Wheat Pete's Word, June 15: Drought to flood, counting florets, corn after hay, and hay after soys


What’s happening this week in Canadian farm fields? Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson has the latest questions and some answers.

In this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, Pete tackles clover and hay questions, thin wheat stands, planting depth on corn and how to get that last bit of N on the wheat crop out west.

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].


  • Congratulations to Pat Lynch for being inducted in to the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame on Sunday
  • You want to see the impact of drought? The weather is just unbelievably nuts. Alberta is getting hammered by inches of rain (some is good, too much is still too much)
  • But if you want to see just the how severe the impacts of drought can be, check out Oklahoma or Kansas
  • Manitoba is just now finishing seeding, with many acres that won’t get seeded at all
  • So many farmers in so many parts of North America have just added incredibly tough
  • Here in Ontario, we really do need to just be thankful because overall things are not all that bad
  • On to wheat: thin crop but the heads are absolutely huge!
  • In Alberta, a grower sent photos of the wheat heads in the winter wheat stand. So. Many. Florets!
  • If you’re walking your fields, snap a photo and send it in and let’s see those florets! Pete is seeing plenty of 15 florets with three kernels developing at every one of those florets, except the bottom two or the top two. But we’re looking like we could have really good kernel set within that head. Keep filling those wheat heads!
  • Frost-seeded oats that germinated, grew a little, and froze to -12 to -14 degrees Celsius. There is a super thin stand — what the heck happened? Freezing temps after frost seeding isn’t rare, but too cold for too long or on a more advanced plant will kill the crown
  • Terry Daynard shared an article from the Dutch government about nitrogen. The Dutch government is increasing nitrogen restrictions to the point that they think it will put some farmers out of business. We cannot allow ourselves to get there, we need to get better at N application (more precise).
  • Pull those nitrate tests before top-dressing corn (Check out the Agronomists on this from Monday) particularly if you have manure, if you have red clover
  • In the really wet area of Manitoba a farmer has hard red spring wheat planted, that would normally get 35 pounds nitrogen, 40 phosphorus, five potash, 10 sulphur and then top-dress 20 gallons of 28 per cent or another 60 pounds of nitrogen. But at seeding, it was too wet, and product was removed to keep the seeder light. What’s the best way to get that additional 60 pounds of nitrogen on?.
  • In heavy clay soils in Chatham-Kent, the sugar beets look tough, and there’s some corn not looking perfect. Broadcast N could be part of the problem
  • Man, it’s hard to get to 50 parts per million, particularly on a wet spring and on clay soils where the water doesn’t move as well
  • If you’re going to plant corn after hay, strip tilling is an excellent choice. Plant at least 2″ deep. Do not go shallow or if anything go deeper to two and a half inches.
  • A caller frost-seeded clover into wheat winter to take for hay next year and the stand is just pretty mediocre some areas and zero in others. What to do after the wheat crop comes off? Add cereal rye and the cereal rye will be in the first cut. Hopefully the red clover thickens up enough that you get a second cut or a seed crop of red clover, it’s double cut red clover. Or add oats for fall only
  • Planting soybeans after the hay comes off? You need to choose the variety carefully AND bump the seeds per acre. Bare minimum would be 165,000 or realistically 180,000 on seven inch rows
  • What about wheat after a mediocre hay crop? Corn is a better option if it’s a mixed stand
  • What about air versus ground for corn fungicide?Aerial application works, but ground coverage is better. And coverage matters

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