Wheat Pete’s Word, Dec 15: Wicked weather, tile run wheat, soybean yields, and years of soil cores

Winter wheat showing discolouration due to compaction/poor drainage on headlands (P. Johnson/Realagriculture 2020)

As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to take the time to reflect on just how lucky we are to live in this part of Canada. This last week of wild weather in the U.S. is a reminder of that.

And let’s not forget the hundreds of livestock producers may not be back home after the flooding in B.C. Some wind damage and downed corn isn’t the worst thing.

That said, there was some crop and building damage in Ontario over the week from strong winds, but Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson is a little surprised by how well the last of the corn has held up. In this week’s Word, Johnson talks corn and soybean yields, cool things seen on the internet, and answers questions on tile drainage set up.

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]

SUMMARY

    • Tornadoes down in the U.S. Heartbreaking. We are so fortunate. Hug your people.
    • High winds impacted Ontario, too. Downed trees, downed crop
    • Some corn is standing better than anticipated
    • StatsCan’s final estimate for the year pegged Ontario corn yield at 175.2 bu/ac. Wheat Pete thinks that’s low. Agricorp is over 200 bu/ac
    • Soybeans 53 bu/ac Agricorp, so closer to StatsCan number
    • YEN yield, is that an Ontario record?
    • No, the record is 181 bu/ac for winter wheat on a 42-acre field
    • Neat stuff on Twitter (see below)
    • Plots since 1876!
    • Palm oil gets such a bad rep
    • It might have some drawbacks, but it is a huge productivity boost for veg oil (vs. any other!)
    • 50 million calories per acre vs. corn at 15 million calories per acre. Wow
    • The most dangerous saying in agriculture: “This is how we’ve always done it.”
    • Plot results challenge the “way we’ve always one it”
    • Beans: .7 bu/ac per day yield increase in planting earlier
    • Beans before corn? There is risk, but could be reward
    • Plant architecture and yield
    • Tile drainage questions and discussion — FINALLY
    • Winter wheat on Sept 30th into perfect conditions, good starter, good seed count…and…it looks awful
    • Time for some math! Drainage coefficients!
    • How close is too close for tile, and does that beat us up on a dry year? Whoa, whoa, whoa! In a dry year, alfalfa will always do best over the tile. Because almost always, we’re fully saturated in the spring.
    • Remember that we don’t want water to move too quickly either
    • Ask yourself, is internal drainage more of an issue? Tile can’t do it all
    • Why does wheat plug tile?
    • Corn roots are big and thick, but few fibrous roots. Wheat has fine, fibrous roots (yay! but boo for tiles)
    • Manure discussion from last week’s episode
    • Poultry manure (4 tonne/ac) in the spring 2020, was just like N fert (low response to added N). Fall applied for 2021 crop, and this year got a response to 80 lb/ac of added N. Was it incorporation that made the difference?