Wheat Pete's Word, Jan 16: Hybrid evaluations, ideal organic matter, and latest and earliest wheat seeding


What’s better — spreading manure on a few inches of snow, or bare, frozen ground? Trick question, and the answer to it is all the way at the end of this week’s edition of Wheat Pete’s Word.

But enough about poop, host Peter Johnson covers a pretty wide swath of topics this week, including reading the corn and soy performance trial data, if oats have a curative impact on SDS, and when is too late — or too early — to plant wheat. (Full summary and additional links are below the player).

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


  • Ontario provincial average yields for corn and soy for 2018 are pretty great! As of early January, 91% or soy yields have been recorded. 5-10% of beans are still out, which is very telling of how wet the fall was.
  • That said, this years average of 53 bu/ac soybeans is 117% of the 10-year number (How did we get here?  Check out this video for more).
  •  Corn was only 64% harvested by early January. More is  likely in the bin now, but harvest is not finished yet. 181 bu/ac average to date, is 107% of long term average, even with a challenging season.
  • 22,000 acres of corn in Ontario have been released to be destroyed, if farmers so choose. To date, only 9,000 acres have actually been. Less than 1% of the provincial crop, so that’s good news. Still finding markets for this high-DON crop
  • Question: Can you explain why the LSD is so high on provincial soybean trials? LSD = least significant difference. It means that if the LSD is 7, and yield differences between two varieties is five bushels, they’re actually equal, statistically. You’d need at least a 7-bushel difference, in this example, before there was an actual yield difference between lines.
  • Sudden death syndrome (SDS) of soybeans is caused by a fusarium species – which is different than the fusarium that impacts corn or wheat. However, we have learned that the fusarium that causes SDS can survive on corn roots. It’s evolution, baby. Another word for it? Selection pressure or survival adaptation. Doesn’t matter, disease, plant, animal — we’re all trying to get by. Get wheat in that rotation!
  • Can oats provide some protection against SDS? Perhaps some impact but not enough to call them a cure to SDS. But they are a cereal, and that’s a good rotation choice.
  • Question: What is considered a good organic matter level on a clay loam soil? Standard answer would be 5% OM. Meanwhile, that soil in its natural state would have more like 9%, and more is better. At 4% to 4.5% that land is still productive.
  • Build that soil carbon, for so many reasons. Agriculture soils can store carbon. Work on building that organic matter!
  • Planting corn into cereal rye? Kill the rye two weeks ahead of planting. Strip till works, too. Cereal rye helps in that organic matter equation.
  • Wheat time! Questions from Michigan, New York, Western Canada, and Ontario. How late is too late for winter wheat? How early is too early for spring wheat? So many options! Hear more about frost seeding wheat in Wester Canada here.
  • Soybeans in the bin with high moisture: what’s the prognosis – can I aerate them? TURN THE FAN ON. Either freeze them, or get them dried. When it warms up, hustle to get them dried.
  • Manure, again. What’s less bad to spread on, 2″-4″ of snow or bare frozen ground? Wait, if it’s solid manure, windrow it in the field! Between the tiles, away from water courses, and you’ve minimized off-site movement, and you haven’t spread it to off-target locations. Just stop the spreading, please.

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