Wheat Pete's Word, Apr 20: Checking in, a stalled spring, lowering N losses, and electric chopsticks


Spring is clawing its way forward for many parts of Canada, but slowly. Snow continued to fall in Manitoba and parts of Saskatchewan over the Easter weekend, and even Ontario is getting a taste of a slow-to-start spring.

The cold weather sure brings up some interesting questions regarding planting and seeding, nitrogen applications, weed control, and more. Pete “Wheat Pete” Johnson tackles all these questions in this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word.

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].


  • Wheat Pete’s 15: Please use your call-a-friend lifeline. And it’s not necessarily for you, but it might be for that other person.
  • It’s a slow start to spring here in Ontario, but oh gosh, Manitoba. They’re still under a mound of snow!
  • Last year at this time, we had 135 crop heat units this year. At this time we’ve had a massive 35
  • Meanwhile, Kevin in B.C. shared a photo of cutting a crop for forage.
  • Here’s a story for you: have you heard of electric chopsticks? A company in Japan has developed chopsticks that increases salt flavour of the food. You can decrease your salt intake!
  • Ukraine spring crop planting is actually going reasonably well, from what we’re hearing. They’re not sure at all that they’re going to be able to plant anything in the East. But in the West planting is happening.
  • The big problem for them is diesel fuel. There are huge fuel and labour shortages, and no access to ports.
  • No ports means using rail and rivers, and that’s less efficient
  • Could mean more sunflowers and soybeans
  • Will we gain a month of growing days in Ontario by 2050? Some research suggests that. That really impacts cover crop and double crop options
  • In the U.S. Midwest, there’s a big area where daytime highs over the last 2025 years have actually gone down. How is that possible? It’s because we are growing such massive crops, in particular the corn crop, and it’s pumping water like crazy in the heat of the summer. And that water vapour that evapotranspiration is like an air conditioner.
  • More water vapour in the atmosphere means we get more violent storms
  • Alberta Tenuta, plant pathologist for OMAFRA, has some updates on diseases developing mechanisms of resistance, we’ve got more weed species developing resistance, too
  • We simply have to do a better job in resistance management of insects, diseases, and weeds
  • On to the wheat crop! What about putting nitrogen on wheat went under cold temperatures? It’s fine. Just do it.
  • If you have a heavy, white frost stuck to the wheat leaves it acts like glue for 28% and that can burn leaves
  • Spring cereals going in to less than ideal conditions, make sure you’re getting that seed trench closed
  • Make sure those tires are probably inflated! Decrease the compaction
  • In a low yield environment, with a heavy clay soil, not early planted what’s a reasonable nitrogen rate? And should I split my nitrogen?
  • Watch The Agronomists session from Monday night on nitrogen efficiency products
  • Split application N doesn’t always add to yield, but there are other reasons to do it
  • Close the furrow or you lose the N, so for goodness sakes, get the slot closed

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