Wheat School: Selecting the right rates for seeding and phosphorus

What’s the number one way to get great wheat yields in the east? Plant early!

In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Wheat School, Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson shares his tips for planting, and his insights on phosphorus, based on soil type and base fertility.

“If you can plant wheat in September in Ontario, that’s almost always a good thing, so as soon as those beans get out of the field, plant that wheat,” says Johnson.

However, there are some considerations, depending on your location in the province. Seeding rate is one of them, and Joanna Follings, OMAFRA cereals specialist has done a great job calculating a new optimum planting date map, which you can find here.

Johnson says that after September 20, the seeding rate has to be bumped up. “Plant it early, make sure you get that right seeding rate,” he adds.

Phosphorus prices have gone through the roof, and some research that Johnson has gathered on long-term P and K, with plots that had no P or K added and plots that had broadcasted P and K.

In the video, Johnson explains that compared to a check, with 100 pounds of MAP, there was a 28 bushel per acre yield increase.

In plots where there was good base fertility, with no starter fertilizer applied, the yield was the same as the low soil test P plots, with added starter fertilizer. With the starter fertilizer, the yield was only three bushels per acre higher.

“What does this tell you? On good loam soils — so the Oxford County silt loams, the great clay loams in Perth County, the clay loams in Huron County — if you’re on a loam, and you’ve got good base fertility, does seed-placed phosphorus help? Yes, but it gives you three or four or five bushels. It makes the crop more uniform, it gives you better winter survival,” says Johnson.

Fifty pounds is lots, he adds, especially if P is just not economical. The difference is when base fertility is low or seeding into a heavy clay soil, Johnson says not to give up the starter fertilizer.