Wheat Pete's Word, May 22: Reappearing wheat, cold corn, a fleabane warning, and a rust alert


It’d be fantastic if this Wheat Pete’s Word update included a milestone planting progress update, but 2019 is proving to be a slow one for much of Ontario. And while Western Canada is having much more luck getting the crop in, areas are still dry to very dry.

Questions submitted for this week’s show involve getting nitrogen on to wheat in the nick of time, when to swap out corn hybrids (now or soon, y’all), and our first disease alert! alert! alert! of the season. Listen on as host Peter Johnson tackles the top agronomy questions for this late May update.

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].


  • U-G-L-Y weather in Ontario. There’s tile-run oats out there, people. This weather is backwards.
  • Reports of frost on May 21 in some areas in Ontario. Raining on Wednesday at Lucan.
  • About five to 10 per cent of the corn crop is in, likely.
  • The first planted corn took 37 days to emerge. No joke.
  • 175 CHU accumulated May 1 to May 21…and you need about that in heat units to get that corn out of the ground, so it’s taking 3 weeks if you planted May 1.
  • Kirkton area, there’s still so much corn in the bag, one listener reports.
  • This year is causing stress, we get it. But, as listener Abram says, the calendar says it’s late, and it’s getting late, but if you think about the sap run — it started the latest it’s ever started. But! it was short and super sweet, and really great. Let’s use that as a predictor and stay positive, if we plant this crop right.
  • Canola is blooming in the Windsor area.
  • Cereal rye is beginning to head out, slowly but surely.
  • It’s time to switch hybrids for corn: the market wants you to plant corn, your soil wants you to grow corn, so fine-tune those hybrids! In 2014, corn went in May 28 and 90% was in by June 8th and the provincial yield was still respectable.
  • New lines are much improved, don’t be afraid to switch out to shorter season hybrids!
  • 2800 heat units, swap out now, 100 heat units off every five to seven days, for 2300-2750 heat units, start scaling back May 25
  • Soybeans need to go in when they can, so you can get the winter wheat in on time. Use the drill! Drive on.
  • IP Beans and glyphosate-resistant fleabane…you’ve got no rescue treatment. Know what’s in your field, and watch that weed spectrum before you plant
  • It’s a horsetail year! Delayed planting, cool temps. What’s a decent burndown ahead of corn? The good news is, it will die, but don’t work the soil too soon after an MCPA application. And MCPA is actually a little hard on corn. There are a few other options.
  • Spray…then bale corn stalks, then put in beans? Absolutely not! Bale, then spray.
  • Winter wheat — once the flag leave emerges it’s simply too late for weed control
  • ALERT! One stripe rust lesion spotted in Ontario. It’ll spread FAST. Keep an eye out.
  • Disappearing, reappearing wheat. What’s going on? Likely cold temperature effect. Enjoy the wheat that’s there!
  • How late can you put on N on wheat? After heading, you can STILL increase yield, but every day counts, just don’t expect miracles.
  • Need more wheat yield? It’s all about N timing. Earlier means more yield, later means more protein.

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