Wheat Pete's Word, July 17: Aphid sightings, the first WBC moth, and a little cover crop help


The corn is growing like a bad weed, while the earliest of the fall-seeded crops are starting to get harvested. Just in time, Ontario is getting some heat and humidity, and that means all sorts of questions for the host of Wheat Pete’s Word.

In this week’s Word, Peter Johnson covers fusarium/DON development in the wheat crop, which two insects finally got spotted this past week, and some dos and don’ts for clover options in the cover crop.

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].


  • Harvest begins! 144 bu/ac of winter barley down at Sarnia. Tremendous number of small kernels, just not enough sunshine and warmth to fill those kernels.
  • Corn is pedal to the metal right now, even growing at night because of the sunshine and the heat.
  • 30 crop heat units per day right about now for corn. It’s catching up.
  • Unfortunately, those crops that went in rough are still struggling, but many are looking so much better given the rough start most had.
  • The poor wee wheat crop and the barley crop are not loving this heat, and it’s not great weather for fill.
  • Best fields in Essex County were early planted on great ground, and look really good — but on clay soils, 40 to maybe 90 bushels/acre. Well over 100 in other areas. Low DON, high test weight.
  • At harvest, blow those small, infected kernels out, please.
  • Fungicide application does decrease DON levels in final grain sample. It’s worth it.
  • Is there a maximum amount of kernels per floret? Well, yes, but anything past four isn’t likely to fill.
  • Does flag leaf size contribute to yield?  Well, the flag leaf does contribute to yield, but bigger isn’t necessarily always better.  Some are actually breeding for smaller flags.
  • Hail has destroyed many fields in Western Canada. After hail on a wheat crop, do I wait on the tillers? Kelly Turkington’s latest Wheat School describes it well.
  • ALERT! ALERT! But only two alerts, because the soybean aphids have shown up. Scout!
  • Potato leafhopper report: watch your new seeding out, please.
  • When is the western bean cutworm’s peak flight timing? Well, the first moth showed up last week. So keep scouting, because it’ll likely be a later flight than average.
  • Gibberella control in corn is weather dependent, with three different products now. Target the silks, and goes hand-in-hand with western bean cutworm scouting.
  • Sporecaster app — use for soybeans, but not for edible beans. White mould is a risk now that we’re back into rain and heat and humidity. At R1.5 is first application (75% of plants have one flower).  It’s early. Be ready.
  • Wheat for seed? No pre-harvest glyphosate.
  • One farmer has red clover as high as the wheat in the open spots. Need some Eragon and some tank mixes to burn off the top eight to ten inches. It’ll take a week or so to dry.
  • Fallow corn syndrome: No live roots, so get some growing! Cover crops can work.
  • Clover in oats for forage? Crimson or red will help for sure. But not if going into wheat, just not enough time for clover.
  • Buckwheat makes a great plow-down but don’t let it go to seed. Same for sunflowers
  • Cereal rye for emergency straw? No, that’s not going to work. Instead, treat it like a winter wheat crop. Take it for hay.

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