Wheat Pete's Word, Jan 10: Tissue testing corn, earthworm spotting, and giving a hoot about soil health


Corn has some leaf lessons to teach us, if only we’ll listen.

That’s just one of the take-home messages from last week’s Ontario Ag Conference, the SWAC stop, says Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson in this week’s podcast. There’s also a discussion on soil health, managing cover crops, and nitrogen use efficiency in corn.

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].


  • Incredible knowledge!
  • Tyler Smith spoke at the Ontario Agricultural Conference. Check out a recap of the talk here!
  • TEC Talk Tuesdays kicked off last night and will run for 6 more weeks
  • Ray Robertson, hall of famer! Congrats to him
  • Dr Tony Vyn spoke at Ontario Ag Conference too — and so many giants in agriculture all retiring
  • Tissue testing in corn, set on its ear (check out that interview here)
  • Days are getting longer — the sun is setting later, and only NOW getting up earlier in the morning. Thanks Nature Nut Nick!
  • Ontario tied the soybean record 53.3 bu/ac for 2023
  • Corn 197.8 bu/ac right now…will it break 200? Probably not
  • Active earthworms in the soil this late? If the soil isn’t frozen, they’re still busy. Earthworms will head down the colder it gets
  • Do we really care about soil health?
  • Roots not iron study, over 8 years, to quantify soil health benefit: couldn’t find numbers to support economics
  • Long-term, well-managed cover crops will pay — we think
  • What’s the cost of being wrong and abandoning cover crops
  • High yields beget high yields
  • 230 bu corn with excellent nitrogen use efficiency, other fields needed more N to get there. What gives?
  • Carbon cycling questions abound
  • Soil water holding capacity and total water present plays a role in nutrient cycling too
  • How much corn does water use per day?
  • Bale grazing and building organic matter isn’t a precise science. It’s about building organic matter in a smaller area than a large area, but it all comes from somewhere
  • Buckwheat: is it a weed or a crop? Depends who you ask
  • For some areas, 202o-2022 land values went up 25 per cent PER YEAR
  • 2023, only increased around 10 per cent
  • Over time, 2010 to 2023 saw a 13 per cent per year increase
  • What happens with $30, 000/ac land?
  • Highest land value reported recently was $50,000 for workable acres. Wowzers

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Other Episodes

Wheat Pete's Word (view all)Season 10 (2024) Episode 20

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