Wheat Pete’s Word, Sept 23: Frost impacts, super-dry beans, tar spot, and rock hard ground

The last week hasn’t been kind to the Ontario grain crop as a light frost caused heavy damage to many edible beans, some soybeans, and corn.

More than that, we’re in the heart of optimal winter wheat planting timing and conditions are dry — what’s a farmer to do? To answer that question, plus so much more including two alerts, Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson has this week’s Word.

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].


  • There are some terrible soybean yields in the driest areas
  • F-f-f-frost! It never got that cold, why so much damage? Blame the sunshine and warmth!
  • What’s the yield impact? It depends on the crop type and crop stage. Double crop beans, soybean or edible, are hardest hit. Corn stalks are OK and the shanks seem OK. But so many leaves have been damaged. Won’t hurt corn yield, though.
  • Don’t forget about the risk of prussic acid in sorghum-sudan grass after a frost
  • Dry conditions means harvesting conditions are lovely, but watch those crop moisture levels
  • Super dry beans! At 9% vs 13% beans — you’ve lost 4.4% of yield (it’s just the way the math works) Every moisture point loses 1.1% in weight. Remember that leaving them out means “invisible loss” of shattered pods. It’s possibly one per cent per week.
  • Cracked edibles? Slow that cylinder down. Or wait for rain.
  • ALERT! Tar spot identified in two locations in Chatham-Kent. More here.
  • ALERT! Do not broadcast treated wheat seed into soybeans. You run the risk of treated seed in a finished sample. That’s all bad.
  • On a good note — 2021 wheat prices are super nice. Get those sell orders in.
  • How deep do you plant wheat? If you’re planting wheat, plant to moisture, even if it’s down two or three inches (oh, so much down pressure required!).
  • What happens if there’s no moisture at three inches? Go in at 1.25 inches and wait for rain. Good moisture at 1.5 inches? Go in at 1.75 inches, please.
  • Bottom line: get that seed in the ground. Don’t pull those rates back even if it is early or optimal. Especially if the forecast stays dry.
  • Broadcast phosphorus before or after wheat? Timing doesn’t matter then, but it does matter if you had put it on before working the field
  • Seed-placed phos still pays when you plant early/optimal. The phos bump is real.
  • A call from Zambia! Potash on wheat, which is less of an issue, but often applied for next year’s soybeans.
  • Get those gallons on with liquid
  • Fall N on wheat: 100 pounds of urea in the fall? NO. You’ll lose half of it over the winter and not get any extra yield. N is in the spring. Full stop.

Wake up with RealAgriculture

Subscribe to our daily newsletters to keep you up-to-date with our latest coverage every morning.

Wake up with RealAgriculture