Wheat Pete's Word, Nov 4: A gift from Mother Nature, thin wheat stands, and cold soil impacts on corn


Planting early isn’t just the mantra for wheat in the fall, it usually applies to corn in the spring, too. But as farmers submit data on final yields vs planting date, the full story of planting into cold or cold, wet soils is told.

In this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson shares some top tips on weed control in wheat this fall, whether or not to leave a thin stand, and why farmers need to make the most of rare gifts from Mother Nature.

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].


  • Coolest October since 2009 for some areas
  • But wow, warm this week (earlier this week in the west, now in the east)
  • Lots of “slow-release rain” this week fell across Ontario
  • This week will be a rare gift from Mother Nature — use it well
  • This gift could mean weed control is the goal, depending on where you are and what’s in the ground
  • Winter wheat sets heads (which is yield!) so early in the season, make sure you’ve got perennials controlled well ahead (and that means FALL)
  • Target your weed control for the weeds present. Use registered products
  • September planted wheat has plenty of sow thistle — but in emerged wheat not many options to really control. So put it on the list to pick at each year on those fields. Spray in the fall, for sure.
  • Do NOT use 2, 4-D on emerged wheat
  • How cold can it get before we stop spraying glyphosate? -4 degrees C is about the cutoff. These few days of warm weather is nice to get some of these perennials going, and then hit ’em.
  • Cover crop termination in the fall still has value for coverage and erosion control
  • Do we still plant cereals now? It’s November! Do we give up? Cool October, yes, but a nice week, and another warm week after? A nice start, and still has an excellent chance at a good start (though it is late)
  • Fall rye is, even more, frost/cold tolerant. 2 million seeds/acre (Wheat would be more! Because no tillering will happen this fall)
  • Not hybrid rye — the seed is pretty pricey
  • What happens if you went too light on seeding rates? If it looks good on good ground? Leave it. It should compensate and assess in the spring
  • York County, it’s dry. Wheat went in September 18, but not all into moisture. Two-thirds, wow, one-third didn’t even start, 10 days later got rain and emerged. What’s the impact? 5 days difference in the fall is about 1 day difference in heading. About 3 days difference in heading, and that will impact fusarium timing, but it’s in the window to do a good job. Yield impact? There will be some, the latest emerged might be 15 bu/ac less, but on average maybe 5 bu/ac total.
  • Assessment: plants per foot of row. How well spaced are the seeds/plants? Bunched then a gap — address your drill and planting conditions/speed. Then, assess the stage of growth. Leaves, tillers, the difference in stages for uniformity.
  • A lovely loam soil, May plot, weather: May 6, warm soil, 30,000 plants, yield 204 bu/ac. Then: May 7, cooler soil, 188 bu/ac. Then, May 8, cold soil, 26,000, yield was 180 bu/ac. May 9, cold wet snow: cold water imbibition, and that’s the issue. Planted the last corn May 14, warm soil again, 194 bu/ac.
  • Cold, wet conditions, it’s always worse on clay
  • May 9 vs May 23: lost 13 bushels per acre going early into cold, wet soil. So there you go.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 6 (2020) Episode 8

Please register to read and comment.


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.