Wheat Pete’s Word, Sept. 11: Corn and wheat markets, field margin fleabane, and wheat after silage

(Debra Murphy/RealAgriculture)

There are plenty of questions and feedback rolling in for host of Wheat Pete’s Word, Peter Johnson.

This week, Johnson is sharing some of the top marketing feedback he’s heard, what has worked and not worked for some with establishing, alfalfa, and he shares some insight into disease risks for the winter wheat crop following silage. Listen on!

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].


  • At the Oxford Soil and Crop meeting on Monday, Rob Saik was a guest speaker, and he had the quote of the season: Mother Nature isn’t all that motherly. Oh my gosh, right?
  • Maritime farmers are struggling with Hurricane Dorian aftermath. PEI corn is flat… but not green snap that we are used to getting that’s brittle and snapping off, these are bent from the wind but the stalk is intact, basically just bent into a ‘U’. Roots are holding firm. What’s going to happen to this corn? It will be a nightmare to harvest, but it should make kernels as the stalk is intact and roots are still working.
  • The oat crop got flattened, though — that will be no fun to harvest.
  • Steve Kell, grain marketer with P&H, says that the USDA yield numbers/production numbers are WRONG. USDA’s mandate is to make the market work more efficiently. Look to the private forecasters for more accurate numbers. Kell says we’re out of corn from the Mississippi River east. We need 6 MMT of feed in Ontario, and we’re out of corn…so even poor corn is going to be needed this fall because the U.S. regions we pull from are also out. Don’t panic with this 2019 crop needing time to mature, even with the threat of an early frost. There will be a market for this crop.
  • There’s an inverse market in wheat right now,  where the market is paying more today than in the future (2020). Why? We’re out of corn, there’s still high DON corn to use up, and we need feed and clean wheat, so up the wheat goes. There won’t be much carry in the market, so take your profits and don’t store it. Kell says you may end up with the same price in March as you could get now and didn’t have to store it.
  • Area 5 wheat performance trials are up. Not a huge winter wheat growing region, but at least the plots survived. Good info for northern growers, anyway.
  • ALERT! Bean leaf beetle feeding damage is at threshold in some isolated fields. Some late fields are still susceptible; food-grade are worth scouting. 10% pod feeding could trigger control. Remember the pre-harvest interval.
  • One caller says they plant oats and alfalfa after the wheat comes off, and take a cut in October with success.
  • A caller says they grew wheat after corn silage and got 3.4 tonnes/acre plus seven 7-foot bales/acre, planted September 20th last year. High yield potential trumps fusarium risk. Pick a moderately resistant variety and plan to spray for fusarium control if you’re putting wheat after silage.
  • Prevent plant/unseeded acres were corn in 2018: is that a higher risk for wheat this fall? Absolutely not. You can plant wheat. Drive on.
  • Broadcast early vs drill in late: which is better? Drill does a better job, especially on uneven ground. But early trumps late. Maybe just find someone to drill it early.
  • Burn-off for edible beans: No more glyphosate! But what about sow thistle control? Using Eragon which will burn the green tissue, but won’t control the weed. Wheat Pete says harvest the beans, and before you drill in the wheat, scout for any green rosettes post-harvest and do a post-harvest glyphosate application, if there is green tissue to target. Or try Infinity FX (not just Infinity).
  • Fleabane in field margins and in patches where wheat was thin — so much is likely glyphosate resistant. Only option right now? Mow. Reduce that seed risk.
  • Taking out alfalfa? Earlier is better once we’re into September — don’t wait for frost.
  • Triticale is later than winter barley or winter wheat. Don’t mix winter barley and winter wheat for straw! 10 days difference in maturity and you’ll lose all the barley heads.

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