Wheat Pete's Word, May 4: Soil temp hold backs, tank-mix no-nos, and growth stage decisions


Don’t let the soil temp keep you from putting corn or beans in the ground, however, you will want to make sure the forecast isn’t calling for cold rain.

That’s right, it IS May and that means that soil temperature as a guide to planting gets thrown out the window, but a cold drink of water is still a bad thing for corn and soybeans. If the soil isn’t fit, regardless of temperature or the forecast, though, don’t panic-plant — there’s still time to get the crop in in good conditions without giving up too much yield potential, says Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson.

Of course, that’s assuming the fields you’re trying to seed aren’t under water, like much of northern Ontario, southern Manitoba and into North Dakota. Our apologies if they are.

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].


  • WOW. We go from the wettest April in 128 years, to the driest April in 128 years — there is no equity.
  • Winnipeg has had the wettest April on record in over 150 years
  • Farmers up in Emo, Rainy River area were in a drought last year. Now, they’ve got water and snow and more water. Late spring start. Very stressed farmers in that area.
  • Down into Nevada and western Texas that part of the world, Colorado, the driest April on record for 128 years. They are having to make some unbelievable decisions, i.e. water for drinking, irrigation, or hydro electricity?
  • West Texas is a dust bowl
  • How do we deal with this?
  • A 34,000-acre farm going organic, in an open space and wind and erosion — tillage in the organic system isn’t necessarily sustainable
  • Mother Nature definitely is not being all that motherly
  • You can no longer buy Publication 75 in Ontario
  • Instead, use the Crop Protection Hub (find it here)
  • Mike Cowbrough, weed specialist for OMAFRA, is looking for feedback to make it as useful and as user friendly as possible
  • We’re whining about it being a slow start here in Ontario. Soil temperatures don’t matter, at this point. In the heat of the day on the heavy clay soils, the soil temperature was getting up to 13 degrees Celsius in the heat of the day on better soil types as high as 18 or 19 degrees Celsius. If you had seed in the ground, it would start to grow
  • Yes, you do need to think about imbibition chilling. So this is the only time that you would ever pull the planter out of the field. Now remember, sweet corn is not field corn. It’s it’s a wimpy, wimpy cousin of field corn!
  • It’s the 24 hours after you put seed in the ground that matters, only.
  • When the ground is fit, give ‘er, sh*t (but wait for the ground to be fit)
  • Paul Hermans looked at the yield impact of planting date, from the first of May, to the 20th of May, it was about a 3% yield loss over that timeframe.  You’re way better off to plant into good soil conditions on the 15th of May, if conditions are poor
  • Optimum window for soybeans starts about April the 20th or 25th, and goes all the way to May the 15th!
  • Moving on, wheat has hit growth stage 31.
  • All of a sudden, everybody’s going whoa, we don’t have the nitrogen! Lots of the nitrogen got on. But if you didn’t, do you roll out now?
  • Dr. Dave Hooker says that high growth rate in wheat from growth stage 31 or 32 until 10 days after anthesis is highly correlated with yield. There is still some time, but hurry
  •  Where a farmer put Eragon on before wheat emerged last fall for fall weed control and it worked super well
  • Annual weeds are just coming now. Some perennials — dandelion is moving beyond the stage where you’ll get any control. Time is ticking.
  • If there is no disease, don’t put in a fungicide at herbicide timing! Save the fungicides for when we need them
  • Bee kills are adding up this spring. Varroa mites and added stresses
  • What about nitrogen and herbicide together? Why? What’s the benefit? You might actually reduce the yield
  • Warren says the clover is really slow coming; could it be frost damage? No, it’s a base 5 crop, so it’s slower than the wheat, but it’s going to be fine.
  • Growth stage 30 on the main stem — it’s time for a PGR but ONLY if you need it. Check out the Wheat School here.
  • We’re entering stem elongation
  • Triticale fun! Are we fertilizing for standability or for yield? It’s yield, baby, and what’s the following crop in rotation?

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