Wheat Pete's Word, Dec 14: Constant improvement, driving on winter wheat, N decisions, and Pete's wish


When it comes to balancing nitrogen cost, with type, with application set up — is there an easy way to save some money?

Yes, and no, says Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson in this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word podcast. N fertilizer choice does depend on planting or seeding set up, for one, and row spacing and crop type matter, too. Also on this episode, Pete has a reasonable request for a holiday gift to him, and he’ll let you know when it’s safe to drive on wheat.

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].


  • All Pete wants for Christmas is some feedback and for you to phone a friend
  • Wheat Pete’s 15, pick up the phone, spend 15 minutes talk to somebody you haven’t talked to in a long time, please
  • The Ontario Ag Conference still has room for virtual registration 53 sessions, available until March 31
  • What’s happening this week? The Manitoba Agronomy Conference — and Pete is presenting
  • Peter will speak at Grey Bruce Crops Day in early January, too
  • Jack Bobo gave a keynote presentation at Grow Canada, it is just an amazing presentation. He says is that agriculture is good and getting better. Between 1980 and 2011, to produce a bushel of corn, we are generating 35 per cent fewer emissions, on 40 per cent less land with 40 per cent less energy and 50 per cent less water, and 60 per cent less erosion
  • We have improved and it will be wildly better in 30 years from now
  • The next 20 years to 30 years are the most important years that have ever happened on planet earth
  • Bobo says that farmers talk about good management practices, environmentalist talk about sustainability, but it’s the same thing! We’re using different words, we all want the same outcome.
  • On to nitrogen costs: do you go all urea?
  • Corn we can go to all urea because it’s in 30 inch rows, and nitrogen moves with water. So if the spread pattern isn’t perfect, there’s good enough water
  • But wheat at seven and a half inch rows means if you don’t do the perfect job of spread, you get beat up bad
  • The yield enhancement network (YEN) in the UK says one recipe for success is getting out there early, get the wheat crop growing fast, and then you keep it growing fast and 28 per cent will do that because it’s immediately available half of the nitrogen is urea
  • Should you join the YEN? YES! You will learn so much
  • Even when we apply N perfectly, we still consistently found two and a half bushel per acre yield increase to 28 per cent. And that’s the perfect job. If you don’t do the perfect job, you can easily we’ve seen in trials losing 20 bushels per acre
  • Managing fence rows with dead ash from Emerald Ash Borer. Is it a safe time to drive on the wheat? It looks awesome
  • If you’re driving on the wheat and there’s enough snow there that you’re packing the snow down and taking the insulating value out of the snow and then it can turn to ice and under the ice, the wheat will really get damaged
  • If it’s minus five and the ground is frozen and there’s no snow, it’s safe to drive on that wheat, you you should not hurt it at all
  • 100 pounds of MAP with the seed (wheat) vs not — it doesn’t always blow you away
  • Alfalfa worked down last year, then planted corn, but the drought kept the corn yield down. Is there still an N credit there for 2023?
  • Corn silage removed, barley cover crop in and now want to grow more oats. Can I still plan oats? Fusarium is the problem for corn silage, oats aren’t the issue

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