Wheat Pete's Word, Aug. 22: Late season rain, counting rows per cob, & the year of foxtail


What’s with this late season rain in Ontario, and what will the impact be with crops in grain- and pod-fill stages? With soybean harvest around the corner, we’re starting to hear more yield estimates or predictions, and the focus is shifting to seeding plans for this fall.

On this week’s edition of the Word, our in-house agronomist Peter Johnson covers the impact of the wet weather, field observations, yield estimates, cereal cropping plans, fertility questions, and more. (See a summary below.)

Have a question you’d like Johnson to answer? 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].

  • Don’t miss the Elgin Soil and Crop Compaction Day, now slated for August 30th (more info here.)
  • Rain, rain, rain — caller from Grey County reports 12 inches of rainfall in the last 5 weeks plus a day
  • What does all this rain mean for denitrification and nitrogen availability for corn at grain-fill? Excess moisture causes N losses earlier in the season, but most uptake has already happened, so not a huge concern.
  • A bigger question regarding moisture — how’s it going to affect the edible bean crop, as it opens it up to disease issues (of course Peter also points out it could push back wheat planting date)?
  • Yield estimates — after mentioning fewer rows per cob and fewer pods in middle part of soybean canopy last week, lots of callers reporting 18 row cobs and 4 pods per node on soybeans, so where it wasn’t extremely dry, yield potential is looking nice
  • Double check those pigweed patches — if you’re seeing pigweed escapes, make sure it isn’t waterhemp!
  • Winter wheat, oat and barley variety selection — info available at gocereals.net. 2018 winter wheat data is expected soon.
  • Seeding rates for cover crop oats — thinner cover crops can be better, as you don’t want hay, just root growth and some biomass production, so no need to go over 30 pounds/acre. 70 pounds/acre if you’re doing it for forage (Nitrogen can actually be more important than seeding rate in forage oats.)
  • Do cover crop oats after winter wheat need added N? Some available N may bind to wheat straw, so keep an eye out for yellowing.
  • What the heck is with all the foxtail this year? The weather this year seems to have been conducive to foxtail, combined with thin wheat stands.
  • Seeding winter wheat into previously sod field — take measures to avoid take-all disease, including not seeding ultra early
  • Broadcasting wheat into soybeans — caller planning to next week! Use insecticide seed treatment if concerned about white grub pressure.
  • Buying old Mesz fertilizer — will it lose its nutrient value? No, but watch out on quality (flowability if it ever got wet or damp, and every move can create more dust, which is hard to get good use out of.)
  • Next week: glyphosate!

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