Wheat Pete's Word, July 11: Peduncles, double crops, and chewing vs. sucking insects


It’s July and that means two things: sunburns and field tour season! Our apologies for this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word being posted a day late, but it was actually a field tour (and plot harvest) that pushed host Peter Johnson right to deadline.

We promise it’s worth the wait, however, as this week’s episode is a dandy. We start with some crop updates, move to early wheat harvest numbers, talk organic matter maps, then move on to double crop beans, the dreaded spider mites, and controlling nasty burdock. You don’t want to miss this one! Listen now, or download for later.

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].


  • Plot harvest begins! Leroy is hard at work munching through plots
  • Check the calendar and ask around, as field tour season gets under way. The Eastern Ontario field tour is next Thursday, and Johnson will be there.
  • It’s still dry, dry, dry across most of Ontario — some areas have had 2.5″ since the snow disappeared, but the crops look OK in some spots. Why? More organic matter equals more water holding capacity
  • Up in Renfrew, too, what started as a great season is also going dry — pineapple corn, soybeans aren’t canopying, yup, that’s shallow, sandy soil for you
  • Last week, thunderstorms brought rain for some areas and they moved sloooow. Around Parkhill, and even all the way to Embro, there was WAY too much water and the corn lodged flat. It looks horrible, but it’ll be fine — it hasn’t tasseled, it’ll gooseneck and it’ll be a nightmare to harvest, but it will be ok. Johnson saw this in 1981, with corn on corn downed by corn rootworm. Bless you, autosteer. You’re going to need it.
  • A reminder to calibrate your yield monitor! Big numbers on a screen are great, but don’t matter if they’re inaccurate
  • Wheat yields are rolling in. Rain in June, though only one rain, means some good fields are breaking 100 bushels an acre, some are quite average. The heavy clays that were dry have low, low, low yields, and are well below normal. But quality is just awesome! Smaller kernels, good test weight, but not great
  • Can you tell your organic matter via crop moisture at harvest in dry conditions? Yes, but it also means wheat moisture is all over the map.
  • This is early for winter wheat harvest, should we double crop? July 15 is probably the cut off at London area. In Essex County you may be able to push to the 20th. Shorten up the maturity groups, use lots of seed, and if you’re dry don’t waste the money. Yes, you can plant deep to moisture, but if there isn’t any, don’t waste your money
  • Johnson’s relay crop soybeans are done. *sad trombone*
  • Wheat crop is uneven, so you want to spray glyphosate for dry down but not sure when? It’s all about the peduncle. (Click here for the video)
  • Quackgrass in wheat, do you spray now or later? If you have tramlines, you can do a pre-harvest pass. But no tracks? Get at it post-harvest in September
  • Small wheat seeds from it being super dry — is the wheat worth keeping for seed? It’s fine, but it will have less energy. Clean it hard. But also, why not support the cereal breeders? Come on, get some new genetics and support the cereal industry!
  • For those worried abut black chaff at harvest. It isn’t fusarium, it’s alternaria, and it’s a drought issue. Look for pink for fusarium
  • Can we make 10 tonne/hectare in wheat? Even a nice looking crop we need 1,000 kernels to weigh 50 grams. We’re doing really well to make 40 grams. In England, sure this happens, but we’re limited by grain fill period
  • Alert! Alert! Alert! Spider mites moving from wheat crop, on to soybeans. The threshold is 4 per leaflet, bring your white sheet of paper to tap the plants on so you don’t miss them (check your alfalfa, too). Spraying outside rounds may be enough. They can be more damaging than aphids. Makes sure you use the right product and don’t just kill off beneficials!
  • Lamb’s quarters really going this year, is there suspected resistance? No, but send some seeds in, but their survival is more likely a physical barrier in dry conditions
  • Burdock and bull thistle in wheat? Getting after bull thistle is easier, but burdock is a big problem. Mike Cowbrough has done work on this and says Enlist DUO at a high rate can achieve 60% control. Make sure you spot spray and get those new seedlings this fall and spring! Don’t forget.

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