Wheat Pete's Word, Mar 13: Managing tiller potential, manure nutrient sources, and early insect trouble


It won’t be long before planters and seeders are rolling for #plant24, but some areas will be well ahead of others, like southern Ontario.

The mild winter has certainly got many thinking about field passes. From nitrogen and sulphur applications, to manure, and even maybe some early planting, wheels are turning.

And with that comes questions and our first almost alert. Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson has answers to your toughest questions on this week’s 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].


  • For Ontario and parts of the U.S. winter has been incredibly mild
  • The winter wheat looks phenomenal!
  • That means we need to talk about nitrogen management
  • In the south, maple run is over already. Still rolling further north and east
  • Late March appears to be heading back to more seasonal temps for much of the province
  • What we don’t want to happen is fruit trees to get too far advanced and then we get that cold May frost or late April frost when they’re in bloom
  • What might this mean for migratory insect pests? There’s a great article by Anthony Hanson out of Minnesota, talking about cold temperatures and insect survival
  • What to worry about for overwintering? Soybean aphids, alfalfa weevil
  • Ontario corn fields are developing corn rootworm resistance. Watch any fields with continuous corn!
  • Rotate, rotate, rotate
  • Migratory issues: potato leafhopper, cutworm, some armyworm
  • Oh wow, stripper headers on wheat and barley are COOL
  • But they’re heavy, they’re hard to run, but they work in lodged wheat from wheat stem sawfly
  • Remember that with a stripper header, almost all the separation happens at the header — capacity!
  • And for moisture conservation, there’s not much that can beat it
  • Stubble height matters to trap snow, but what you really do is reduce the evaporation from the soil surface and that evaporation is what hurts you far more than not trapping the snow
  • It’s still too early to put nitrogen on in some areas. If you can get out on the frost now that it’s turning colder, you get out on a frosty night and you can apply a bit of nitrogen and sulphur, but not more than 50 pounds. Especially if it turns colder
  • November wheat needs different management than September wheat, that’s for sure. Tiller trouble
  • Getting guff for not putting on S? Availability is an issue for some
  • Manure questions: how to get it uniform? How much N? Source matters
  • But again, it’s the uniformity of application that matters. There’s lots of S, but slow release
  • What about N losses? Cool temps keep N loss lower than what we may have thought
  • One trial actually saw less loss from no till or strip till than they did from minimum till or conventional till
  • Questions on phosphorus availability and sources. Root/soil/fertilizer interactions matter


Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 10 (2024) Episode 15

Please register to read and comment.


Register for a RealAgriculture account to manage your Shortcut menu instead of the default.