Wheat Pete's Word, Aug 26: Bean dry-down, the power of the plow, and the magic of manure


In agronomy, sometimes it’s what you don’t do that adds value. At this time of year, that could mean not going in too early with a pre-harvest burn-down product, or parking the plow.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson tallies up the early results on the Ontario wheat crop, why edible bean yield may have suffered but why soybeans may still hold real promise, and a discussion on why the plow isn’t always (or even usually) the answer. Plus, the bean crop is highly variable — maybe waiting on a pre-harvest pass is the smartest idea.

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].


  • Wheat yields! A little competition is always nice. Get those wheat yields into Agricorp, Ontario.
  • Wheat average from the province is below trendline, it seems
  • Edible beans are nearly ready to harvest! It’s early. Does that have an impact? Yes! Maybe big wheat acres…and big yield potential, but lower yield potential of the edible bean crop.
  • Poor pod set in some of the edible beans (cranberry and otebo for sure), the persnickety types, have lower yields. More sensitive to hot, dry conditions over flowering.
  • Corn and soybean yield tours promise big soybean yield
  • Mount Forest has a big crop coming. Hay yields are amazing, some places are getting a fourth cut of alfalfa. Cooler area on average, so benefiting to the warmer weather and timely rain. Need feed? There will be a hay auction, if you want it.
  • Plant counts limit yield in the corn crop. But wait! You said roll if the soil is fit, but now you’re saying we planted too early into cold soil? Do we know 28,000 final plants planted on the 4th of May isn’t going to out-yield higher numbers planted at the end of May? We don’t know that, or at least not yet.
  • The magic of manure is driving some top yield potential in corn. It’s great to see.
  • So much variability in the corn crop, and it’s happened in the edible bean crop too, so how do you time the burndown? Maturity is all over the map! There’s no penalty to desiccating too late, but there sure is in going in too early (hello, residue!)
  • Only two products: Eragon (90% pod yellow, read more here, needs physiological maturity to stop translocation). Two day pre-harvest interval (PHI). Ignite is slower, with a 9-day PHI. They need the heat of the day to really be active. Not like Reglone. Use high water volume.
  • Here we go: The Plow. Heavy clay soil and red clover and wheat. Old timers say the best way to handle red clover is the plow. BUT, for the soil, it’s like a hurricane, tornado, and earthquake all at once. You lose 20% of your earthworms when you plow. Minimum should be the goal, not more.
  • If you’ve got a heavy clay with too many beans, and lots of corn, and no wheat or clover in rotation, improving soil structure takes time.
  • Is it worth clipping the weeds in the red clover crop? Yes! The red clover will come back better and we don’t want the weeds to go to seed (going into corn next year). But if it’s annual weeds in alfalfa, alfalfa will outcompete those next year. Not that we like to let them go to seed, but if you cut it back now it’ll have to work hard to re-grow. For some areas, September 1 is the beginning of the critical harvest period, remember.
  • Re-seeding a thin alfalfa stand (you can in the first year!) — get a low disturbance drill, get in a half inch down, and roll on

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