Wheat Pete's Word, July 13: Tar spot spotting, up-front N, aborted canola, and a seat belt reminder


Some areas of Ontario got a much needed shot of rain this week, but several corn fields in the southern regions are rolling up and hurting for moisture at a critical time.

Host Peter Johnson tackles why that matters in this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, plus he navigates the tar spot risk spectrum, has a reminder about soybean aphids, and encourages us all to phone a friend this week.

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].


      • Safety first! Wear those seatbelts, please. Especially on the road. Make sure those lights work and use the SMV signs
      • Take your share of the road, too
      • Use that header wagon
      • Oh my, it’s dry in Ontario, except in a few areas that maybe have had the most perfect growing season
      • Northern Ontario looking good, eastern Ontario perhaps too much water earlier, but that’s proving useful now
      • In the south, tough, especially on light ground, it. is. dry.
      • Keep those spirits up! Even as the market has tanked…coulda, shoulda, woulda two months ago, eh?
      • John Kowalchuk, out of Alberta, shared being told “we’re not doing it right.” But we’re doing the best we can; let’s always try and do better, but we’re doing well, OK?
      • How do we be good farmers even when under pressure?
      • Use your Wheat Pete 15 and call someone
      • Wheat harvest is full steam ahead in Ontario! Huge test weights coming in: 66 pounds per bushel, wowzers
      • Kernel weight is what makes yield, it’s not test weight
      • The Niagara Peninsula reporting about 80 bushel kind of range down. Remember, the Niagara Peninsula got almost no wheat in because they were so wet last year
      • Winter barley crop is coming in at 120 to 150 plus bushels per acre. It’s not a bin Buster, but it’s certainly pretty solid across the board so far.
      • Canola in Western Canada, particularly in Alberta right now, for some reason there are canola fields out there that are just aborting all their pods, or all the flowers rather not getting any pod set to speak of whatsoever. And we don’t quite understand why
      • On to the corn crop! Minor planting sins are really starting to show, now. The tough soils are in tough shape
      • Even on good soils planted right are starting to show some stress in the heat of the day
      • The most critical timeframe for the corn crop is that two weeks right before tasseling (now) and then a little bit after tasseling, as well
      • Is there any rain in the forecast? Not really. Oh my gosh, you talk about just just bad news
      • Split nitrogen on corn: in the early part of June soil samples said lots of N, but it was so hard to cut that nitrogen back
      • Bill Deen’s research says when you don’t get rain from the 15th of June to the 15th of July, it really limits your yield potential
      • More on this topic in the latest Sharp Edge video
      • If you’re a split nitrogen person and you don’t apply some of this science, and pay attention to that soil nitrate level in early June or the amount of rainfall and you just go out and simply side dress the same amount as you would have if you put it all on all upfront, well then you’ve basically negated the value of that split nitrogen opportunity
      • All the N put up front this year looks best. Ugh!
      • On to tar spot. Even though the corn is under drought stress, it doesn’t mean that it can’t get tar spot. With tar spot it’s all about relative humidity and leaf wetness, so that’s dew point. The disease needs seven hours of leaf wetness (overnight, morning dew)
      • Corn on corn is hardest hit, highest risk
      • The tar spotter app predicts when you can get infection. But if it’s on the lower leaves, and it hasn’t yet had time to build up any disease inoculum in that canopy, then we aren’t going to spray
      • Albert Tenuta says that a year like 2022, that the rate of progression of tar spot is probably 1/3 or less of what it was in 2021. So even though we get the odd tar spot lesion, by the time we get to VT we we may not have that we may not have any tar spot at all on that ear leaf
      • Don’t give up on soybeans! Back in 1988, the drought broke on July the 17th, tiny beans that were maybe 4″ tall still made 50 bushel/acre yield
      • There’s still time to scout for soybean aphids This weather is soybean aphid weathert

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