Wheat Pete's Word, Sept 25: Cereal rye yield drag, the grain dryer's real value, and worm wars


Welcome to another edition to Wheat Pete’s Word with your host and RealAgriculture’s resident agronomist, Peter ‘Wheat Pete’ Johnson!

This week, Johnson is on the Soil Network tour, but even the cross-Ontario trek couldn’t keep him from recording this week’s Word.

On this episode, learn about a new worm issue in corn, how the grain dryer can really pay its way, how Mother Nature can surprise us sometimes, and why one farmer’s clover just won’t flower. Listen now, or download to listen offline!


  • There are some great yields out there, thank goodness! 70 bushel/acre soybeans (field average). May 12-15 planted. Spots topped 90. Kazinga is a word now.
  • Drought-starved knolls 10 bu/ac, 20+ bu/ac field average.
  • Western Canada is flooding. 12″ of rain at Brandon, Man. Beans are under water… not good.
  • Maritimes: killing frost on the corn crop and only starting to dent in many cases. It was already flattened. Huge challenges ahead.
  • Upside? Seed size on edible beans and soybeans has been under average, but still in a good range.
  • Pull those beans off at higher moisture and dry them. Don’t lose that yield at 11 per cent moisture, and you get the wheat in.
  • Lambton County: July 3 planted corn. 2300 CHU corn, it is now denting. That’s cool, you guys. Probably need till about the 20th of October to hit black layer, but we are getting closer.
  • 2650 CHU hybrid planted June 12 has black layered … there’s hope!
  • Soil Network tour happening now from southern Ontario all the way to the east. There are definitely high levels of western bean cutworm and some ear worm, starting to see gibberella move in. It’s early, and we hope it doesn’t spread, but it is there.
  • Speaking of ear worms, our climate is more prone to ear worm now, so start to pay attention.
  • Wheat seeding depth โ€” it’s dry and there hasn’t been rain and there isn’t any in the forecast… do I stick with an inch to inch and a quarter and pray for rain or do you go to 3″ to moisture? In this case, deeper is OK.
  • Don’t wait for rain, get that wheat seed into the ground.
  • Seeding rate changes: 2.7 million seeds per acre, up from 2.3 million last year because he was disappointed with yield. Do some plots and see if it really is seeding rate that is limiting yield.
  • Seed lot varieties and calibrating the seed drill: 11,000 seeds per acre between both, but 15 per cent difference!
  • Wheat after barley, wheat after oat questions. Not as bad as wheat/wheat.
  • Ripped up hay after first cut, now the whole field is green (orchard grass?), established grass coming up through, not from seed. High rate of glyphosate and get the wheat planted. Watch if it comes back, could use Simplicity โ€” but it’s only a guess.
  • Rye after soybeans. Beans are coming off, could broadcast rye now, any issues ahead of corn? Termination options? On the Soil Health Tour, Lee Briese, every time corn after rye we reduce the corn yield. Great weed suppression out of cereal rye, but there’s something going on that drags on corn yield. See the same in North Dakota. Make sure you pure that cereal rye at least 2 weeks before the corn goes in and that may be a gamble. Try oats instead? They die on their own.
  • Hog manure timing โ€” late fall is better vs. early for N retention.
  • Single cut clover, 5″ high and no flowers. When do I plow and do I use a herbicide? Using a Chisel plow is OK, but yes, spray. It’s not going to flower until it freezes once. Leave it as long as you can (and still control it without wrecking the soil).
  • Last week’s worm talk beat up the moldboard plow vs. chemicals in zero till. Nope, plow is more destructive than chemicals. Facts.

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