Wheat Pete's Word, April 8: Ultra early soybean planting, split N apps, and a "red" alert


We’ve got our first ALERT of the season, and it’s a great one! Yup, that’s right, there’s rhubarb poking through the soil, and even some asparagus is up in Ontario. Our apologies to large parts of Western Canada that got a foot of snow this past week.

The somewhat ahead-of-schedule warmth has the questions flooding into Peter ‘Wheat Pete’ Johnson for this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word. On this episode, Johnson answers questions on split application nitrogen on wheat, sulphur tests, and applications, field selection for hybrid rye, plus shares some new information about the 2019 corn 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].


  • Rhubarb is up, even in eastern Ontario! Asparagus is up in the south, too. We’re sorry, Western Canada, but it sure does seem like spring has sprung for Ontario and Quebec.
  • What do you do if you or an employee test positive for COVID-19? The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has some great resources available (check those here and Public Health here). Stay safe.
  • County corn yields are in. 94% average yield for the province. Not bad, everyone. Not bad, at all, given the year. Haldimand-Norfolk were 15% above average. Kawarthas was two-thirds of average yields. A story of where the rain fell.
  • Red clover frost seeded at -10 to -12 degrees C and you can see every mark of the 4-wheeler. Farmer says he expects to see that impact
  • Resistant waterhemp now confirmed in 11 counties of Ontario. It’s been found in Essex, all the way to Bruce count, and from Elgin to Wentworth county, plus Northumberland. If you spy a pigweed that seems to have escaped spraying, investigate further.
  • A farmer at Elora who is no-till does strip-till for corn, and wants to try bio-strips, tillage radish in 30″ with cereal rye and crimson clover in between. December 27th went out and sprayed out wheat strips (left from the windrow of 2019), and got great kill. Wow. Apparently, if it’s cold and the plant is susceptible, sometimes it works.
  • November 23, drilled in cereal rye, and it looks amazing. Going to cut for forage, and it might even be better than the earlier stuff.
  • Hybrid rye went on unplanted acres last fall, and looked amazing going in to winter, but now it’s all heaved out of the ground. Rye doesn’t like heavy clays or wet feet, and heavy clay heaves, unfortunately.
  • Plant. Soybeans. First. No kidding. Why? Because soybeans can handle less than ideal soil conditions better than corn. Get some acres out of the way early now (and get a longer season variety, too!) But watch out for cold rain in the forecast. If a soybean seed’s first drink of water is a cold one, it definitely hurts the stand. Check out some more info on 2019 trials here. And make sure there’s a seed treatment applied, too.
  • There is some corn and soybeans in the ground already in Ontario.
  • There is actually a risk of premature flowering in April, so that’s where that long-season soybean variety matters
  • Winter wheat has greened up, and we’re probably 2 weeks ahead of last year. Is there a yield advantage to split applications of N? Some years, yes, but unfortunately, it’s not a consistent response. It’s more about risk management — you risk loss, and splitting N can help with standability and tillering when used strategically.
  • Did you catch the RealAg Live segment? Following the live segment, one farmer contacted Wheat Pete to ask about sulphur soil tests and sulphur rates. The fact is, sulphur soil tests aren’t great, and so with variable findings, still treat the whole field as needing some S if some of the cores were low.

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