Wheat Pete's Word, Feb 8: Shady covers, fungicide use and straw yield, Snickerdoodles, and what top producers do


It seems any time is a good time for the Wheat Pete 15 — that’s taking 15 minutes out of your week to call someone you haven’t checked in with in a while. This week, that reminder is especially poignant, as you’ll hear in Wheat Pete’s Word, below.

Also in this week’s podcast, host Peter Johnson talks about the yield divide between the top end and bottom end wheat producers, how cover crops actually save moisture in hot climates, and explains just how huge of an impact on straw yield you can expect from a double pass of fungicide 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].


  • Congratulations to Nature Nut Nick, from Strathroy, one of two soil champions named this year!
  • Christine Brown was also named soil champion for 2023
  • January in Nick’s area, average temp was about 0 degrees
  • Pete’s mother-in-law passed away last week, and she made the best cookies! Brother Paisely says, “I’m so happy that between Christmas and New Year’s and I used my Pete’s 15 to call Dorothy, and we had such a good chat.”
  • So, you never know when a great chat may be the last, and it will be so worth it
  • Wheat Pete’s 15 — take 15 minute to call someone you are thinking of
  • Build community, lift each other up
  • A vet delivered a two-headed calf in southern Ontario. There is a 1 in 100,000 chance of it happening
  • Tracey Baute, OMAFRA entomologist, has written about how to manage without lambda-cy (watch for a school coming up on the topic, too). Read it here.
  • Rotation! It’s the fifth R (after the 4Rs)
  • Just rotating crops solves problems, or avoids them all together
  •  20 years continuous beans on rented ground. Oh. My. Word.
  • Pete was in Dodge City, Kansas
  • From one side of the state to the other, huge rain differences
  • Winter wheat into dust and no rain to speak of
  • How do you manage N in late-planted wheat?
  • Looking at the YEN 2022 summary — some great info there. Watch the Wheat School for details soon!
  • Top 20 per cent 139 bu/ac average, bottom 20 per cent was 89 bu/ac (yield potential was 198 bu and 193 bu, respectively)
  • T1 fungicide timing and pay back, half rate vs full rate
  • Intensive trail of wheat: That’s fungicide x2, vs no fungicide, and looked at straw yield. In area 2, fungicides added 800 lb/ac more straw!
  • U of Minnesota, did work on nitrogen on edible beans, preliminary results, the most economical rate of N was 90 lb
  • Municipality has wood chip compost available. Is it good for fields? Test it, please. Look out for carbon to nitrogen ratio
  • Organic amendments are getting more pricey. Should I still use it? Absolutely. We have to close the cycle. And still valuable
  • North Carolina grower won the corn and soy contest AND uses cover crops. Tissue tested C:N ratio to predict N release. Water conservation with shading was a benefit. Read more about it here.

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Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 9 (2023) Episode 46

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