Wheat Pete's Word, March 1: Learn and burn, hybrid wheat, cuddling corn, and iced over crops


March 1 marks a special occasion — it’s the first day of meteorological spring! What does that really mean? Not much for the day to day stuff, but is important for measuring and comparing weather parameters.

That’s the kick off to this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word. Host Peter Johnson can feel the beginning of spring and with it comes many questions, including how ice impacts wheat, the promise of winter canola, why soil must cuddle corn, and if K on soybeans fixes or causes issues.

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].


  • Meteorological spring!
  • We’re not going to reach 1,000 episodes of the Word by going with two per week, for the record
  • 400 bushel corn in 11 years without changing a darn thing, you’d say I was crazy. But wait a minute! You’d change somethings, i.e. fertilizer
  • Correction: 172 GDD was actually 72. 72 versus average of 1
  • Woody says listening to WPW took 7 km on the bike
  • Healthy and learning all in one
  • The almost Wheat Pete’s 15 — in person! Became a 4-hour chat. Kevin sends snail mail, and that gets the phone ringing
  • Get to the good stuff, Pete
  • BASF is OUT on hybrid wheat in North America. Read more here.
  • Hybrid wheat is a tough nut to crack
  • Please tell me the wheat is fine, says a listener
  • Freezing rain, snow, ice — what will kill the wheat?
  • Respiration is important. Crown is ok below the surface
  • Need water ponding plus ice and smothering to happen to kill the wheat
  • Red clover on now? Will it damage the wheat leaves? Only where the tires run, and not likely to hugely impact yield, but we’ll find out
  • Confusion: ammonium thiosulfate. What about dry and liquid and overcoming a yield difference between AMS and N forms
  • Urea and dry AMS = bulk density differences cause an issue with spinner spreader
  • Clover and dry fertilizer to save a trip? You can, but clover would be going on a bit later than ideal
  • It’s still really too early for N now, but good time for clover in a week or two, N in April
  • Organic farmer with hog manure — when does it go on wheat? Compaction is first issue. Ground needs firm (fall?) or on the frost (not on snow). Uniformity in spread is really key
  • Winter canola is an option — Mercedes is a game changer
  • Winter canola can plug tile. And expect volunteers
  • Chloride on soybeans: Horst Bohner says, 400 lb per acre of KCl on beans in the spring and never seen a yield penalty
  • Hundreds of S trials, too, and very rare to see any response here in Ontario
  • Sharp sands, maybe
  • How deep should I work with vertical tillage? Corn stalks worked in fall, wants to do once in the spring
  • Tillage is part art, part science
  • Angle matters. Straighter can move deeper. More angle, more smear lower down
  • Shallow as possible, in dry soil
  • Corn needs cuddles!
  • K at fusarium timing? Zero data to support this on wheat (to prevent lodging)
  • Don’t do it!
  • Spruce along a field edge…will there be root intrusion in tile? Yes. Manage accordingly.

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