Wheat Pete's Word, Oct 25: Gibberella risk, milky kernels, ladybug swarms, and GEMs


A frosty week in Ontario and a snowy one out west means all those pre-winter jobs just moved up the priority list a notch or two.

For Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson, that just means there’s more time-sensitive topics to cover on this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word. From an alert on corn harvest field selection, to taking out cover crops, and on to fall weed control, Pete’s got plenty to cover on this podcast.

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].


  • GMO access in Africa
  • What is a GEM? A genuine enthusiasm machine
  • A ladybug invasion! Native ladybugs overwinter outside. If they are in your house — they bite! And stink when you squish ’em
  • Green on green spraying — Check out The Agronomists from Monday night all about spot sprayers
  • The first real frost of #plant23 hit Oct 23. A week later than average, but still a below-average heat unit season
  • Corn has stalled. Some will brown layer, not black
  • The St. Lawrence Seaway strike is on, and that could be very bad. Ontario needs the storage space!
  • Double crop beans might still yield; don’t give up
  • Speaking of corn — ALERT ALERT ALERT
  • Gibberella and DON production: you’ve been warned, and the warning was warranted
  • The OMAFRA DON survey is out. The 2023 numbers in that survey are very similar to 2016. There are some real hotspots, but there’s also a lot of excellent corn
  • Over 2 ppm limits marketing options: it’s not impossible, but it’s more difficult to market that corn
  • Get that corn out of the field! Scout Scout Scout, get out and find the fields that look like they have gib and get them harvested first
  • There are field by field differences, too — and big yields
  • Soybean yields in some areas were just mediocre or disappointing
  • Corn lodging already? Why it can happen
  • Have you seen milky corn kernels?
  • In 2023, many corn hybrids were silking five days before they tasseled, which is a drought tolerance factor. Sometimes one silk struggles to get through and it emerges later when there is still pollen floating around and so it gets pollinated much later than the rest of the cob
  • Let’s get our heads around corn drying down in the field, over winter. It’s all about equilibrium moisture (and relative humidty). A day that is 20 degrees and 30 per cent relative humidity, the equilibrium moisture content of that corn is 13 per cent. If you have 30% corn, and your equilibrium content is 19 (-5 degrees C), you’ve got 11 point spread to drive moisture out, that’s why at 35 per cent corn dries faster than it does at 25 per cent
  • So far, corn looks to be drying down very, very well. We might get to two percentage points a week, this time of year, maybe even 3% a week, that would be awesome. If it’s warm days, we’ll get 3 per cent
  • Burn down of oats on wheat stubble — what should be in the tank?
  • Horsetail in soybeans? You cannot do anything this fall to horsetail
  • Keep planing wheat if you can, but if you store it, bugs will eat it!

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