Wheat Pete's Word, Feb 1: Record wheat, speedy raindrops, drought-resistant crops, and feeding corn


Welcome, February!

For this first dip in to the shortest month of the year, host of Wheat Pete’s Word Peter Johnson has an uplifting message of yield, yield, yield. There was a new record set on wheat production in the UK, and that’s got Pete talking achieving the most of potential yield, plus he’s got some neat discussions on nitrogen on corn.

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].


  • Tim Lamyman, producer in the 2022 UK Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) hit a new world record for wheat at 260 7.8 bushels per acre (see Tweet below)
  • Hats off to all the Ontario producers who stepped up and signed up for the Great Lakes YEN program
  • Pushing what’s possible!
  • One of the key learnings? Grow great roots! Drainage is key, and keeping the crop green through grain fill
  • The record crop was grown on 1.05 pounds of added nitrogen per bushel
  • One of the cool things we’re learning in YEN is achieving the percent of yield potential. And there are awards for reaching highest percent of yield potential
  • Report out of Ohio State University says January ’23 will be in the top five warmest January’s in all of recorded history. Except for cold weather this week, the month has been mild
  • How mild was it? The first week of January there were weeds half an inch tall in the flowerbed and then a week later got some cold temperatures and those weeds all were dead
  • Did you know? Raindrops can hit the soil at a speed of 20 miles per hour, which is the equivalent of 32 kilometers an hour
  • Splash impact on bare soil can dislodge soil particles and toss them into the air as high as five feet or 1.5 meters
  • That beats up that soil surface, those aggregates that break off and get splashed and thrown and they seal the soil pores and then you don’t get drainage and just the the impact of raindrops
  • It’s another reason to do as much as we can in terms of keeping the soil covered with cover crops with residue
  • Really exciting stuff on on yields (see below). And this was on solid-seeded soybean?
  • We just have to get with the program on gene editing, CRISPR cas-9 technology, which is not a genetically modified organism
  • In South America, they have now registered the first drought tolerant soybean plant using gene editing, nd so when they go hot and dry, if that has that gene in there, the production is going to continue to be much higher
  • We’re hitting a wall here in Canada, Health Canada needs to rule on this, we really need this technology!
  • Further north, Earlton area, beans can yield, Peter!
  • On to corn nitrogen. Right-sizing N rates for corn. 160 to 180 pounds was within $10 of maximum economic return last year for one scenario, but the calculator was suggesting 130 pounds. Too low? Calculator needs updated
  • 10 years ago, 200 bu corn was was almost unheard of in Ontario, and now that’s expected for many
  • Growing corn. What is the maximum safe rate of nitrogen or nitrogen plus potash in the strip? Well, what’s the blend? We can fry corn with nitrogen in the strip!
  • Seed bed utilization, y’all. It matters, especially with soil type differences and amount of blending down the pipe
  • By the way, a lot of growers have gone to urea this year. If you’re going to go out and put on your full rate of nitrogen as urea on a sandy soil, incorporated, but shallow plus a pop-up and you can actually get enough ammonia injury coming out of that urea, that you can see seedling burn
  • Liquid pop-up is generally is very, very safe, but if you’re right at that tipping point, it can be enough to make the difference
  • Scratching in fertilizer can actually be worse than surface applied, if the surface is dry and the 1/2 inch is moist but the slot isn’t closed (not sealed over). The ammonia losses you can get are actually worse than leaving it on the surface if the surface is dry
  • What about going to ESN? If we treat 30% of the blend with ESN and put it all on upfront does it like a split nitrogen application? Well, no, because we are not good at predicting the actual right nitrogen rate needed, and if we make the decision all upfront, you take away the opportunity to have better information and make a better decision later


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