Wheat Pete's Word, Dec 5: Corn wintering strategy, wet wheat, potato shortages, and the theatre


This week’s edition of Wheat Pete’s Word tackles tough questions and comments from the Maritimes, the United States, and across Ontario. In case you missed it, the east has called time-of-death on the potato harvest with a full 10% of the crop abandoned.

There’s no shortage of concern for next year’s wheat crop, too, and host Peter Johnson wants you to know that there’s a darn good reason for it — November was crummy. (It wasn’t your imagination!)

From there, Johnson talks DDGs, over-wintering corn strategies (it may not be all bad!), hybrid selection for next year, and, spring wheat.

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].


  • SWAC is sold out, but there is a live stream option where you can see many of the presentations for about a month after. FarmSmart happens a few weeks later, if you missed your chance.
  • The critics have had their say, and Brigadoon the musical is well worth it, even if Peter isn’t the best singer or dancer — he’s got the energy!
  • A report from the Maritimes — It’s been tough, and Steph Kowalski, agronomy lead for AGROMART, says that 10% of potato harvest will not be harvested, it’s just past the point of no return. The 10% harvested before that, may not store as it was harvested under poor conditions. This will have a price impact, for sure.
  • There are areas of Ontario with 15% of soybeans still unharvested and quality is falling fast.
  • This winter wheat we planted is so slow, what is going on? Well, the weather data tells the story. At Strathroy: August, 150 mm rain, September, 100 mm rain, October, 100 mm rain, November, 86 mm of rain — that’s well above average rainfall for four months. And the average temperature in November was about 1 degree. Average is closer to 3-4 or as high as 5-6. And November was grey, with not a lot of sun.
  • All hope is not lost, though. Oct. 22 planted wheat into soil that was 8 degrees, dug up Nov 7 had a 1 cm shoot, and now has 4 cm shoot, so it’s just starting to emerge. It looks like it has healthy shoots/roots
  • Won’t see tillering this fall on this late planted wheat, as it needs to get to the 4th leaf stage.
  • What temp does wheat stop tillering? It’s actually not temp driven…  it will continue to grow and develop, and will initiate a tiller if it is growing. This crop will take a little more management in the spring.
  • Spring wheat thoughts for 2019? It’s just really late winter wheat, Pete says. Get it in EARLY. Frost seeding can work really well. Be ready!
  • Should I plant wheat or soybeans following silage corn? Please, grows. The fusarium risk is just too darn high
  • Should we leave the corn out and harvest in the spring? It could actually work — one of the things we found out was that when harvesting at night, or a damp day, or in the rain, the DON levels go up. How can that be? Dust has higher % toxin, so with damp kernels, dust sticks, and when we sample, up go levels. Fast forward to spring, and if you’re taking corn at 12-14% moisture, you lose yield, but it’s super dry, with low humidity. Maybe we can do a better job on kernels out the back? Maybe. But if you are in the snow belt, leave 4 rows around the outside of the field as a snow fence, then combine the next 18-20 rows, then the snow settles out there and protects the rest of the field
  • Cleaning the corn: the key is to ensure small, light kernels are taken out. Isolated, they can be as high as 132 ppm. Can you figure out a way to get rid of the small, lighter corn? Maybe this is where spring harvest matters.
  • Spreading DDGs `— they have sulphur too! For every tonne, you’ll get about 95 lb N, 39 P2O5, 29 K2O, and 13 S. About a $70/tonne value (though that is being generous on prices and nutrient availability).
  • Picking hybrids: The high DON corn was standing well and looked great. The low DON corn was low yielding and was not standing well. Can’t only focus on DON susceptibility when choosing/
  • Let’s get optimistic about 2019!


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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 4 (2018) Episode 3

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