Wheat Pete’s Word, Aug 29: Fall fertility, wheat seeds per acre, and the California RoundUp case

For a growing season that started so dry for so many, some farmers are now hoping for a string of two or three days of dry weather to get hay done or start harvest on spring-planted crops. It’s also been a trying week for Ontario’s Compaction Day planning crew who ended up cancelling the event because of rain.

On this late summer edition of Wheat Pete’s Word, host Peter Johnson talks soybean scouting, winter wheat planting tips and timing, tackles what the science says about a glyphosate and cancer connection, and answers your questions on fertility, pH, and much more. (Full summary is below the player).

Have a question you’d like Johnson to address? Or some yield results to send in? Leave him a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected]


  • Third-cut hay is getting washed in some areas. We need a string of few dry days to get it done.
  • Soybeans are starting to turn, but there is some colour change due to sudden death syndrome Get out and scout, and if it is SDS, sample for soybean cyst nematode, as the two often go hand-in-hand
  • Wheat variety data is out! Head to GoCereals.ca to start digging in to variety performance. Take a look at look at more than yield — look at fusarium and stripe rust ratings, too. In a dry year like this one, there was only a 2/bu advantage to spraying a fungicide. Over the previous five years, there was an 8 to10 bushel yield response
  • What does the California glyphosate ruling really mean? Andrew Kniss (@WyoWeeds) has written a great post, summarizing the scientific data (Check it out here). There are two types of studies to verify a link between a certain cancer and glyphosate. In one type, there was a very small statistical correlation, however in a more specific type of study (that actually looked at exposure levels) it did NOT correlate. Would a scientist ever say definitively there is NO link? That’s not how science works, of course. But the science says a link is unlikely.
  • How do you handle phosphorus and potassium applications in a corn/soy/wheat rotation ahead of corn? First off, don’t plow! Secondly, is renting a fertilizer spreader the “cheapest” way to do things? Likely not, when you factor in the uneven application pattern. Waiting until spring is also too risky. If you can put starter fertilizer with the planter, put the balance on this fall
  • The Hefty Brothers always talk about base saturation and balancing nutrients and lowering high pH, do I really have to worry about that in Manitoba? Peter says, “Nope!” Potash application is pretty much a non-issue in Western Canada, and pH even less so. Twitterless soil specialist for Manitoba Agriculture John Heard says that on a sand soil maybe it’s an issue, but other than that, Manitoba soils are so rich in potash you don’t need it for years, if you’ve done your soil test. Low pH equals adding lime, but to bring down a pH you’d have to get to 8.4-8.5. Then, what’s the solution — 4 tonnes of sulphur? Don’t worry about it; it’s not economic
  • A question on winter wheat establishment for the first time in southwestern Quebec (same latitude of Kemptville): Going on processing pea stubble with a sheep manure application. What’s the best seeding date and rate? September 10-15, 1.5 million seeds/acre, 100 pounds of MAP
  • Dan, from Idaho, asks, do I seed the winter wheat in to dust or wait for rain? If it’s the optimum date, you go. The rain will come. Plant 1.25-1.5 inches. It can sit for a month and be just fine.