Wheat Pete's Word, Oct 28: Colourful wheat, resistant rootworm, green dust, and the Goldilocks zone


Yield results are trickling in, and regional differences sure do tell the tale of spring conditions and summer rain (or lack thereof) for the 2020 growing season.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, we take a look at crop yields across Ontario, but also into Quebec, and as far as the east coast. Also in this episode, host Peter Johnson explains why there’s green dust coming off of corn at harvest, why early wheat is looking colourful, and an alert about the Bt resistance traits.

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].


  • Think twice, act once. Lock the header, use the seatbelts, use the brake. Working in the bush? Be safe, don’t work alone! We lost a farmer to a tree accident.
  • Beans that are out, getting cleaned up. Still quite a few acres to come in in eastern Ontario
  • Goldilocks corn! Just right. Plots coming out of some areas with the lows at 270 bu/acre! WHAT?
  • Out of that zone, into the very good zone (non-officially), Chatham-Kent, hitting about 240 bu/ac in the plots, north of London/Woodstock, cold enough at planting knocked back plant numbers and cob numbers and 225 to 230 is the top, roughly
  • Full season corn is finally starting to reach decently dried down range, shorter season hybrids are quite dry
  • Moving east to Quebec, and to the east coast! Spring cereals were pretty crappy. Just got hit by that dry weather early on. Soybeans on the east coast, not great, at all. Corn is not great but not awful.
  • What the heck is the green dust coming off the corn crop? Frosted leaves end up getting infected with fungus that eats dead tissue (secondary saprophytes). It should be grey or black, but it’s green!
  • Twitter convo: value of wheat in rotation. It’s not just strong wheat prices that should get that crop in rotation, y’all. Soybeans at 9.3 bu/ac better. And the economics are about equal, but in rotation means you can get manure on and build soil health and resilience.
  • Early planted winter wheat is turning yellow. Blech. There’s some purple and red wheat out there too. Up to 3-leaf stage, the plant is mostly living off the seed energy. After that, it’s pulling from the soil — low oxygen (high water/wet soil) is tough for root growth and we end up with discoloured wheat. Bummer.
  • Drainage and compaction is the driver! Headlands are worse, tiled land is better
  • Spring cereal performance data will be up on GoCereals.ca!
  • Plot results: boron on corn had an impact, but still preliminary
  • Bt corn — 4 events that infer resistance, we now have resistance to at least three of the four. A single trait will only last another few years. Rootworm trait management? Corn on corn, or continuous corn, the recommendation was stacked traits, but now, we’re thinking that will need to change. So much to think about! (More here, and watch for a Corn School on the topic soon!).
  • Continuous wheat? Oh gosh. You’ll probably be OK the first go, but low wheat yields, sorry.
  • High soil test phosphorus….put on less P? What’s the impact and does planting date matter? It is OK to go down to 15-20 lb of phosphorus on high soil test.
  • Straw residue question from last week. Don’t we want to measure what’s in the residue? NO, because of the length of time it takes to make that K in the straw available.

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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 6 (2020) Episode 9

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