excites me. In parts of central Saskatchewan – over 80 bu/acre, not much rainfall. Really excited about early planting and how that has boosted its yields. This is quite a bit better than most anticipated. Some other parts of Saskatchewan are seeing up to almost 100 bu/acre on wheat! Given the right nutrition, wheat can really perform!
  • Moving back into Ontario… What’s with all the bird damage in my field corn? From Dr. Jocelyn Smith, entomologist from the University of Guelph says that when you have heavy western bean cutworm the birds will find them! They open the cob up, and they eat the western bean cutworm! Talk about bio-control in action!
  • Gibberella in corn is the exact same thing as fusarium in wheat. Same toxin, same organism. Just a little bit different in how it reacts. Johnson actually thinks the birds eating the western bean cutworm is a bonus, because where we get the most risk of of gibberella – of toxins developing in the corn crop – is when the husk stays tight. Yes the birds opening up the husk does open it up to a little more insect feeding or more bird feeding, but the upside is the husk can’t stay tight now. With a loose husk, theoretically the moisture situation won’t build up inside that cob. Hopefully we then get less gibberella in that scenario.
  • The critical moisture content for fusarium or for gibberella is 19 per cent. Once you get the grain below 19 per cent, or even below 9 celsius, the fungal disease really starts to slow down and doesn’t create nearly as much toxin and it isn’t as much of a problem. Remember though – in the bin, maybe the average moisture content is 19 per cent, but if you have hot spots in that bin that are still 21 or 22 – that fusarium is going to be going gangbusters in that wheat!
  • It is time to start thinking about winter wheat planting in Western Canada. I hope you are planting already if you can at all! Remember – the earlier you get your wheat in, the higher the wheat will yield!
  • No-till winter wheat into an alfalfa stand – as long as the alfalfa is dead – that works awesome! In general, no till winter wheat works awesome, no matter where you do it. It’s just because of when we planted all those things. So that works for the most part!
  •  Fall weed control… the soybeans are full of dandelions! Glyphosate is best on dandelions, but with fall weed control I’m really starting to lean towards saying everybody needs to add something to that glyphosate before they plant the winter wheat.

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