Wheat Pete's Word, June 21: Potash deficiency, the summer solstice, and an aphid alert


It certainly isn’t every year that Wheat Pete’s Word AND the longest day of the year fall on the same day, but hey, we’ll celebrate!

On this episode, host Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson is talking about the weather, because as we know, weather drives everything in crop production. Johnson has a quick alert to get out in the field and scout, tackles some weed control questions, and discusses issues with the wheat crop.

Have a question you’d like Wheat Pete to address or some field results to send in? Agree/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].


  • The summer solstice — awesome! Lots of sunshine
  • If we’ve got moisture in the field those plants in the field are photosynthesizing just as much as they can for as many hours as possible
  • WOW is it dry in many pockets of North America
  • The wheat crop right now is using a quarter of an inch of water per day
  • As the soil gets compacted, water moves more slowly through it
  • The beans look excellent. They survived being flooded for two and a half days. They are coming on gangbusters!
  • Root rot could be an issue on those beans that are in the wetter areas — pay attention to that
  • Crops can typically stand being underwater for about 48 hours without it having much impact disease-wise
  • There’s a heck of a rally going on in the corn market right now
  • Get out to your fields and scout scout scout
  • Most crops are sensitive to when the rain comes, but that corn crop is especially. We witnessed that after the June 12th rain in a big part of Ontario last week
  • “Chicken Man Dan” has soybeans in flower on June the 20th. So things are definitely moving along
  • Alert alert alert! There have been many reports of soybean aphids…it could be a bad year for them
  • The aphids are nowhere near threshold, but we need to keep scouting to make sure it stays that way
  • Eastern Ontario is a pretty constant hotspot for soybean aphids, they get them quite often
  • In the wheat crop, in drought conditions we have to watch out for potash deficiency. Potash gets locked up in dry soil
  • If a plant is potash deficient, then the photosynthate in the plant is actually more nutritious for the soybean aphids…
  • Why were the soybeans so slow emerging? Temperature, temperature, temperature
  • We do not give soil temperatures enough credit when we plant crops, or when we make that decision to plant edibles or not to plant edibles
  • What about wheat grain fill? More rain will help right up until we get into the soft dough stage
  • If the crop is under drought stress when it heads out, that’s less than ideal
  • The first 10 days or the first week after heading is the time when the wheat kernel is making cells. So if we don’t put any photosynthate into the kernel at that time…. we basically don’t make enough storage units to make big kernels
  • When do I sell my wheat straw?
  • When you sell your wheat straw, you do sell organic matter. It’s a give and a take
  • What’s going on in wheat fields? The head height is all over the place
  • When the flag leaf is gone on the wheat crop, we know we’ve got a severe disease problem
  • Wheat is in sync during grain fill
  • If you have significant drought burn on your wheat crop, you’ve likely given up any benefit from fungicide

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