Wheat Pete’s Word, Nov 27: Corn fines, snow fences, soy performance, and pushback

If this harvest season keeps up, Wheat Pete’s Word host Peter Johnson is going to have to change his name to Corn Bjorn. Because, yes, that’s nearly all he talks about in this week’s edition, but we promise it’s still interesting stuff, even if wheat hardly gets a mention.

From what to do with high-fine corn, how to choose the next big soybean variety, and the value of tiled ground, this late November Word has got some decent pushback on some of Pete’s top tips, too (you know, just to keep things exciting).

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].


  • GoSoy.ca has new performance trials up for Ontario growers. Get some seed ordered for some test plots! Give new genetics a try, but don’t go whole hog.
  • In the IP soybean market, S03W4s are still the backbone of many programs, which speaks to the longevity of some lines, but keep trying new ones. One year, you’ll meet your new favourite
  • Great harvest weather last week for many in Ontario. Friday morning plenty of combines were rolling on the frost, even though soybeans were still at 18 to 20 per cent moisture. It’s late November — it doesn’t matter what moisture they are, just get them off the field.
  • You pay for tile drainage whether you have it or not. Ontario is lucky because farmers have the right to tile, it’s so difficult out west to get the OK to do it. In a wet fall, it helps, in a wet spring, it helps, in a wet summer, it helps. Tile pays and you could see that this past week with combines rolling this late. Yes, there is still a compaction risk, for sure, but getting the crop off at this point is the key and right now we’re not making ruts where there’s tile
  • Combine on the frost Friday morning….but it was cold, and lots of combines got frozen up in the morning for a few hours
  • Provincial average yields for soybeans are coming in as below to average, depending on where you are in the province. But that’s actually far better than we thought we’d be in June.
  • Heavy clay ground really showed up on the yield monitor (for soybeans), and not in a good way. Sometimes a 15 bushel yield hit. It’s all about root growth and planting conditions and organic matter
  • Hey, Wheat Pete loves feedback, even when it’s pushback! One caller says, sure, we planted 1 million acres of wheat, but we’re only going to get half of that. And September is when wheat should be planted.
  • Also: Hey, Peter, you’re still a tillage guy because you do tillage with the drill. Zing! It’s important to think about all the soil disturbance, not just before and after the crop is growing
  • Production insurance: a reminder to call Agricorp by Dec 15 whether you are done harvest or not. If you were kept out of the field because of whatever issue, you are covered so long as you call in and report.
  • Last week’s point about the snow fence effect — is there any research on this? Yes! Year after year. If you’re going to leave the corn out, leave those 4 rows, then harvest, then leave the crop.
  • What about test weight? You can’t make grade 5 corn better than grade 5 corn if that’s what it is now, but you can improve the test weight by leaving it out all winter
  • Super high moisture corn is still staying up there, and it’s a big challenge — equilibrium moisture theory works best on mature corn, clearly. It will dry down over the winter, though.
  • Thankful that the propane is coming back! (More on the railway strike here).
  • It took more than 2.5 hours to dump once at the elevator…so definitely corn was left out this weekend that wouldn’t have been had we had propane.
  • Noticed in the field: double planting costs yield for sure and really lodges, especially this year.
  • Corn fines are pretty bad this year, as evidenced by piles on the road where the buggy was loaded. Some are reporting five, six, ten or even 15 per cent fines. Ouch. Storing corn high in fines means you’re going to have to core that bin. Then probably do it again.

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