Wheat Pete's Word, Nov 8: Importing organic matter, broadcast wheat, ugly beans, and the value of a dryer


Mother Nature is not smiling on Ontario corn growers trying to get the ’23 crop out of the field. Concern over increasing DON levels is high and dry-down is slow. Plus, there’s concern over rutting or compacting the fields if conditions stay wet.

That’s just one conversation in this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word — host Peter Johnson also talks about dryer settings, what to do with ugly beans, heaving wheat, and more!

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].


  • Corn harvest weather has been brutal for some areas of Ontario
  • Tough decisions on ruts, compaction, DON levels and plugging equipment
  • What percentage of the DNA in your body actually gets expressed? It’s actually only 2 per cent because of represser proteins
  • In weed control, sometimes the herbicide turns on that repressor protein or it stops that repressor protein from actually preventing the DNA from being read
  • Atrazine is broken down by bacteria, at first it’s slow and then it’s fast and that bacteria that can break it down continues to live in the soil profile. Neat
  • There are some amazing corn yields out there, including cracking in to the 300 bu/ac club
  • Just two years ago it seemed like a high bar, and now, it’s seems achievable
  • But then, there’s barley with a very slow tick up in yield over decades. Genetics are a big driver
  • Some corn hybrids are just not drying down but in other areas there’s been plenty of dry down in the last two to three weeks, what gives? Pay attention to the hybrids that aren’t drying down, as they might be too risky to grow, especially in a bad DON year
  • There is crop insurance for DON — check out the fact sheet from Agricorp
  • We know that DON levels increase over time when corn is left out, but parts of the cob/corn accumulate much higher toxin levels. How you harvest matters
  • Early harvest can keep the DON ppm manageable, but there are significant hybrid differences
  • There have been reports of some hybrids with as high as 20 parts per million in southwestern Ontario, they just can’t be grown again, full stop
  • Fines are an issue, but so is dust, with Dr. Dave Hooker saying that dust is five times higher for DON
  • Combining at night can increase fines and DON, same with if you combine in the rain
  • Dryers are an incredible tool but require careful setting and constant management
  • Way more washing and cleaning and tidying up is required in a year like this one because of plugging and fire risk
  • There is just so much value to gain from having your own dryer set up — but watch those temps!
  • Wet harvest conditions can lead to sad, ugly beans
  • Really poor beans may need to be roasted and fed out
  • Remember over 120 plenum temperature kills the germ pretty quickly, so be careful
  • Can you really build soil organic matter quickly without just importing it from somewhere else via feed?
  • It takes 223 bushel wheat or 239 bushel per acre corn to increase soil organic matter, 0.1 per cent if your soil is at 1 per cent organic matter to start with
  • The higher the organic matter, the harder it is to increase the organic matter because of the natural breakdown
  • Yield Enhancement Network winners were announced — and broadcast wheat actually did well, as a per cent of potential yield!
  • Frost heave help for small wheat? Don’t give up on the crop yet

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