Wheat Pete's Word, July 31: Silk channels, yield results, egg masses, and pesky field margin weeds


The dog days of summer are upon us, and even though the Ontario corn crop started off late, warm weather is moving the crop forward…straight into silking and prime gibberella infection season.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson tackles the toughest agronomy questions of the week, plus celebrates a milestone, and has an ask for everyone revving up those combines. Listen below, and check out the summary 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].


  • We’ve hit a milestone! July 31st is Greg Stewart’s birthday and the last page in Wheat Pete’s book of questions. Don’t worry; there’s another book.
  • The weather is still top of mind for every farmer. In Ontario, wet bands are staying wet, and dry bands are staying dry, to too dry. A grower from Lindsay says wet conditions into June delayed planting to June 20th, and they’ve only had two-tenths since then
  • Tasselling is a key time for some much — plant stress now will have a significant impact on yield potential.
  • Pat Lynch says a grower with corn and soy that went in end of June still has no crop. What happened? Didn’t seed to moisture. Ouch.
  • Send in that plot data! Winter wheat and barley yields must be out there — send them to [email protected].
  • Brandt County farmer has early wheat averaging 90 to 100 bushels/acre, even on some clay ground. Well done.
  • Most of the early wheat is quite solid from a yield perspective. Manage it and treat it right, even when Mother Nature doesn’t play nice. Get that wheat in right this fall
  • Blackpoint correction! Got it a little mixed up last time. Smudge tolerances and blackpoint is different. In soft red, to get to a Grade 3, you need 20% blackpoint, and 35% for worse than that.  past that. Soft white grade specs are tighter for tolerances. Check around with other elevators if you’ve got an issue with blackpoint. There are reports of some soft white winter wheat sprouting.
  • Weedy edges and weedy patches — if you see a weed escape, please get it identified and tested. Waterhemp, fleabane, velvet leaf, you name it, sometimes they just got missed but you don’t want them to spread
  • Fungicide on corn for gibberella control: green silk is a must for application timing. It’s only a three to a five-day window, so you have to be ready and on your game. That’s the silk channel infection window, and that’s the worst infection type. The issue? Variability. When the majority of plants, those earlier silking ones, are full green, go in three to four days later, to protect the most plants.
  • Humidity in the afternoon in the canopy can creep up into the 80-plus range given the weather pattern in the rain zone areas. Pay attention to humidity, not just rainfall.
  • Proline, Caramba, Miravis Neo — three products available for gibberella control, but there are some misconceptions out there regarding what they can do on leaf disease, too. Neo offers two modes of action, which is cool.
  • Fungicides give a yield benefit, but some products CAN impact DON levels, though it’s not a cut-and-dried list. Are the strobis the problem? There are options.
  • Western bean cutworm numbers are all over the map. The best timing for control, if needed, is when we’d be targeting those green silks, too. What about lots of moths, but no egg masses? Sometimes they are hard to find…once you’re at 5% (5 out of 100 plants). Cumulative! Don’t spray if you don’t need too, because it speeds resistance.
  • Watch your peduncles! No spraying glyphosate until you’ve got physiological maturity.
  • Peter will discuss corn maturity next week!

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