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

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

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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