The Agronomists, Ep 48: Brian Beres and Joanna Follings on wheat establishment

RealAgriculture’s Peter Johnson and OMAFRA cereals specialist Joanna Follings.

Fall seeding of spring cereals may sound like a wild idea — and it is — but research out of Western Canada is trying it for durum. Meanwhile in Ontario, a new seeding trial could help farmers decide if it’s time to upgrade the drill.

For this episode of The Agronomists, host Lyndsey Smith is joined by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Brian Beres and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Agri-Food’s Joanna Follings to explore wheat establishment — from the ultra early, to the firmly placed.

Catch a new episode of The Agronomists every Monday night at 8 pm E!


  • Something cool happening in Alberta and Saskatchewan and as far north as Dawson Creek. Ultra ultra-early seeding durum. Right now. Testing out a hypothesis: what will happen when durum is dormant seeded in the fall?
  • Dormant seeding is different from frost seeding
  • Now for some eastern research results from trials at the “Follings Research Farm”
  • It’s been a great year for wheat
  • Lodging at heading was the biggest adversity (like really bad, see the photo in the video)
  • “Nothing beats good agronomy”
  • Shameless plug for our Wheat School series: Bernard Tobin, Peter Johnson, and Follings did a stand-up job this year covering the research trials that Follings is talking about
  • Biotic stresses, when wheat is dormant seeded? Keep in mind that it’s still in the hypothesis phase, but Beres isn’t too worried about biotic stresses for ultra-early seeded wheat, might be different for dormant seeded wheat
  • Seed treatments are giving superior resistance to abiotic stresses, metabolic pathways are changed in the plant…
  • Price of seed makes dormant or frost seeding risky in a western context
  • Should the Sunflower drill go out to pasture to die? Follings had really good yields with the Sunflower this year
  • Clip #1: Wheat School: Evaluating precision wheat stands
  • Wheat stem sawfly could be a concern when planting wheat early, because it’s mimicking a winter wheat cycle
  • Ultra-early seeding. Soil temperature trigger was zero to two degrees in the top two inches of soil. Started doing this back in 2015, around 24 site-years, three publications. Well established, and the concept is proven
  • Why not -2 degrees or -4? It could depend on your seeder opener and set-up
  • What makes the system successful?
  • Turning agronomics on its head!
  • Arbitrary calendar dates have historically been tied to a bank mandate or insurance. February, March, or April… mother nature doesn’t care about a calendar date
  • What about areas with very low rainfall? Ultra-early seeding could be another tool in the drought toolbox
  • How does seeding date and stand establishment play into fungicide timing?
  • How mature was the ultra-early seeded wheat in Western Canada when the heatwave hit?
  • Clip #2: Wheat School: Beating the heat with early seeding (which didn’t actually get played during the show, but check it out anyways, it covers some of the growing conditions concerns that came up)
  • Ultra-early barley? As long as it stays in the vegetative state, it can tolerate the cold
  • Looking at different seeding rates in the future?
  • Big shoutout to the Yield Enhancement Network
  • What about other agronomic practices? Any difference in N response or P response? (Ultra-early seeded wheat)
  • Brian and Joanna now have long lists of research questions to cover (Good research spawns more research, Lara says)

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