Wheat Pete's Word, Oct 7: Slow-to-dry corn, target prices, checking in, and living roots


Did September feel a little cool? Well, that’s because it was. Not that the month was that cold, but it was cool enough, and cool enough on consecutive days that the Ontario corn crop is taking for-ev-er to dry down.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson tackles some recent questions, offers encouragement, lays down a challenge, and more. Listen on 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].


  • Kara Oosterhuis here at RealAgriculture sent out a tweet thread about having a tough day. It’s super important. Check it out here. Make some of those important calls to check in
  • Rain, rain, rain is delaying Ontario’s soybean and edible bean harvest, which pushes back the wheat planting. Get at it, when you can
  • Dark red kidneys came in at 73 bushels per acre. Wow!
  • Wheat prices are solid. Lock in profit now if you can. Profit is profit. Set your targets. Heck, sell soybeans, too, and maybe even corn. At least some of it, please.
  • The hangover from the early frost continues: variety (hybrid) differences showing up. The longer the maturity hybrids seem to have fared better. Perhaps because the leaves had less pulled out of them so far?
  • Dry down is stalled or very slow!
  • September heat units for 2020 were about 550 vs 600 for the 10-year average, in some areas. September was a little (to a lot) cool, and there were too many cool days in a row and that slows the corn down, too
  • Consecutive cold nights can really shut down the corn, which is a “normal” battle in some of the northern areas, but maybe more of the province is dealing with it this year
  • If the shanks and lower stalk didn’t freeze solid, carbs will move into the kernel and push out the moisture (moves the milk line). If that’s not happening or is super slow, it means the carbohydrates are moving super slowly.
  • Tar spot! Watch this Corn School. Get out and scout.
  • Adding water/re-wetting grain from last week: Don’t do it! It’s illegal. And so many things can go wrong.
  • Do you need living roots year round? With clover, do you let it grow? Living roots support soil microbes, yes. But we also know that when new roots grow they are quickly colonized, unless there’s been a tonne of tillage that have killed off more soil fungi networks.
  • You don’t need living roots to get the benefit of a cover crop. And you don’t need a complicated mix, either. You can terminate in late fall, too, and that simplifies the spring, too.
  • The big takeaway: keep soil covered, all year. Don’t farm naked! And tillage is worse for soil bugs/soil carbon building than dead vs living roots.
  • Oats not terminated yet. Cut it for feed, or graze it. If you’re going to work it down, make sure the C:N ratio means it will actually break down.
  • Daikon radish getting too big. Kill it! Roll it or spray.
  • Volunteer wheat went to head before got terminated in soys. Don’t worry about disease too much extra.

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