Wheat Pete's World, April 22: Weather disparity, market spikes, cold soil, and herbicide in cold weather


Western Canada is working on its tan and getting some crop in the ground, while Ontario gets snow squalls. But a few flurries won’t stop all fieldwork from happening, and this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word has a few updates and answers to the top agronomy questions.

From a look at how far crop storage has come to a corn hybrid issue in Ontario, and on to strip tillage, cold soil, cold plant, cold herbicide concerns, we’ve got a timely update for you, below!

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].


  • Only one episode this week, but let us know what you thought of the dual episodes from last week
  • COVID-19 update: we’re flattening the curve! Please, stay home, but stay social.
  • Pete’s brother reminded him that a 2600 bushel grain buggy is bigger than the first bin built on their family farm all those years ago
  • ALERT ALERT ALERT: not all corn hybrids for sale in Ontario are approved for export into the EU (Read more about that here).
  • Snow squalls in Ontario but plus 20 in the west! It’s chilly in Ontario, but relatively dry (except for some areas). Should you be out rolling? Well…
  • If it’s dry enough to work the strip-till now, will it be too dry by planting time? Nope, roll on.
  • Whoops! Mistake: on dissolved urea calculation (it’s 16% N, 1.5 pounds of N/gallon)
  • Cereal rye went in at 30 pounds per acre, seeded in September. Will make a great forage crop. When you plant early, you can use less seed. More on that later.
  • Mount Forest farmer catching up on fieldwork that didn’t get done last fall. No mud on the tires, so that’s been good.
  • But the cold may end up an issue. Minus 5 overnight, frost heaving even the dandelions! What a jerk.
  • When the farmer added 46 more pounds of N, not only did it net 9 bushels more of wheat, but also 325 pounds more of straw, too (growth regulator makes straw shorter, but thicker)
  • Joanna Follings, cereal specialist for OMAFRA, says the last 15 days have accumulated the same heat units as in the 15 days previous, which means it’s slooooow to warm up
  • The cold weather sure does help you find those holes in the wheat crop. If you think you have holes, go in early and seed in a spring cereal (barley is good! but find your market first)
  • Wheat doesn’t mind cold temps, so don’t worry about that, OK?
  • Red clover lots of it, but just little plants — will it be ok? At the unifoliate stage is quite cold tolerant (for both clover and alfalfa)
  • Manganese deficiency in wheat showing up. It’s because of dry weather, cool soil, and little root growth. Yes, go in and rectify it.
  • Purple wheat everywhere! It’s a stress reaction. Air temps are above zero, so it’s growing, but the cold nights are cooling the plants and the soil, limiting root growth. The plant needs to put energy somewhere and it can’t put it in the roots. Some varieties are more susceptible. Compaction and poor drainage areas are usually the worst. So mark those spots!
  • Can I grow wheat on wheat to make the most of good prices? Well, yes, but automatically you’ll need to account for 10% yield loss and you can’t put it in as early as you think. Also, how much wheat is already in the rotation?
  • Do I plant corn? Do I plant soys? It’s the cold drink of water that hurts the seed so much. So cool, dry soil and warm rain is OK. But if there’s cold rain in the forecast in the first 48 hours, don’t do it. Cold night time temps are not the issue.
  • Pre-emerge/soil-applied herbicides should be OK as well, in cooler temps
  • What about herbicide on wheat? The wheat will likely be OK, but make sure it’s herbicide by itself in the tank and target zero or higher temps, if you can swing it.

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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 6 (2020) Episode 36

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