Wheat Pete’s Word, Oct 10: Harvest woes, late planting for wheat, and big buggy decisions

Harvest woes aren’t just limited to Western Canada, as, while there hasn’t been snow (yet!), wet field conditions are keeping Ontario farmers out of the fields as well. Soybean harvest has hardly advanced since last week, and disease pressure continues to build in standing corn.

This week’s Wheat Pete’s Word covers a harvest update, but quickly moves on to answering some of your timely questions — from compaction comparisons when buying a buggy, to green stems on beans, wheat planting considerations, and red clover control.


  • It’s an autumn of weird weather and weather woes — from a record warm October for Ontario, lots of early snow in Western Canada
  • In Ontario, farmers are dealing with high humidity which means burn-down has been slooow. Edible beans and soybeans are staying green and some soys are sprouting
  • Some farmers have moved on to corn
  • We’ve amassed 3400 heat units since may 1, but some 3100 heat unit corn is still at 36% to 38% in the rain zone; outside that zone corn is at 22-24% and drying down quite rapidly. What’s happening? Cloud cover over the summer has left some green plants and spraying fungicides definitely has slowed down dry down
  • Vomitoxin in the corn crop is a concern in some areas (Read/listen for more here)
  • Question: why is it a corn crop treated with a fungicide still has such high ppm vomitoxin? Plot results suggest we have seen a good reduction with a fungicide, but it’s one of those years with high temp, high humidity, and the pressure is just too high for too long. Fungicide is only suppression, at best
  • Green stems in soybeans —could be tobacco ring spot virus, or could be a late emergence or drought stress, impacts enzyme activity
  • Relay crop soybean report: three locations, at one, soybeans made no pods, second site, the yield will be sad, and third location there is maybe 20 bushels per acre. Not looking good. Reports of 0 bushels to 30 bushels per acre, all depends on management. Plus we lost about 10% on the wheat crop. But double crop looks way better. So is it better to get the wheat out of the way? Depends on how short a season bean you put in. They need to mature!
  • It’s not too late for wheat! Get that seed in the ground, but bump populations. That said, it’s wet. Can wheat be mudded in? Dr. Dave Hooker says 6 hours of sun and some light vertical tillage can work wonders. However, if you do that and then get rain, it can really work against you, so keep an eye on the forecast.
  • Question: drill settings, volume of seed plus fertilizer being too high? Keep bushel weight in mind
  • Fall weed control — perennial sow thistle. Walk your fields — are rosettes visible? Spray ahead of the wheat. But you have a few options once wheat hits three-leaf in the fall (so it’s a dance)
  • Grain buggy compaction question. Same capacity, but different tires and one is more expensive (900s is $10,000 more for a few reasons). Deep compaction is going to be the same. Surface compaction makes a difference — 50 acres of compaction, for the sake of argument, will cost you $1200 a year in crop. Doesn’t take long to make up that difference!
  • Triticale for heifer feed, any data? In Ontario, cereal rye yields just as much and good quality, but it’s much earlier than triticale or wheat (could be the May long weekend!). Be ready. Follow with beans.
  • Red clover, post wheat crop. Broadcast oats, strip till. But wants living roots into spring, so knock clover back in the fall, and easy to kill in the spring. Is this a sound thought process?

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