Wheat Pete's Word, Oct 26: Spooky yield loss, clean cobs, fall rosettes, and quick-drying corn


Halloween may be just days away, but we’re trying to make things as scary as possible around here.

Want to be horrified by thistles in IP beans? What about the spectre of DON-heavy corn? Shriek at the thought of disappearing yield! That’s right, this episode of Wheat Pete’s Word is full of super scary agronomic challenges!

(Editor’s note: it really isn’t, but we’re working with the season, OK?)

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, safety safety. Slow down, take your time. Don’t rush, especially under load
  • DON in the corn crop: good news! She’s clean
  • It looks like we have escaped that we were worried in 2018 — with dry weather at pollination, humidity in August and September
  • The Ontario Cereal Crop Committee says the spring cereal trials are now available at GoCereals.ca
  • Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, but in particular, southwest Kansas, is in the middle of a dust bowl. It’s been so dry for so long, and there just isn’t just any residue left on the soil surface
  • Remember last week about the wheat in Alberta that was not germinating? For the growers in Alberta that have wheat that has yet to germinate, remember it doesn’t take much moisture for the seed to germinate, then all you need is a few cold temperatures between zero and five degrees Celsius to vernalize
  • Neat discussion on energy in versus energy out: fertilizer prices are going through the roof and drying prices are going through the roof — do we actually get more energy out when using crops for ethanol?
  • Dr. Terry Daynard shared: We get twice as much energy out of that corn crop in the form of ethanol than what we put in in total. So ethanol is a good deal from an energy standpoint and added bonus 45 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas so that’s just got to be good
  • Fall weed control works! Take the opportunity get out there and spray those perennials, particularly the thistles t
  • If you’re an edible bean grower or an IP soybean grower, man, get sow thistle and more controlled this fall
  • For many in Ontario the number one nutrient that mattered in 2022 remains not N, but water
  • What we’re seeing in terms of yields, on average, is typically 20 bushels less, even in the good areas
  • Ever heard of the Dream-o-meter?
  • There is variability, and that spells opportunity. Take a look at a satellite map or a map from a drone flight and your yield map. Find the variable spots and get looking for what’s happening!
  • Think about adding some compost, some solid manure, some way of increasing the water holding capacity where that short corn is, maybe?
  • The height differential on corn doesn’t translate 100 per cent into yield loss
  • It seems like moistures have finally started to come down, too
  • Question: corn that’s 30 per cent moisture. Do I combine or wait? With good ground conditions and reduced compaction, get it out and dry it
  • Phantom yield loss. Lots of discussion out there. And in fact, one Nebraska study being tweeted out and around the internet is saying that there is a 2.4 bushel per acre yield loss for every point of moisture that you let that corn crop dry in the field. Where does that come from?
  • What we do know Dr. Dave Hooker and Greg Stewart have done some work on this. We know that phantom yield loss is not due to respiration in the kernel. So where else could phantom yield loss come from? Well, it could be ear drop, it could be bird damage, mice, or wildlife.
  • As the corn gets drier you have to adjust that combine and slow the cylinder down. Otherwise you crack more kernels, you will get more fines
  • If I’ve got a good residue spread, does it make any sense at all to do tillage on soybean stubble? Likely not. Try strip till or try shallow surface tillage. Experiment for goodness sake!

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