The Agronomists, Ep 44: Peter Johnson and Jeremy Boychyn for a cereal production free-for-all


It’s time for a fun — ok, they are all fun, but even more fun than usual — episode of The Agronomists. It’s time for a free-for-all, featuring questions from you, the audience!

Tonight’s episode is fuelled by host Lyndsey Smith, and guests Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson, RealAgriculture’s resident agronomist, and Jeremy Boychyn, agronomy research extension specialist with the Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions.

Tune in below, and don’t forget to claim your CCA credits!

Catch a new episode of The Agronomists every Monday night at 8 pm E!

How did harvest wrap up in the west?

  • Winter wheat, some certainly hit the ground in our open fall in Alberta
  • Spring wheat crop has been off for a number of weeks now
  • Crop yields were quite low. The southern part of the province’s yields greatly impacted
  • General yield average across the province was low
  • Quality was good
  • We’ve had a few killing frosts now

Where are we at in the east?

  • Well over a million wheat acres planned to get in
  • Johnson’s guess is Ontario as at 60 per cent of planned intentions
  • We will know better after the November Agricorp deadline
  • Don’t be afraid to plant wheat
  • Keep the faith! If you get the chance, put that wheat in the ground


  • If you’re going to have less tillers, you’re going to need more plants
  • The challenge now, if we fly the wheat crop on in the very wet parts of Ontario, you are really leaving that seed open to cold injury
  • If you are going to broadcast at this time of year, you may need to go across with harrow

CLIP 1: Wheat School: Doing the Math on Plant Population

  • Can you frost seed winter weed? Yes, in December! Pete has gone as late as January 24. The downside is you don’t quite have that winter hardiness.
  • Bushels per acre versus seeds per acre. Some habits, they die hard. But realistically, in an industry where we are really trying to do everything we can to get the best bang for our buck…stop using bushels per acre as a seeding rate.
  • Thousand kernel weight!
  • If you are frost seeding spring wheat, you should increase your mortality rate in the seeding equation.
  • Are fungicide and herbicide timing close enough or do we need to tease those two out? The timing on the two in spring wheat really are out of sync. However, on winter wheat, we can do the two at the same time.
  • This herbicide conversation is quite a challenge. Growers are wondering if glyphosate will even be available, let alone the cost. So far glyphosate and glufosinate have gone through the roof price wise.
  • Herbicide resistance development is something we really need to be paying attention to as well. This is a metabolism conversation.
  • When you do these applications at herbicide timing you do see disease
  • Any non-beneficial application of fungicide is then selecting for fungicide resistance. We really need to start having these discussions.
  • If you are seeing your wheat yellowing, yes, it is damaged, but not dead yet.
  • Seed placed phosphorus is SO important. The only situation where that shouldn’t happen is if time is of the essence…but if you can get that seed placed phos down, do.
  • When it comes to seed, we’re talking about where we are establishing the crop. Boychyn says we should be spending the money on the foundation of the crop. Get that quality seed in the ground.
  • We only get so many years to produce a good crop. Each year is an opportunity to get an idea to increase new agronomic practices. Why not start now? Boychyn says if you’re not moving forward, you’re likely moving backwards. Do your replicated strip trials! Please.
  • Make sure you are are soil testing. How is this residual nitrogen going to impact future crops? Your soil tests will tell you. (Amongst many other valuable things)
  • Make a list. What are the investments that are making returns on your farm? Those are the ones you should be spending money on.
  • Listen to your crop. Those visual symptoms are telling you what you are doing wrong from a management standpoint.

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Other Episodes

The Agronomists (view all)Season 2 (2021) Episode 8

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