Wheat Pete's Word, June 22: Green stripes, smeared sidewalls, eroded knolls, tall wheat, and an early harvest


The sins of the spring are expected to show up about now in the crop, but what about weather conditions last fall?

This week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word fields several questions about strange observations in the field: from stressed corn, weirdly tall wheat, tire-track greenness and much 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].


  • We’re just passed the summer solstice!
  • In Ontario, the crops are just not gunning quite as quickly as we would like in the case of soybeans
  • Some corn is showing rapid growth syndrome with a random yellow leaf
  • Meanwhile, the weather is all over the map. Dry, wet, cold, hail
  • Even with all the rain in some areas, others are too dry! The corn crop is rolling up from drought on some of the heavier clay soils perhaps in the 34 degree days. There is water, but it can’t move quickly enough or roots can’t access it
  • The wheat crop is in its rapid growth phase, too, and using a lot of water
  • Here’s a little bit of nostalgia: 1992, Father’s Day Sunday morning, some woke to a touch of frost in the corn and in the soybeans
  • This year, it also got very cool, as Deb Campbell, with Agronomy Advantage tweeted out Sunday morning that it was under three degrees up in the Dundalk Highlands
  • In the New Liskeard-Temiskaming district they are scouting  frost damage on some of the canola
  • Kyle from Dickinson, North Dakota tweeted out a picture, where they had so much hail that they were actually pushing the hail off the streets and making snow banks that looked like they were at least two feet
  • Congratulations to all the graduates this month, included Pete’s grand-daughter Cassidy
  • Ontario’s version of the On-Farm Climate Action Fund will be administered by Ontario Soil and Crop (OSCIA). Details will be announced soon. You will be able to apply for money on nitrogen management, on cover crops, and on rotational grazing
  • Pete walks many fields. One recurring question in soybean fields is, why is that ground so hard? Joe always says if you want a good crop, you have to get that soil just to cuddle the seed
  • A crop well sown is a crop half grown. If you’re seeding it into lumps, it’s not well sown
  • Likely a factor is all the compaction from all that massive equipment rolling last fall, but also all that October heavy rainfall and water laying on fields compacted soil
  • Ontario just didn’t have enough frost action, enough wet/dry cycles to break some of that compaction (editor’s note: what about organic matter?)
  • Sand soil is different, it just is
  • After wheat harvest, one farmer took a scraper and scraped some topsoil out of the hollows backup on the knolls. What a difference!
  • Trying to figure out the impact of some practice on soil health is like trying to weigh the captain of a battleship by weighing the battleship with the captain on it, and with the captain off of it. The captain is not going to make enough difference that you can even see it on the scales. Meanwhile, we’re trying to weigh the captain.
  • Wheat harvest will be early in central Michigan. Looks like cutting wheat on July the fourth. Essex County will be similar
  • High temps at grain fill will bite in to final yield
  • Get ready for wheat harvest early! If your average harvest date is July the 20th as it is for Peter Johnson, you might be at it by July the 15th
  • Winter barley and canola are advanced, too. It’s a real opportunity to double crop soybeans!
  • A listener sent a photo, What is the matter with my crop? We got this big yellow area and I can see dark green strips through the spring cereal crop. Likely tire tracks causing a little compaction so manganese is sufficient/available there. When you see that, get out there apply that manganese because manganese deficiency can really cost you huge in terms of yield
  • Dry conditions at flag leaf on oats, do you spray a fungicide? Oats are so susceptible to rust, you cannot take the risk. And rust can come in even under dry conditions
  • Stagey winter wheat, what’s going on? Now, this is really, really interesting. One farmer had two different varieties. He planted some before the big rain started mid-September, and those fields are as flat and as uniform as a tabletop. He then planted some September 30/October 1, the rain started October 2, same seed lots, same two different varieties to different companies. And there’s all these tall plants sticking up in those fields. And you’d say, well, you’ve clearly got contamination in your your seed source. And no, it’s the same seed source, there was nothing else added
  • Quick update: potato leaf hopper in new seeded alfalfa. Alert! Thunderstorms from the United States bring up the leaf hopper
  • Scout for cereal leaf beetle in spring cereals. They weren’t a problem in winter wheat, but they are in spring cereals. We’re getting reports of aphids as well in winter wheat on the heads

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