Wheat Pete's Word, Jan 15: Rain and extreme cold, the cost of resistance, and manure on snow


It’s been a week of wild weather: extreme cold in the west, and warm and very wet weather in the east. Understandably, overland flooding in Ontario has many farmers asking about the impact on the wheat crop. Peter Johnson has the answer you need in this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word.

Johnson shares some of the most impactful presentations at last week’s Southwest Ag Conference, answers questions about fertilizer differences, and has a take-to-heart message for all: no manure on frozen ground!

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].


  • There are so many great learning events coming up. Get out there and learn!
  • Record rainfall on January 11 in Ontario. Over 50 mm (2″) fell in one day in some areas. There’s nothing growing, and frozen ground plus wind equals erosion. Ouch. Wet soil shouldn’t blow, and, yet snirt (snow + dirt) abounds. Tilled and plowed land is still susceptible to erosion. Keep pushing for cover crops.
  • Yes, crazy rain, but there were double digit temps for southern Ontario last week, too.
  • Western Canada though, hitting -50 degrees C with the windchill. It’s just so frigid.
  • Is the wheat OK with this warm weather and puddles of water? Well, if you plant it early and you get some leaf growth, you can actually keep roots alive, but small plants just may not have the above ground growth to do that. Water is one thing, ice is worse. This time of year, it’s not respiring much. Fingers crossed it will be OK.
  • Wheat responds to day length and temperature (re: hardening off before freeze up). Plants are cool.
  • Did you catch any of SWAC? Check out RealAgriculture coverage, including this video on the cost of controlling Palmer amaranth (similar to waterhemp, which we do have in Ontario).
  • Good stewardship NOW can avoid some of the very expensive control options down the road (Check out the Resistance Management School, here)
  • Are you marketing right now? Make some sales at profitable prices, which, surprisingly might be attainable now for corn and wheat
  • Don’t pay storage on corn and wheat at a commercial elevator!
  • Shop around and get pricing some fertilizer ahead of the spring rush. There are some real benefits to putting some time in.
  • Is there a difference in red vs. white potash? There certainly can be some differences, such as dust level, but it has more to do with how it’s processed than the colour/type.
  • Seeding wheat early in Western Canada: is there a moisture benefit to liquid fertilizer? Uptake difference? You’d think so, but the amount of moisture is inconsequential on a field scale. There are other considerations that are more important, like ease of handling, cost, and the equipment you run currently.
  • Does 32% need to be rained in? (Side note: 32% is the same as 28% here (we add water so it won’t salt out)). Dew should do it. Depends how dry it is.
  • A farmer wants to watch nitrate levels and soil sampled in late November but didn’t get samples sent off. Still good? Not. A. Chance. If it’s warm, the soil bugs keep working and will change the levels. If it was frozen all this time, sure.
  • Manure on snow. Last week there was manure going out on frozen ground and on snow. If the snow is frozen enough to carry a tractor and tanker it is TOO FROZEN to spread manure. Especially ahead of a rain. Guess where it’s not going to be? On your field. Guess where it will go? The water courses. Just stop. Please.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 6 (2020) Episode 51

Please register to read and comment.


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.