Wheat Pete's Word, April 24: SOS, spring ruts, dandelion control, salvaging beans, and P and K in straw


Every week should be soil week, but this week especially as we mark National Soil Conservation week. Wheat Pete’s Word host Peter Johnson challenges listeners to think differently about soil in this week’s edition — at a minimum, stay off the darn fields while they’re wet, and feed that soil some residue!

Also this week, the early-growing weeds are starting their sprint to flower, and seeing as we can’t get to the fields right away, now is the time to plan your attack. Listen for that, plus what you can do with overwintered soybeans and what straw is really worth.

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].


  • It’s national soil conservation week/Earth week — every week should be soil week! Watch your fence row for wheat survival — if the wheat is doing well there, or better than the rest of the field it’s not wheat’s fault it’s not growing. You can improve drainage and organic matter. It was there before.
  • Building soil is for the long term, and necessary for a future. Challenge yourself to think long-term and change one thing
  • It’s damp…ok, it’s wet. 50-85 mm of rain over a few days in parts of Ontario has left fields wet. We’re seeing spring harvested corn, and that leaves huge ruts….wait a minute, you waited this long and now you’re going to make ruts? Compaction in the spring doesn’t have the winter to freeze/thaw. They’re worse now.
  • N on wheat, even on lighter ground left ruts, and that’s a head-scratcher, as nothing has been really starving. Be patient on getting on the field.
  • Soybeans left out over winter, do you bother harvesting them? They’re feed, at best.
  • Winter canola, Meghan Moran says the corp at Kent-Essex counties is staring to bolt.
  • Mid-November planted wheat in the Niagara peninsula is just starting to emerge. Why the difference? Growing points and soil temp, y’all. Air temp has been the advantage to the canola crop.
  • Colt’s foot is blooming, which means dandelion is next, and fleabane is coming on strong. Be ready, as dandelion gets real tough to kill once it flowers. Chickweed is in bloom, too. You need the proper coverage and rates or be disappointed with control (for fleabane especially — and watch for resistance)!
  • Dandelion pre-emerge in spring wheat? It’s a different mix than soybean burndown, remember. Because the spring wheat provides some competition. Glyphosate works, but you can add some others, too.
  • Crabgrass on sandy knolls out-competes the alfalfa in the establishment year. One farmer uses Prowl in establishment year and Poast in-crop the next year (alfalfa only) but…
  • Alert! Dr. Peter Sikkema has confirmed Group 1 resistance in some crabgrass types, some are totally resistant to Poast, somewhat resistant to Venture and Assure, but Select will give control.
  • Can I just count stems for making the call on winter wheat? Be cautious on translating advice from a far geographic region — climate conditions matter! Stems on fall tillers will almost always make a head, unlike some areas.
  • October wheat is tillering! September wheat is approaching growth stage 30, with high yield potential, Manipulator timing is growth stage 30 to 31, if you choose to use it, so pay attention.
  • 2 tillers on September wheat, 80 pounds of N, and then 3.25″ rain — is it gone? Not as likely, with our cool temps. It’ll grow, we haven’t had the heat yet. Be patient.
  • STRAW! One listener says on great soil, they get 8,000 pounds of straw on 120 bushel wheat….what a minute, that means you should be able to make more grain (unless you really want the straw, I guess). Variety plays a huge role, check out GoCereals.ca to compare.
  • Cut low, use a flex head, get that straw
  • How much is it worth? Page 113 of Ontario’s Agronomy Guide — P and K in a pound of straw .05/pound, as high as a penny a pound.


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