Wheat Pete's Word, May 6: The big chill, two-pass fungicide timing, and protecting your face


After a decent start to the spring season, Ontario’s weather has done a bit of a 180 and turned cool and damp. What does it mean for planting and spraying?

In this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson covers why tank contents might be more important than temperature when it comes to the wheat crop and damage, making the most of fungicide on alfalfa, and whether or not over-seeding oats after a planting whoops is worthwhile.

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 times when staying socially connected, but staying physically apart is just so severe — and not being able to grieve and hold funerals right now is probably the toughest part of all of this COVID-19 distancing. Please, stay socially connected and support each other as much as you can
  • We’re into the busy season — remember to wear your sunscreen (when the sun comes out again). Remember to cover the back of the neck, top of the ears. The Aussies and cowboys have the right idea with their big hats. Get covered, and use that sunscreen. There are many farmers and extension staff with pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions on the face, nose, and neck. Just like all safety tips, think twice, and act once, for all jobs.
  • It’s so cold and damp! We have to wait for the soil to be fit, or you’ll be re-doing fields or will pay a yield penalty. No cold rain within 24 hours of planting for corn and soy, remember. Once the calendar turns to May, you need a good reason not to plant soybeans — cold temps are not enough of a reason, but cold rain is.
  • Can we spray the wheat on these cool days? Straight herbicide in the tank and above freezing, you should be OK, but it all depends on how many products are in the tank. If you’re adding a PGR, fertilizer, or fungicide (?) in the same pass? It could be a huge issue.
  • Can you apply UAN and ATS in these cold temps? Should be fine, but please don’t ever put 28% on wheat with white frost on it. Just sticks to that frost and burns. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s what happens.
  • Waxy cuticle matters, too, when avoiding leaf burn. There are differences between varieties.
  • Start walking those wheat fields — sulphur deficiencies and some micronutrient deficiencies, showing up too, likely because of cold soil. And it’s dry, relatively speaking.
  • When planning for two fungicide passes on wheat, when do you time the first pass? Count back about 21 days from the average heading out date — that gives you about 14 days of coverage, and only seven days ahead of T3 timing. That should give you good coverage for all disease, except maybe stripe rust, so keep scouting.
  • Fungicide on alfalfa options? Priaxor is registered: but you need 21 days of growth after application, and 28 would already be better, so it can get tight based on when you’d harvest. But it does add a nice yield boost!
  • Terrible timothy feedback. Not all people are wild talkers like you are, Pete, but it doesn’t mean they are useless, says one listener. If dry hay and green colour is the goal, timothy works (sounds like horse hay to me). One-cut systems, too.
  • Burn-down or no burn-down with cool temps? Glyphosate will be slow to work, and hard to control weeds will need a heavy hitter. Metribuzin antagonizes glyphosate, so you may have to bump glyphosate rates. Below -4 degrees C is an issue for glyphosate, too.
  • Oats mistake: a farmer went across the field and realized a settings mistake resulting in not enough seeds per acre. The oats have been in 9 days, do you go in and overseed? No, you’ll damage the emerging plants. Unless the population is dismal, just leave it. If you do go in, then treat it as a full re-seeding and go in with a full rate.

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