Wheat Pete's Word, Sept 2: Wonky weather, grain in storage, and allelopathy


In agronomy — as with most things in life — it can be important to put things into perspective and to always ask if you’re not sure of the answer.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, RealAgriculture’s resident agronomist Peter Johnson gives us an overview of Ontario’s precipitation, some wheat problem solving (of course), and a quick breakdown of research out of the Denmark, Norway, and Sweden area that addresses why a crop after rye might not look so hot.

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].


  • It’s been hot! In 2020, there’s been 28 days recorded at Nature Nut Nick’s weather station, at over 30 degrees celsius. Not the record though.
  • It’s an average year in total heat unit accumulation. May was pretty cool, July was well above normal for heat.
  • Is it early to be combining edible beans? Not that early.
  • Meanwhile, rainfall. Owen Sound, 265 mm of rainfall in August. Essex County, heavy clay, another 110 mm rainfall, August total almost 300 mm. Four times the normal monthly amount.
  • Diagnostic Days wheat staging, cover crop oats. So much fun. You can see more of Diagnostic Days here. It was dry at that location! Three tenths of an inch in August. The weather is not equitable!
  • ALERT! Dry bean burn-downs, make sure the product you’re going to use for a burn-down is allowed. Check with your processor!
  • ANOTHER ALERT! Three different growers have sent pictures to Wheat Pete of Indian mealmoth in their stored wheat. High temps, they go through their life cycles quickly, doesn’t matter if it’s stored for a month, if it’s hauled in and you have them in there, tolerance is zero.
  • Broadcasting wheat into soybeans. Wet soil? Heavy clay soils with lots of manure? Are they late soybeans? Drilling in wheat might not work.
  • Find your optimum planting date for winter wheat at gocereals.ca under Optimum Planting Dates, it’ll make a difference for your seeding rate. Plan accordingly for you soybean harvest. Broadcasting into standing soybeans might work better.
  • Do I need to treat my wheat seed? Milverton. The heart of the snow belt. Dwarf bunt is a concern. If you don’t treat your wheat seed and if you get a bunt, it’ll be 100 per cent crop loss. Treat that wheat!
  • Winter barley planting dates. If going to the field a little early, pull the seeding rate back a little bit. Snow mould can be an issue with too much growth.
  • Third cut alfalfa/grass/hay going into winter wheat. If you’ve already cut that hay, you’re outta the game. You have to kill it two weeks before you plant the winter wheat. Pay attention to your tank mix and your timing.
  • Can I still spray my wheat stubble? Lambsquarters and pigweed coming on strong, already in seed, it’s too late. Clip, clip, clip, stop that seed from maturing.
  • How much potash can I put on with my wheat seed, seeding into hay? Take-all is a concern, one of the management practices is putting on some potash, but it’s not the K that works, it’s the chloride. 50 lbs of 0-0-60, safe and will help with that take-all.
  • Allelopathy.  Researchers from Scandinavia tested out 24 rye varieties, 11 triticale, and 33 wheat. They found that rye is by far the most allelopathic. Triticale only has 80 per cent as much allelopathic chemicals in the root, and 19 per cent in the shoot. Putting those two together, root and shoot, then triticale is only 50 per cent as allelopathic as rye. Wheat has 19 per cent in the root, only one per cent in the shoot. Putting those two numbers together, it’s only 10 per cent as allelopathic as rye. This is a problem when rye was used as a cover crop. Thanks for sending along the research article Dr. Francois Tardif!

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