Wheat Pete’s Word, June 7: Hula hoops, big hay yields, & saying no to half-rate fungicides

Haying is underway (with some phenomenal yields!), soybeans are struggling, and sprayers are rolling — there’s lots of ground to cover on this week’s Word with RealAg agronomist Peter Johnson.

Peter discusses the replant decision facing soybean growers, rolling timing on beans, early weed control in wheat, drift reduction agents, fungicide rates, row spacing for dry beans and more. Check out the summary below.

And make sure to submit your questions and feedback!

Leave Peter a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].


  • Hay harvest is underway, with some great yields thanks to the rain and temperatures in much of Ontario.
  • Unfortunately cool, wet conditions mean many soybeans are struggling with crusting and cold injury. Use a hula hoop to calculate your population. 100,000 plants/ac still works out to about 98 percent yield potential. Soybean emergence is thin, but seems to be uniform, which should make replant decisions easier. (Is there a link between larger than normal seed size and reduced vigour?)
  • Don’t rip up existing soybean stand when replanting. Unlike corn and other crops, it’s better to seed into them and thicken the stand up.
  • When to roll soybeans? Because of cool, wet conditions, rolling right after planting has led to crusting and reduced stands. Research out of Michigan State shows rolling on a warm day at 1st trifoliate gets all the benefits and you make the soybeans mad, says Peter, which can boost yield by a bushel or two.
  • Do drift reduction agents have a fit in reducing dicamba drift on Xtend beans? They absolutely do not replace proper spray tips. Be aware they can change properties of the droplet. Also watch for temperature inversions.
  • What’s the best approach for group 2 resistant lambsquarters in edible beans?
  • Early weed control in spring wheat — ideally, keep clean from emergence to at least five leaf stage. If heavy pressure, the earlier you can take the weeds out, the better.
  • What’s the ideal row width on edible beans on loam soil? 30 inch rows are too wide. 20 inch rows will canopy and still allow for inter-row cultivating and windrowing. 15 inch rows are probably optimum if no-till, still wide enough to let some air through to prevent mould.
  • What about wheat row spacing? What’s the yield difference between 7.5 and 15 inch rows? As a rule of thumb, you gain 1 percent for every inch you narrow up the rows.
  • Do not just throw in a half rate of fungicide at herbicide timing in cereals! “I hate half-rate fungicides. The answer is no, no, no!” If you need it, you need the full rate. NDSU research shows 2-6 bu/ac yield bump from early fungicide. Benefit goes up if you’re wheat on wheat, maybe also in no-till with residue.
  • Differences in wheat head timing over vs between tile lines when spraying for fusarium in wheat — most products on the market work well over a wider window.

Listen to previous episodes of the Word here.