Wheat Pete's Word, Jan 25: Soil water holding capacity, critical thinking, S on wheat, and the fifth R


Every day is a good day to phone a friend and see how they are doing, but especially today, when mental wellness is in the spotlight: make sure to use your Wheat Pete 15!

And on that note, we begin this week’s episode of Wheat Pete’s Word, where host Peter Johnson answers your questions on sulphur management, water holding capacity, over yielding, and more!

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].


  • It’s January 25, which is also Bell, Let’s Talk Day
  • Agriculture is a tough game, and the stress level is incredible. We need to talk about that
  • Do the Wheat Pete’s 15! Pick up the phone and make that phone call
  • Hats off to the Grain Farmers of Ontario, working with Syngenta at OHL games, talking about improving our mental attitude
  • The farmer wellness initiative is out there 100% of the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That phone number is 1-866-267-6255
  • ChatGPT is wild, man. New AI tech where you can ask it questions. It even can tell you about over yielding and transgressive over yielding. Over yielding is essentially where a mixture out yields the average of the two species grown by themselves
  • But what about the simplicity of the ‘black box’ spitting out an answer?
  • We need critical thinking skills. You can’t just accept the black box, you have to understand what’s in the black box
  • Latest Tech Talk Tuesday, Wheat Pete asked five participants what’s going to drive corn yields the most: biomodification, CRISPR-Cas9
  • We are so lucky here in the province of Ontario, because we actually get full soil moisture recharge
  • That means we have full yield potential and yield stability, which is not what we get out west
  • On that note, Stewart Chutter interview on the role of organic matter and yield and insurance claims. Soil organic carbon matters! Listen to that here 
  • Soil organic carbon improves infiltration, it improves our water holding capacity, get those roots deeper!
  • Everyone should know the 4Rs of nutrient management, but there is a fourth R and that’s rotation
  • Rotation will give you higher soil organic carbon levels, it will build resiliency in your soil
  • Planning time for crop projects! Fertilizer project with foliar fert in corn: 7 bushel per acre yield increase in the corn crop. That’s huge. We have not seen data like that, from before or previously, like it typically has not been that positive. I think that’s something we need to redo. I looked at Horse data,
  • Horst Bohner, OMAFRA soybean specialist, and has data where he’s getting about a one bushel soybean yield increase to a foliar fertilizer
  • Biologicals keep coming up, too. The key there is consistent response — and we’re not there yet
  • Fertility questions: First time soybean grower — do I need to fertilize them?
  • If it’s virgin soybean land, it’s a double inoculant for sure; two different products full rate
  • What about phosphorus and potassium? Depends on the soil test. With forage in rotation, P and K can be deficient
  • Sulphur and manure. Do I need S on wheat? For high protein wheat?
  • Sulphur in manure is in the elemental form, it has to mineralize
  • Be careful on sandy soils, even with lots of turkey manure going down, can starve the wheat crop of S because the demand is so early

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