Wheat Pete's Word, July 7: Clean air, converging harvests, soybean aphids, and the carbon penalty


Normally a week or so behind the winter barley crop, Ontario farmers are nosing into the wheat harvest a little early as the two crops are ready at about the same time.

From an aphid alert on soybeans, to sneaky root rots, and potash deficiency showing up in corn, Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson has the week’s top agronomic stories and questions from our audience.

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].


  • The Wheat Pete 15 minute challenge is still on. Take 15 minutes this week to call someone you haven’t talked to in a while and see how they are
  • June was warm! 2004 was warmer, though
  • 2020 and 2021 both over 20 degree average temps and that’s not the greatest for the wheat crop
  • Could clean air be helping crop yields? One research paper says yes
  • Ozone injury had a negative impact for sure, which has been decreased
  • We do have to apply sulphur now, but that’s OK
  • High temps on wheat? Essex County above average yields so far (harvest is early!)
  • Not record yields, but above average for sure, and that’s impressive with the hot temps at flowering/grain fill
  • Winter barley and winter wheat ready almost at the same time, versus a seven to 10 day spread between them
  • 140 bu/ac in winter barley (yield monitor bouncing to 200 bu/ac in winter barley!)
  • In Alberta, six days of 35 °C plus, all green in wheat to all brown. Yield hit, yes, but most of the photosynthesis happens through the flag leaf and the awns and glumes help too
  • Southern Wisconsin, no rain means no grain, but still got 75 bu/ac wheat, well managed is doing better on yield than those who didn’t manage the crop
  • Michigan showing very low yields, just no rain and high temps, plenty well-below average yields, and now late rain and sprouting. Falling number will hurt the end-use opportunities
  • Double crop soybeans!? 2 million nodes to make a crop. That means bump up your seeding rate and cut back on the maturity rating. Drop-dead date changes on where you are in Ontario. Latest possible is July 25, and for Peterborough, it’s more like June 30 and long past
  • Do not spray glyphosate on a crop that isn’t mature, do not get glyphosate in grain, peduncle must change colour
  • Eragon is not a grassy weed control option for pre-harvest!
  • If you use a pre-harvest pass on a wheat crop, don’t use it for seed (not registered)
  • The corn crop looks pretty great (Editor’s note: It’s Lyndsey-high by the 7th of July here in the Ottawa Valley)
  • It’s a long way from harvest
  • Alert! Alert! Alert! Soybean aphids well over threshold
  • Root rots hammering some of the edible crops, and some soybean crops looking tough and maybe getting worse. Lack of oxygen and lack of root growth
  • No-till ground hardest hit right now, but they may outyield conventional tillage acres
  • The super lush growth in soybeans means plan for that fungicide pass
  • The carbon penalty!
  • K deficiency was drought-induced in some cases, you can broadcast K in soybeans to correct it, but is harder to address in-crop for corn
  • Look at your starter program, please

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