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Ontario Grain Farmer Magazine is the flagship publication of Grain Farmers of Ontario and a source of information for our province’s grain farmers. 



Peter Johnson, Cereal Specialist, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

TAKING A WALK through the field in late fall can provide valuable information which will guide spring management decisions.  Use the information below as a guide to what to look for and what it means for spring management.



Will it make it??Yes!

  • This wheat will emerge under the snow over winter.  But in order to have big yields, you need to be ready to “throw the book” at it in the spring. 
  • Weed control will be very important come spring. Dandelions or winter annuals have a huge jump on the crop. Spray with the appropriate herbicide before May 1st. For more information on weed management see
  • This crop needs all the help it can get to tiller. Plan to apply at least half of the nitrogen on the frost in mid-March.

Small wheat with no weeds

  • Check populations. Did most of the 23 seeds per foot of row make a plant?  Is the stand acceptable, or did many plants drown out?
  • In wet falls like we have experienced this year, wheat will survive over the tile runs but not in between. If it is apparent that this is a problem, there is still time to replant between the tile runs and save the crop.
  • This crop needs help to tiller.  Plan to apply at least half of the nitrogen on the frost in mid-March.


Looking good

  • Excellent stand and well tillered. Manage this crop for high yields.
  • No early management required.
  • Target higher nitrogen rates applied in the last half of April.
  • Fungicide applications are part of the package.
  • Weed control may be optional.

What went wrong?

  • With an intermittent stand like this, check the drill. Are worn parts the problem?
  • Check planting depth.  Was the wheat not seeded into moisture?
  • Is it a soil problem?  Check pH and nutrient levels.

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