Wheat Pete's Word, Nov 6: Open husks, lodged corn, colourful wheat, and green beans


Are you a hand-shelling corn kind of farmer, or do you like a hand-held moisture meter kind of person? We’ve got something for everyone in this episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, including some neat devices for moisture testing, why corn is drying down faster than many thought possible, and what’s up with funky-coloured wheat.

In this week’s Word, host Peter Johnson also tackles what’s new with the Ontario cereal performance trials, and why green soybeans happen.

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].


  • Data divas and dudes — get to SWAC! Registration opened November 1 and it’s 20% full already. Register early! Southwestagconference.ca
  • Performance trial data for Ontario spring cereals is up on GoCereals.ca. Raven, on 3-year data, is blowing the doors off of the competition. Moderately susceptible to fusarium and doing great in Area 2 and 3.
  • A few things to note in the performance data: Managed vs. standard (sprayed vs. not) Area 2, we see a significant yield bump, and Area 3, too (especially with oats) but Area 5? No yield increase! Wild.
  • Halloween was sure scary for the corn crop! WIND WIND WIND. Lodging has become a significant issue for many. It’s worst on immature corn that’s just now sitting around 28-30% moisture. Opened up fields are worse, of course. Just a struggle with standability. Leaving fields over winter means the crop will have to weather several of these wind storms. When you get in the combine, you realize the crop looks good from far but is far from good.
  • Strip-till corn along the road you can see is tipped, with the root ball pulled up in the strip-till band. Would you see that in conventional tillage? Perhaps less so, but still possible.
  • As predicted, moisture is dropping in the corn crop. Even with poor conditions! Lots of feedback on Twitter etc. about corn drying standing.
  • Is it possible to calculate loss per day? It depends on the differential so it would get complicated. You’d have to factor in wind speed at cob level, the openness of cob husks, etc. There are really nice open husks this year and that helps, too!
  • Hand-shelled vs through the combine checking moisture. What about a wood moisture tester from Canadian Tire? It’s close! Within 1%. SPI model looks closest. Might be worth a look.
  • Cob drop continues — less cob loss with plastic vs. steel snouts? Let us know.
  • Plenty of fines in the corn sample and that comes down to kernel integrity and the tough season we’ve got. Worn concaves seem to be easier on the kernel. Have feedback? Do send it along! Remember: speed smashes. Run the cylinder/rotor slow as you can and still get the job done.
  • Pete is still getting test weight complaints. Get over it! Given the year we had, a Grade 3 or 4 is the best we could hope for. Drive on.
  • Large acres of wheat in the ground in Ontario and stands look ahead of last year. Most of the crop went into excellent seeding conditions. BUT there is yellow wheat where the chaff was (oat crop or soybean crop that came off), and urea didn’t help. It’s more likely poor root growth under the chaff. It’s under stress and/or has wet feet — not much to do about it.
  • Purple and red wheat, oh my! Purple could be phosphorus deficiency, but almost always, it’s caused by restricted root growth at this stage.
  • Wheat on unseeded acres: The farmer worked the ground, sprayed weeds, and spread manure. The crop went in early, but whoa there are weeds! Was going to spray this fall, but ugh! too wet to spray. Will I lose yield? Surprisingly, not as bad as you might think.
  • Soybeans at R6 and staying green. Green beans can be an issue (more here). Blend ’em down. They’ll dry, too.
  • Manure: dry beef manure fall vs. spring. YES, in the fall. Not in the spring. Don’t you dare slow down spring planting. Make sure it’s incorporated in the fall.

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