Wheat Pete's Word, July 29: Leafhoppers, peak flight of WBC, and managed wheat results


Hot, dry weather isn’t letting up for many areas of Ontario, and the impact of heat is showing up in wheat yields.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson has got some timely reminders for farmers as we head into the middle of summer. From leafhoppers in alfalfa, to peak flight of western bean cutworm, and on to what the plot results say about managing wheat, listen now to this week’s Word (or download for later!).

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].

  • Dang it! Some tech issues with the Word last week. Sorry for the delay in getting the file up and running.
  • The drought continues in Ontario — the eastern part of the province is really hurting and yields show it. Some winter wheat yields are pretty poor.
  • What’s caused so much variability in corn? The soil is telling us about our management, says Ken Currah, and he’s bang on.
  • Wheat responds to management. Still seeing highest wheat yields with split-N apps. It seems to have paid this year, which is somewhat surprising.
  • Early planted wheat responded to fungicide, at 5,8, or even 10 bushels. In late October planted wheat, however, there was almost no response. Why? Later planted wheat had its grain fill period in the hotter part of the year, and we don’t see a response.
  • Broadcast wheat into standing soybeans — is it a good idea? Well, it’s a risk. You must up the seeding rate, slugs can eat all the germ of the seeds on the surface, and you’re at bigger risk of frost heaving. Can lose 10% of yield potential when broadcasting.
  • Sulphur year, for sure! Where one farmer didn’t put sulphur, he lost 18 bushels on wheat.
  • 120 N vs 180 N rate trials. Six bushel per acre response to extra N, but mainly on early planted wheat with good soils with good yield potential.
  • Get that wheat out of the field. It’s testing at 17+% moisture right now. Looking at 12% wheat vs 14%, you take a 2.3% yield loss at 12%, which costs you about 16 cents per bushel. Get good quality out at 17% and dry it, vs. giving up yield for over-dry wheat. Some buyers are willing to waive the drying cost for good quality.
  • It’s an INSECT year. There’s lots of leaf chewing happening, but you need 20% defoliation to really make not just a spray worth it, but to make the cost to the beneficials worth it. Spider mites are only controlled by dimethoate, remember. Other products don’t kill the mites, but do kill your friends in the field. Don’t spray unless you have to, and use an effective mode of action.
  • Also, no fine droplets, please. Medium coarse droplet, get the droplet to the target. 20 gallons minimum, and go up from there.
  • Leafhoppers are really bad. After every cut of alfalfa, scout. SCOUT. SCOUT. You may have to control the pest.
  • Edible beans may need it too, if you get past the residual window.
  • Just about at peak flight for western bean cutworm. If you sprayed insecticide more than seven to 10 days ago, you may have to spray again. And late tasseling corn is at highest risk, as it is very attractive right now.
  • If there aren’t corn plants that suit, the moths will move to edible beans — you won’t see the egg masses there, though.
  • Forage oats: seed at 70 pounds of seed, 50 pounds of N, and spray with a fungicide for rust. Only want a cover crop? Go at 35 pounds of seed, it’s all you need.

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