Wheat Pete's Word, July 20: Building OM, lodged wheat, hail in the west, and a great grain fill


When it comes to yield, is it heads per square foot that matter the most or an ideal grain fill period?

This year, at least, a pretty great grain filling period is making up for fewer than ideal heads, reports Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson, so that’s something, but not something we can control — unlike planting population.

Johnson discusses that, plus what’s happening with funky coloured oats, tar spot risks, the Goldilocks zone, and wild weather in Western Canada.

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].


  • Trivia time: one bushel of oats makes how many boxes of Cheerios? 40!
  • On Farm Climate Action Fund, Aug 3 to Aug 17. Retro to Feb 15, 2022. Get those applications in (and yes, there are funds available in all provinces)
  • Weather pattern seems to have shifted in Ontario, for the most part
  • Timely rain for many areas, even if it’s a little late or not a lot
  • Damage in Western Canada, southern Alberta. Kara here with RealAgriculture, 90% of land wiped out by hail. Extreme wind damage. Just heartbreaking
  • Some areas are looking really great, however
  • Eastern Ontario has some nearly ideal conditions
  • (Some areas might be a little wet, Peter)
  • ALERT! Safety first. Combine fires are a real risk in the wheat. Have a water wagon and disc with you
  • Great wheat. Head counts are everything? Maybe not! YEN plots suggest higher yields in some areas even with tougher looking wheat. Why? Cooler temps through grain fill
  • 120 bu/ac, 135 bu/ac 149 bu/ac reported
  • Lessons: tough-planted mid-October wheat, broadcast MESZ, 80 bu/ac. November planted, less MESZ but seed placed but outperforming the earlier planted wheat!
  • Soil conditions trump calendar date, that year
  • Sand soil, 1″ of irrigation at late milk, flag leaf was reduced, gained real yield
  • 120 pounds N maxed out yield in some fields, always something to consider
  • 200,000 seeds planted out-yielded lower population on sand. Was it the sand or the timing?
  • Lodging being reported after this week (high seed rates make lodging a higher risk)
  • Eastern Ontario lodging risks: 0 starter strip. Huge rainfall, that strip lodged. The rest stood.
  • Adding organic matter to knolls. Watch this Soil School. Targeted OM additions.
  • Tar spot is challenging many growers this year
  • Some corn didn’t ever leaf roll, but some is tasseling while very short
  • Does that matter? You can still hit 95% yield potential (for grain)
  • Ear leaf and leaf above ear need to be in good shape
  • In some areas, it’s tough to find tar spot. But if the weather has changed to bring more moisture, make sure you’re protecting that crop
  • There is some time to wait (but not for gibberella — that’s early silking)
  • Group 4 drift on soybeans. We have to do a better job.
  • Oats with yellow and red leaves — BYDV, carried by aphids!

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 8 (2022) Episode 24

Please register to read and comment.


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.