Wheat Pete's Word, June 16: Too dry, too wet, too late, plus manganese deficiencies and an aphid reminder


Wheat in Ontario is in grain fill, and that means scouting for cereal leaf beetle. There’s also been plenty of rain in certain parched parts of the west, but it’s too much and way too late to save the crop.

In this week’s edition of Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson discusses some insect alerts, reports of nutrient deficiencies and what to do about them, plus fields your questions à la Farmer Rapid Fire.

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].


  • A note from Lambton County — wear sunscreen! Farmers’ faces need some protection, too.
  • Pre-cancerous and cancerous spots are too common on faces. Get those hats on
  • Some people are getting their second vaccine! Get vaccinated if you can, please. We’re almost there
  • Rainfall in Ontario was all over the map
  • Rainfall out west was almost too much — and crop prices fell. Guess what? Too late for the wheat crop out west (looking at you Murray Froebe)
  • Don’t spend any more money on that crop!
  • A soft red wheat ready for harvest in high moisture areas and it’s sprouted
  • Which is worse, drought or flood?
  • Niagara region also very, very dry
  • Extremely dry in some spots of Eastern Ontario, too
  • Central Illinois could have the best crop ever
  • Quebec areas, 18 florets x 3-4 kernels per head (150 bu/ac possible!?)
  • Maximum water demand for wheat is during pollination up to early grain fill. About 1/4 inch of water per day
  • What about over 30 degrees C during grain fill? It’s not good for grain fill, at all
  • Cereal leaf beetle — what’s the threshold? It depends on timing of head emergence, how much grain fill period is left. Three to four larvae per stem, possibly time to control, but only if plenty of grain fill left
  • But do you have oats? Late boot or flag leaf — one per stem warrants control?
  • Yes, there is fusarium in the wheat crop, but not a disaster year, yet…
  • V5 soybeans, 5 trifoliates, first flower showed up! They can flower before June 21st
  • If you can get to V6 before the first flower, you’re at maximum yield potential
  • Rapid growth syndrome in corn — it’s not a big deal
  • Rotation, rotation, rotation: beans after wheat or after corn, but soy on soy and every acre needs re-sprayed for herbicide
  • Hey, we’re off to a good start in the south, southwest
  • Manganese deficiency in soybeans needs corrected, but if it stays dry you may have to apply twice. It doesn’t move in the plant. You need something with at least 5 per cent manganese
  • Sulphur deficiency in corn is showing up too, where it’s not a standard addition to the fertilizer program
  • It’s a dry year, so keep scouting for spider mites
  • Soybean aphids are out too, just make sure to scout closer to flower, too
  • Milkweed that’s resistant to glyphosate? Frankly, it’s likely just poor timing of application (have to wait)
  • Nutsedge, hogweed causing issues too
  • $25/acre to establish a cover crop — is it possible? Maybe if I broadcast oats and disc in, maybe
  • Can I harvest oats this year and use those for cover this year? Yes, but there is some dormancy, so just make sure they dry down first
  • If I don’t sell straw (or remove) do I still need a cover crop? Living roots are the real goal, not just residue
  • Cover crop soybeans, can I keep some non-GMO soys and plant? Well, there are way better options and you could run afoul of rules. Don’t do it
  • Anthracnose in alfalfa showing up. Send in a sample to verify

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