Wheat Pete's Word, April 10: Help for patchy wheat, maple syrup season, and pasture rejuvenation


From the sweet, sweet taste of maple syrup, to the sad state of this Ontario wheat crop, this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word has something for just about everyone.

Host Peter Johnson covers soil structure problems, patchy wheat problems, seed-placed fertilizer and so much more in the audio below. Listen now or listen later!

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].


  • Wheat Pete met with agriculture business students at Fanshawe College at London and they brought the questions! Like, “what do you think of the new Canada food guide and how it impacts farmers and agriculture?” The future is bright.
  • #Plant19 is rolling! Sugar beets went in March 29 in Ontario, some spring cereals are in, some pasture rejuvenation is happening, and N has gone on some wheat.It’s a  little wet now but soil is firmer than anticipated, so hope we roll soon.
  • Harvest19 is on too! We’re talking maple syrup, of course, and that harvest is wrapping up in southern areas. It was ashort season but a good season, sometimes running all night. Cheers to that, it’s pancake time
  • Ontario is big, of course. The north shore still has a foot of snow as of April 4…Ottawa Valley got a whack of snow Wednesday, too
  • A thanks for being here on the website, and not on the phone 🙂 Tell your friends..
  • Ah, wheat. SAD FACE. This Ontario crop has all sorts of issues, you can tell it was a tough winter. September wheat looks great, but still has holes. Snow mould and icing over contributed, as does standing water. Check out the Wheat School for more.
  • Drainage and soil structure is the story here — water movement is key (Think vertically!) If you look at the old field borders/fencerow, and there’s a perfect stand of wheat, you know the farmed area needs help. The fencerow is showing you what the field can do with good organic matter, and good soil structure and that means water can move down the soil profile.
  • On heavy clay soils some are going to have to re-seed….soybeans aren’t the only option. They’re much of the soil structure problem, and roots and crop residue is key. Don’t perpetuate the problem. Choose something else,  please. Think long term.
  • Manage these wheat fields to make sure you can take advantage of those $7/bu prices. What do you do with gaps/holes? Fill them, but choose carefully. Spring barley in winter barley is easy, but it gets tougher with wheat (oats, barley). Maybe clover? Soybeans? Keep it covered.
  • Remember you need 10 plants per foot of row for yield potential, seven plants is OK if they’re well tillered — that’s not this crop, remember.
  • Would a little bit of tickle tillage ahead of the wheat corp had helped? It may have ahead of the September crop, but the opposite is true for the October-planted crop. It’s all about the weather after tillage.
  • Seed-placed vs broadcast phosphorus on wheat: on a tough crop, you can’t beat seed-placed. Broadcast is better than none, though
  • Streamer bar vs streamer nozzles. Bars are pretty great, uniform, safer on crop, but folding the boom can be tricky. The three and six streamers can be problematic with a bouncy boom.
  • Pushing spring wheat: do you need to push seeding rates? Aim for 30 live plants per square foot; that’s about 1.6 million/acre in Ontario. Split N? Brings something to the table, but the key is fine-tuning the second app to potential and conditions.
  • Variable rate wheat seeding — more seed on eroded knolls, ignore the drowned spot
  • MAP with soybeans: In eastern Ontario some are doing it and are getting away with it. On very low soil test and on heavy clays that can work, but you will almost always get a reduction in plants. Do the plots! Compare broadcast vs seed-placed.
  • Corn indoors for  a bit of fun, red/brown at the tips of the leaves ….phos and N missing, likely.
  • PEI farmer broadcasts red clover every year, and has brought a pasture back to a good mix of legumes and grass. Well done!

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