Real Agriculture’s resident agronomist Peter Johnson has found yet another reason to grow wheat.

In this episode of Wheat School, our intrepid WheatPete turns reporter as he interviews
Dr. Tom Bruulsema, the International Plant Nutrition Institute’s Phosphorus Program Director, on how farmers can better manage phosphorus application by including wheat in the rotation.

Bruulsema notes that planting wheat in the fall gives farmers a low-risk opportunity to apply nutrients in August and September. “If your soil is slipping below the critical soil test phosphorous level, it’s a great time to put on a build-up application, whether it’s manure, fertilizer or biosolids. That’s the time of year when your risk of run-off is a lot lower than late fall or early spring,” he says.

Johnson, of course, takes the opportunity to remind Bruulsema and viewers of all the other important reasons to grow wheat in the rotation – from improving soil structure to high corn and soybean yields.

One thought on “Wheat School: Planting Wheat Helps Manage Phosphorus Run-off

  1. Great so along with the needed phosphorous, which is wanted, you advocate using biosolids, which is full of a huge range of toxins/chemicals, which are surely NOT needed.


    Here are just some of the many toxins that were detected by the EPA in sewage sludge from 74 randomly selected publicly owned water treatment/sewage sludge plants in 35 states (Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Report, 2009).
    For understandable reasons, the EPA study had to limit the analysis to relatively few toxins; it is likely that sewage sludge contains many more toxins that have not been included in the EPA study.
    ‘Class B biosolids,’ which are the principal type of biosolids applied to land, also contain a variety of enteric pathogens (e.g., E.coli, salmonella). These were also not included in the recent EPA study.
    1. Metals
    Twenty seven of the 28 metals analyzed were found in every sewage sludge sample. The most prevalent were barium(1), beryllium(2), manganese(3), molybdenum(4), and silver(5). The other metals included: aluminum, antimony, arsenic, boron, cadmium, cobalt, lead, mercury, selenium, thallium, tin, vanadium, yttrium, and zinc.
    2. “Organics”
    Of the six organics analyzed, four were found in at least 72 samples, one was found in 63 samples, and one was found in 39 samples. The most prevalent ‘organics’ are: pyrene(1), fluoranthene(2), 4-Chloroaniline(3).
    3. Polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs)
    PBDEs are a particular class of flame retardant chemicals used in plastics, foams, fabrics and other materials. All 7 of the flame retardants studied except one (BDE-138) were essentially found in every sample; BDE-138 was found in 54 out of 84 samples.
    4. Pharmaceuticals
    Of the 72 pharmaceuticals analyzed, three (i.e., ciprofloxacin, diphenhydramine, and triclocarban) were found in all 84 samples and nine were found in at least 80 of the samples. However, 15 pharmaceuticals were not found in any sample and 29 were found in fewer than three samples.
    Among the detected pharmaceuticals are antibiotics, antibiotic derivatives, and disinfectants: azithromycin(1), ciprofloxacin(2), doxycyclin(3), erythromycin-4(4), tetracycline(5), 4-epipetracycline(6), miconazole(7), ofloxacin(8), trilocarban(9), triclosan(10), the antihistamine medicine diphenhydramine(11), anticonvulsant, mood stabilizing drugs or antidepressants: fluoxetine(12), carbamazepine(13), and the heart burn medicine cimetidine(14).
    5. Steroids and hormones
    Of the 25 steroids and hormones that were analyzed, three steroids (i.e., campesterol, cholestanol, and coprostanol) were found in all 84 samples and six steroids were found in at least 80 of the samples. One hormone (i.e., 17-a-ethynyl estradiol) was not found in any sample and five hormones were found in fewer than six samples.
    Detected were widely used phytosterols (1): Beta Stigmastanol, Campesterol, and Stigmasterol, Cholesterol (2), markers of human fecal matter contamination: the cholesterol derivatives coprostanol and epicoprostanol (a coprostanol isomer formed during treatment of wastewater ), hormones with androgenic activities: testosterone, androsterone, androstenedione (a direct precursor to testosterone), estrogenic hormones natural and synthetic estrogens: estriol, estrone,17-?-estradiol, 17-?-estradiol, ?-estradiol-3-benzoate, 17-?-ethynyl estradiol(3*), equine estrogens (‘Premarin’): 17?-dihydroequilin, equilenin, equilin, progestins: norethindrone and norgestrel(4), progestogens: progesterone(5).

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