Wheat Pete's Word, Jan 19: How soil carbon and flight are linked, wireworm whoopsies, changes, and water quality


It’s always amazing to see how much can transpire in just one week.

Since Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson returned from Montana last week, much of Ontario and the Prairies got a foot of snow or more, someone fell asleep on the listener line, and Pete owes someone a steak dinner over Ontario’s average corn yields.

In this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, Pete talks lost soil carbon, high corn yields, a wireworm mistake, and the value of seed treatments.

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].


  • Asleep at the switch! Thanks for the message.
  • 175.2 says StatsCan, 200.4 bu/ac average for Agricorp. 207 in Illinois. 201 Iowa.
  • David Hula hit 602 bu/ac, 2019 world record 616 bu/ac. Next closest not named Hula? 400+ bu/ac
  • What is driving that yield? Wow
  • Oxford Country 218 bu/ac yield average and 60 bu/ac soybeans. 115% of average yield. Who’s the real winner? Haldimand County was 132% of average for beans! 134% of average for corn! And that’s some tough soil to farm
  • January corn harvest rolls on and the yields aren’t bad
  • Big snow in plenty of areas on Monday (Ottawa got 40 cm, FYI)
  • RealAg has a registration portal for SOME content
  • The site IS free, and will continue to be. Read more about this change here.
  • Montana experience — tillage dries out soil, but does tillage burn up carbon, too?
  • You do lose carbon through the seeding pass, too. Wind along the soil surface pulls carbon out too
  • Sprayer adjuvants on The Agronomists: one question, how to lower water pH. Why would you want to? The answer here.
  • Water quality: don’t guess, test!
  • Does fertilizer N burn through organic matter or decrease soil health? Lab study vs. real life, and more about biology and organic matter return to the soil
  • If you optimize crop growth (not excessive N!) you’ll maximize organic matter too, in general
  • Increase soil health to yield? 20% increase in soil health to get a 5% yield increase, some data shows. 5%-6% organic matter is a great goal to aim for
  • ALERT! Correction: red clover and wireworm. Red clover supports wireworm, not the other way around. Whoopsies.
  • Brown mustard incorporated is a soil fumigant, though
  • Corn following brassica syndrome
  • Click beetles and slugs interaction, re: neonic? Wireworm problems have increased (20 bu/ac loss on corn!) with fungicide only corn (remember: living roots and cover crops CAN increase wirewom pops too)

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