Wheat Pete’s Word, Oct 3: Soybean standstill, toxin problems, and strip till answers

There are not one, but two Alert! Alert! Alert! segments in this week’s Wheat Pete’s Word, and that’s just how she goes in a wet, snowy, long, drawn out harvest.

Host Peter Johnson is talking wheat storage woes, mycotoxin trouble, and strip tillage tips and tricks in this early October edition of the Word. You’ll also hear answers on what to do about nutsedge, wheat seed numbers per acre, how soil pH impacts phosphorus uptake, and hear the word nutlets, which is as good as any reason to listen, really.

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]


  • Soybean harvest is on hold in many areas. Some farmers are moving out of beans, and heading for the high moisture corn even some grain corn as the crop is drying down quickly. Don’t miss the window!
  • Grain corn yields are average, so far (send in your reports!)
  • Soybean yields are still impressive. An organic grower averaged over 80 bushels per acre, too
  • ALERT! There are mycotoxins in the corn crop! It’s localized, but vomitoxin levels in corn silage are showing up well above what we’d like. They can have major negative impacts on your herd if you don’t know they are there. Some fields are testing as high as 20 ppm/vomitoxin in silage. Get those feed binders, dilute it down, do what you have to, but be ready
  • What’s the relationship of toxins in silage and toxins in grain corn? Well, most of the toxins are carried on the cob….does that mean grain corn will be a wreck? Well, this year there were lotsof second cobs that silk, but don’t necessary mature. Those silks are a  giberella infection highway, and you can get into high levels of toxin in the stalk, which, for grain corn is a saving grace. We’re hopeful that it won’t be as bad. But seeing 3-4 ppm in grain corn, so test!
  • What can you do? harvest early, get it out of the fields. Make sure you clean your grain, get rid of those cob pieces. Over 9 degrees C, gibberella grows. Over 19% moisture, gibberella grows. Limit it through early harvest, dry it or ensile it, and clean clean clean.
  • ALERT NUMBER TWO: wheat in storage getting an insect infestation. High temps ramps up insect life cycle, check your bins!
  • Managing the wheat crop into October — time to ramp up seeding rate! Won’t get much tillering this fall, 1.6 to 1.8 million seeds per acre will happen pretty quick here. Increase 100,000 seeds per acre every 4-5 days as October moves on.
  • Do you add more phosphorus as you increase the seeding rate? 50 pounds is ok, 70 is good, do you need to go to 100? Probably not. Blending it through the drill? Know when you’re maxed out on total volume/weight through those tubes! Watch your speed and your topography
  • Does wheat like soil sour or sweet? Odd question, but from a pH standpoint — wheat is fine at 5.5 or above, above 6 is better, really only plays into fertility accessibility, at 8.4 wheat does fine too as long as there’s enough phos with the seed
  • Strip tillage: in a wet area — where there has been a cover crop, the roots are adding soil structure, been able to do good fall strips because of it. Dry conditions took some extra work to get the strips in this year
  • Crimson clover and oats, got some strips into it, but is there a downside to spring kill vs fall kill? Remember you want black earth in the spring. So you need that clover crop dead. Plant green has major consequences — you need that black strip to make it work. As always, leave a section for a check and play with it
  • Nutsedge in soybean crop at harvest — any fall options? You’re already shaved the ground after soybean harvest, so there’s no plant material to soak up herbicide, and the nutlets in the ground aren’t accessible. So, nope, you’re going to have to chase it next year.