Wheat Pete's Word, Aug 17: Late tar spot, biomass, performance trials, and bean leaf beetles


How early is too early for wheat? How late is too late for tar spot to steal yield? Are too-late silks a high-risk for gibberella?

This week’s version of Wheat Pete’s Word tackles those questions 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].


  • The Ontario cereal crop committee draft data is up! Go to the Performance tab. It’s www.gocereals.ca. Don’t go to the right hand column, where it talks about the performance trials being there. It’s only up for area one and area two
  • There aren’t huge differences showing up just yet, but it’s draft data
  • One site in area three, sitting around 130 bushel per acre yield. There’s some amazing wheat yields in that data!
  • Clark Brenzil, Saskatchewan weed specialist, was tweeting that bind weed is a noxious weed. He pointed out that the seeds can stay dormant in the soil for up to 50 years!
  • Velvetleaf seeds are even worse.The seeds will actually come through fire and could stay viable in the soil for up to 75 years
  • Put those plants somewhere where you can watch for the new seedlings
  • Reports of plenty of late weed escapes out there in edible bean fields and in soybean fields with a thin canopy
  • It really shows the valid value of good canopy closure. A good crop gives you 98 per cent of the weed control
  • The drought definitely has impacts. Ontario hay producers and livestock farmers saying, oh my gosh, it’s the worst third cut ever
  • Many producers are going to count on that oat crop after the wheat crop as emergency forage, or as the oat and pea crop as emergency forage
  • Plant something after silage, too. Fall seeded triticale or rye for early spring feed
  • Make sure you plant it early — that’s September 10 in some areas. Put it in after edible beans!
  • A lot of corn is already at full milk stage and that’s an important point on tar spot
  • Spring cereal harvest underway across the province, and so far, the yields have been just blow-the-doors-off excellent
  • Higher yields do drive down protein numbers, so the spring crop is showing lower than average protein
  • This year, wheat into grain corn. Once in a while, even though people like Johnson would say that’s just a recipe for trouble, Mother Nature smiles you still get good crops
  • Tomato yields coming out of Chatham-Kent, 50 ton tomato yields on the early crop. That’s pretty spectacular
  • Offers some hope that yields on soybeans and corn won’t be as low as we worried that they would be through the drought
  • Because biomass predicts grain yield, so how does the 2022 corn crop relate to the 2021 crop in terms of biomass? Where the crop looks good, the weights of biomass at tassel time were almost the same as they were in 2021. So that tells me the yields in fields are going to vary tremendously, but at least the good spots are going to yield pretty well maybe hit that 240 bushel corn mark again
  • Time to start talking #plant23
  • Winter canola planting is gearing up
  • Is September the first too early to plant winter wheat? Tune in Monday, August 22, to The Agronomists at 8 pm E
  • Early is good, but is too early bad? One rain on the clays can make a huge difference on whether or not you get that wheat in the ground
  • Reports of tar spot in the corn crop now. Some has travel via air, for sure
  • Finding it in Elgin, Oxford, Middlesex counties
  • The real question becomes, should we can control it?
  • First, make sure it’s actually tar spot (lick your finger, and try and rub off the spot. If it stays, it’s likely tar spot). In full milk, or if  your corn has been tasseled for 30 days or for 25 days, we just don’t think that it’s worth controlling tar spot when you’re just seeing the first lesions at that stage
  • Tip back happening in the drought areas, and green silks still emerged. What’s the gibberella risk? Definitely more of a risk
  • Bean leaf beetle in south Lambton
  • Eastern Ontario where we had all the soybean aphids, populations are crashing, they’re naturally crashing
  • In IP soybeans in south Lambton you better Scout because if you are seeing significant leaf feeding and pod feeding
  • Stip tillage: do I skip K and only add P? Reducing tillage reduces K availability, so don’t cut it out entirely

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