Wheat Pete's Word, July 25: Glorious rain, worms, short corn, and grain sales


Quite literally, when it rains it pours, it seems, as much of Ontario got some to too much rain over the weekend and into this week.

Is it too late for this year’s thirsty crop? Peter Johnson, host of Wheat Pete’s Word, says possibly not, as this rain comes at a critical stage for the pollinating corn crop and pod fill for soybeans. In this week’s episode, Johnson tackles that, plus answers questions on variable corn, earthworms going dormant, N availability, and at least two insect alerts. (Summary continues below player)

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


  • Safety first, y’all. One seat, one rider. No kids on wheel fenders, for goodness sake. We want them to grow up to BE the next generation farmer. Some “traditions” need to end.
  • The market is sending sell signals! Wheat was up 30 cents today on news of production issues in various areas of the world. Wheat Pete booked in at $6.53/bu for soft red winter, and that’s not bad. Profitable prices are profitable prices, so reward the rallies
  • Finally! Rain fell in Ontario, maybe even too much in some spots. There are still dry areas, but this is critical timing for corn and soy
  • What’s the yield potential on short corn? On the good ground corn is tasseled and moving through pollination, but on eroded knolls and sandier areas it’s 2-3 leaves behind. What does that mean for yield? Probably 85% yield potential, but 9, 10, 12 days behind in maturity. Will it dry down? It’ll need more time, that’s for sure.
  • A stressful year like this really shows you the value of crop rotation — it could spell a 30 bu/ac advantage in corn and 10 bu/ac in soybean for those with three-crop rotations
  • Geek out with us a little: Do you know your tassel to silk interval? The wider is is the lower the yield. Even in drought stressed fields, we still are seeing silk and tassel at the same time, and that’s a genetic improvement, but for those field where silks aren’t emerging quickly you could see a yield hit
  • Western bean cutworm alert! Numbers are climbing, but are slightly below average. Remember that fusarium fungicide application timing is green silk. These two are related; you’ve got to do  both
  • Alert! Alert! Alert! Leafhoppers in edible beans! At or near threshold. Get out and scout!
  • What’s with black heads and no kernels? It’s loose smut in barley. We see it every year. Barley is very susceptible, use a seed treatment going forward.
  • Boron in-furrow makes Wheat Pete nervous. Maybe go back to foliar
  • What’s the nitrogen availability in MAP.  Ammonium is plant available, but doesn’t move with water so in-furrow you can count on it there
  • Orchard fungicides: why don’t we use them in field crops? Wheat Pete says they’re usually too expensive. Many times the actives are the same, but the formulation is different
  • Earthworms take naps. Dead serious. Need cooler soils and moisture than the hot, dry season we’ve had. They burrow down and go dormant.
  • Winter wheat after adzuki beans where you’ve used Prowl — is that OK? In super dry conditions you could have some residue but the bigger issue is that the beans are taken off later, will it be too late for wheat? Something to consider.

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