Wheat Pete's Word, May 23: Leaf burn, capillary action, and killing sow thistle


For all the talk of a late, late spring, we sure have caught up in a hurry. While there are areas hurting for moisture nearly across Canada, some regions have had near-ideal planting conditions and even a timely rain or two, post-seeding.

What’s got croppers curious this week? Peter Johnson, host of Wheat Pete’s Word, tackles sow thistle game-plans, leaf burn worries, poison oak tactics, rewarding market rallies and so much more all in this week’s episode. Summary continues below the player…

Have a question you’d like Johnson to address? Or some yield results to send in? Leave him a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].



  • Headed into the last week of May, and much of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba need rain. But so too do parts of Ontario. In many areas, corn planting is done like dinner, and we may be caught up or even a little ahead to 2017’s start
  • Opposite to the west, areas of southern Ontario, such as Essex, Kent, and Lambton counties are still super wet. Is it time to start thinking about alternative corn hybrids? For many areas, May 30th is about when it’s time to swap out your picks, so be ready
  • Wheat and corn markets have bumped up just a little lately. Perhaps rewarding the market during small rallies is justified
  • Wireworms were popping up this week, on the surface and below ground. Remember, you’ll need this spring’s scouting records to access neonic-treated corn and soybean seed this fall, so get that scouting done
  • Cereal leaf beetle larvae hatching now and may need control. Scout!
  • Picket-fence corn all up in small window does make a difference. Why does later-planted corn look a little more ragged? It took nearly 2 weeks to come up and probably went in to wetter fields. Want to see more about variable emergence in corn? Watch this video to learn about how a one- and two-day difference in emergence impacts yield
  • Fleabane is big and bolting and there’s multi-resistant waterhemp out there. What’s the  best option for burn-down? Mix multi-modes of action — not just multi-products, but each product must have activity on the target weed
  • What about a plan for perennial sow thistle in conventional corn? You can’t control it in one pass. Marksman and Peak Plus are your top two choices (really anything with dicamba in it), and hit it again this fall, Pete says
  • Dealing with poison oak (or other nasty weeds) in ditches? Don’t spray it with glyphosate, as you’ll kill all the competition. Use a hormone-type herbicide,  (2, 4-D, dicamba, etc) for a good kill, plus it’ll leave the grass and compete
  • Is harrowing wheat stubble a plus or a minus when it comes to soil moisture conservation? It depends on whether or not you’re getting good capillary (upward movement) of water that’s evaporating off. A light harrow might help decrease evaporation losses by closing off the capillary action, however, if you do that tillage pass, you lose SOME moisture to create that dust on top. So, if you didn’t have the capillary action happening, you’re giving up moisture needlessly. Tough call.
  • Seeing leaf burn after a herbicide/fungicide pass? Did you cut the water rate? Keep those water rates up, up, up!

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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 4 (2018) Episode 31

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