Wheat Pete’s Word, July 3: Bushels lost per inch of weeds, fusarium risks, and no bare acres

Peter ‘Wheat Pete’ Johnson is back for another edition of Wheat Pete’s Word, even if his voice is only running about 80%.

It’s early July, and there’s so very much to cover in this week’s audio. From fusarium florets, to surprisingly weedy corn fields, and on to rolling corn cobs, and covering unseeded acres, host Johnson might be a little subdued but he’s got your answers. (Summary continues below player)

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


  • No voice, means no Word, so sorry about last week. But he’s trying! Summer cold and laryngitis is a bad combo.
  • Let us know if you ever have issues accessing the Word! We’ll always try and fix an issue ASAP.
  • Ontario finally has summer, with warm temps, but some areas still getting constant rainfall
  • Tough soil still, One farmer reports receiving 15.2″ of rain from April 15 to June 25. WOW.
  • London area reporting some fusarium infection symptoms in wheat, but not a disaster as of yet.
  • Interesting: part of the head is typically affected, and sometimes individual florets and that’s what Pete is seeing. Less infection. What does that mean? The disease is there and it can spread, even if initial infection is low. How do you manage that? Harvest early! But…
  • How do you harvest early with stagey crops? Those tillers are going to cause issues. Can you do a pre-harvest glyphosate application? Yes, it will gain you a couple to three days to get the soybeans in. The challenge is getting that peduncle colour change— Check it out in this video. You must not have translocation to the grain.
  • Do you wait on those tillers? It’s going to be a tough call. Have to tell maturity in those tillers and make the call.
  • Corn cobs left in the soybean fields from 2018: a farmer wants to roll beans to crush them in to avoid volunteer corn. No! Have to run it through the combine, you’ll just jam them into the soil and they’ll volunteer.
  • Average nitrogen release to date for Ontario was 8 ppm vs average 12 ppm. And samples were two weeks later than average, too. So cold, just haven’t had that nitrogen release. And we won’t catch up. It’s biological activity working on the organic matter and temperature driven. There will be 30 to 40 pounds less out of the soil this year, full stop.
  • If you’ve got really good corn, growing well and uniform, better make sure you’re feeding that yield potential with N!
  • If your yield potential isn’t there, use the corn N calculator to determine if you need to top up
  • Cereals that looked OK look like they’re going backwards — why? They’re not getting the N they need.
  • Wheel tracks and headlands are heading vs the rest of the field, what’s going on? Compaction related. Two reason for this: manganese deficiency caused by compaction. OR more denitrification in compacted areas, so wheat heads out earlier when N is limiting.
  • Can N application affect corn maturity? Not really. Unless you’re talking 0 pounds applied at planting, and late top up, let’s say. But usually there’s enough at planting and the soil that even with a split-app maturity will be the same
  • Urea vs Anhydrous ammonia: is there a difference in a pound of N from each? It’s the same, yes, but there are some considerations. Ammonium form costs the plant less energy to access, so anhydrous might offer a little advantage, for the plant
  • Liquid urea with FHB fungicide — 5 gallons of liquid urea and 5 gallons of fungicide? Nope. Liquid urea is safer than 28%, sure, but at the same time, but it’s not SAFE. You’ll damage the pollen in the floret and you can’t take the risk
  • Sulphur, do I need more because it’s wet. S comes out of dry deposition or atmosphere or organic N — less N release less S release. You may need some. You’ll see more S deficiency
  • Ammonium sulphate — all available S, Ammonium thiosulphate, it’s about half available right away, but a portion becomes elemental. More available on August.
  • Weed control: astounded to see weedy, weedy corn fields. Corn — start clean, stay clean. Peter Sikkemma says for evyer 1′ of weed crowth, 4 bushels per acre. 4 to 6 ” tall weeds costs 24 bushels per acre lost. What’s going on! We’ve had weather, we know, but you don’t wait for all the weeds to emerge, it’s bad math. Spray twice, if you have to, it’ll be economical. Choose to spray the corn first vs beans.
  • Unseeded acreage: oats and radish — when. GET IT DONE., Soil applied herbicide, take the risk, harvest the sun. Weeds will start and get ahead.
  • Cover crops, tillage or dikon radish, clip it, don’t let it go to seed. Seed every acre. NO BARE ACRES.

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