Wheat Pete’s Word, Aug 17: Much-Celebrated Moisture, Selective Tillage and Ugly Corn

After weeks of talking about drought, much of Ontario is celebrating. Peter Johnson, resident agronomist at RealAgriculture, and host of the Word, discusses the recent rains, and what management shifts producers will have to consider, plus: spider mites, the pros and cons of tillage, and strip-tilling fertilizer.

Listen or download below! And of course, if you have a question for Wheat Pete, call 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].



Drought Has Broken!

  • 95-99% of Ontario now has significant moisture, with more in the forecast.
  • Not necessarily too late for the corn crop — some can expect bigger kernels, higher test weights.
  • Remember to pay attention to nitrates in silage.
  • Long-season soybeans are going to win over short-season for yield this year.

Spider Mites

  • Ontario out of Cygon and Lagon, but the weather will help — cooler temperatures and higher humidities slow spider mite population growth.
  • Growers should stop spraying by R5-R6.

Edible Beans

  • Lots of edible beans have turned because of high temperatures.
  • Harvest should begin within the next two weeks.

Red Clover

  • Weeds in red clover stubble have come up quickly.
  • In as little as four weeks after winter wheat harvest, you can have viable seeds in many of the weed species.
  • Get out there and clip it!
  • If you have 1 plant/square foot, you don’t need to thicken it up with the oat crop.
  • Some growers complaining about slow growth. Again, this is due to weather conditions.


  • Corn/soybean rotation on sand — If I strip-apply my fertilizer, does it mean I can get away with a lower field test level?
  • The sweet-spot from agronomic standpoint, and considering environmental health looks to be around 20-25 for phosphorous.


  • Tillage was originally used for weed control, and to release nutrients out of the soil. We are effectively ‘mining’ the soil when we go to significant tillage.
  • It also has some benefits…
  • Selective tillage can help mitigate risk of erosion.

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