Wheat Pete’s Word, Sept 20: Chasing the combine, wheat for the UK, and an alert on gibberella

There’s some trouble lurking in the Ontario corn crop by the name of gibberella. Farmers are also busy getting what wheat they can get in and are asking some really great questions of the host of Wheat Pete’s Word, Peter Johnson.

Also in this week’s podcast, catch a conversation about straw losses by raking, lowering soybean cyst nematode levels, and how to grow less wheat.

Have a question you’d like Wheat Pete to address or some field results to send in? Agree/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].


  • Changes are coming to the Ontario Ag Conference. The virtual kick-off is January 3, followed by two in-person days in Ridgetown, January 4 and 5
  • January 16 the event will be at Kemptville and at Waterloo, January 19
  • All told there will be 65 sessions recorded and posted on the website until March 31
  • Want to see what kind of topics get discussed? Check out past coverage here and here
  • Ontario tomato yields up to 60 tonnes per acre
  • Some edible bean yields at as high as 45 bags per acre (that’s 75 bushel) edible beans. Some poor ones too
  • Silage harvest has begun and so has soybean harvest
  • It is getting later for wheat in some areas and some farmers are chasing the combine out of the field with the wheat drill
  • What’s the over/under on 200 bushel per acre of corn for Ontario?  Wheat Pete’s says under, Aaron Breimer is over 200 bushels per acre. We’ll see!
  • So much will be decided by when the first frost happens and what the actual 1,000 kernel weight is
  • A fun side story, re: Warburton’s, a UK bread company: they select plenty of Canadian wheat, largely from the Prairies. They’re probably the best IP identity preserved program out there Check out the video.
  • Soapbox time, and it’s a serious issue. Johnson came across growers loading trucks with the grain cart on the gravel road and the entire road was blocked. It’s illegal and bad public citizenship. If there was an emergency, you are responsible for someone not getting the ambulance in time or not getting the fire truck in time
  • Soybean cyst nematode problem —  A grower is using seed treatments, cyst resistance, but man, soybean cyst and sudden death go hand in hand pulling down yield,
  • The grower did a test: Four years of continuous corn and then he went back to soybeans, and those soybeans have almost no sudden death syndrome symptoms at all, less SCN. Talk about the value of rotation (loosely applied in this instance)
  • Cutting height disagreements on corn: that’s like saying every car is the same! Pete says, whether I’m using a brown midrib hybrid or a silage hybrid, a leafy hybrid, or a grain hybrid, the structure of the plant is all the same: the bottom of the stalk has to have more lignin in it in order to support the top of the stalk and the cob
  • Push back on low night temps. Lots of people pushing back challenging how many “days” are lost from cool nights
  • Last year, the corn stalled where we had two weeks where the milk line didn’t seem to move at all, but it’s always a moving target. We don’t understand it entirely.
  • By the way, the temperature of the next day really doesn’t seem to play very much
  • Alert, Alert, Alert. There is more gibberella in the corn crop than we would have liked
  • I can walk into cornfields and pretty much predict that cob has it that cob doesn’t, and almost invariably, and this is odd to me, but the cobs that have it the husks are tight, and they’re tight at the top, the cob has not pushed out through the end of that husk at all
  • Get out and scout! It’s not yet a 2018-like disaster, but scout!
  • Evaluate that fungicide pass, too
  • How much straw do you lose if you rake it? What’s the cost of selling straw? What about straw/trash distribution?
  • We are in the middle of the critical harvest period. Unless you need the feed, most of the time, every pound of hay you harvest now, you end up with that many fewer pounds of hay in the first cut next year
  • Is there a link between tillage and white mold?
  • How do I grow less wheat? Dale grew 108 bushel per acre crop this year, he had 10 acres of it. And with all that crop, he could only cut a three foot wide swath, the old combine wouldn’t handle six feet. So how to grow less? Just put no nitrogen on or put only 50 pounds on — I don’t think you could go over 50 pounds.

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