Wheat Pete's Word, Nov 17: Tillage talk, increasing DON levels, lost beans, and liquid manure


Plow might be a four-letter word, but plenty of Ontario farmers are reaching for the primary tillage tool as a way to manage rutted fields this fall. What are the trade-offs when using the plow?

For that answer, you’ll have to listen well towards the end of this episode of Wheat Pete’s Word; and in the meantime, host Peter Johnson also discusses bean losses, frost impacts on corn, muddy wheat, and more.

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].

  • Snow belt got up to a foot of snow this past week!
  • Are you ready? Probably not,
  • B.C. is a disaster area
  • Water vapour as a greenhouse gas? Warm air holds more water, warm water evaporates more, and that becomes an atmospheric river, which is what’s happened in the west
  • Pete got to speak at the Ontario Ag College, Soil & Crop Club. Super keen, and that’s great to see. Future of ag is bright
  • CAP funding is open! Not first come, first served. Now, they are waiting until all the applications are in (Dec 6) and approving based on merit
  • Harvest update: a stretch of good weather last week got wheat in the ground and soybeans harvested
  • Edible beans are left out still (about 5 per cent)
  • Kidneys are large seeded crops took it on the chin
  • Adzukis did just fine, thank you very much
  • Soybeans mostly all got done. Tremendous loss in some fields, genetic based, it seems
  • What did the delay cost? Between five and 35 per cent loss, depending
  • That’s going to sting (to the tune of up to $300 loss per acre, once you account for the premium of IP beans)
  • Double crop beans: 50 bu plus, some 30 bu plus! 12 years of CONTINUOUS beans and one year of wheat….and double corp beans. Oh my
  • Remember: there are many things that have to align for double crop beans to work
  • Corn crop will be a record if we can get it out of the field this fall
  • Some farmers are seeing 50 bu/ac better than they’ve ever had
  • Corn that froze this spring yielded 100 bu/ac less than the rest of the field
  • DON levels are increasing in the corn crop right now. Keep tabs on that
  • Liquid manure in the fall is just….we have to find better ways to handle it
  • Tillage! It’s so wet, so much moisture, we HAVE to plow, so say farmers
  • Why does the plow work when others don’t? It inverts a layer entirely and exposes it to the freeze/thaw, and dry/wet cycles of the fall and winter. It only “fixes” the top six to eight inches, mind you
  • There are related issues: loss of topsoil being the main one
  • Strip-tillage stall outs. The strip creates an easy peasy growing zone, but once the roots get outside of that zone, it’s like zero till, and the dryness in June may have impacted that switch to secondary rooting system
  • Every time we till, we give up moisture
  • Too wet for vertical tillage? Probably. Maybe you can get it done on the frost. It it’s slabbing, it’s too wet. Park it and wait until spring
  • Small ruts and wants to go in to zero-till next year. That’s a tough call
  • Winter triticale to boost protein: clover now or clover later? Tune in next week!

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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 7 (2021) Episode 6

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