2016 Wheat Quality Council Tour

(Jim) Good Morning folks and welcome to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer your host and we’re in luck because we’re on the Wheat Quality Council Tour across the State of Kansas for 2016 and we’re going to be speaking to various participants of this tour and get their take on how the wheat crop has been up to this point and where it’s going. So we’ve got to take a break and we’ll see you back after these words from our sponsors. See you in a minute.

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(Jim) Good morning, folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we’re in luck because we have Ben Handcock, the Executive Vice President of the Wheat Quality Council and we’re on the annual Wheat Quality Council Tour in Kansas and there’s been a number of them, Ben. I remember Tom Roberts years ago and this is your 25th tour, if I recall, and this is your last one. You’re hanging up your cleats. (Ben) I am hanging up my cleats. It’s been a long road. It’s been a blast. (Jim) You’ve done a very, very good job. (Ben) Thank you. (Jim) So Ben, what do you think the importance of this Wheat Quality Tour is to the industry, to producers? I know I had a farmer calling me this afternoon and said, Are you responsible for that 20% bushel drop today? So tell me how to answer that. (Ben) I’ll tell you what I did, I shut my phone off because I know I’m going to get the same calls. But every time we drive the wheat price up, I’ve never had a thank you note, but the importance to me is that we do this as a service to the industry. We have members that are millers and bakers and wheat commissions and buyers and grain traders and they’re all members of the council and they all want to know what kind of a crop we might have this year. So we get out here and give them a snapshot in time of what might be coming to their flour mills and their bakeries in the next few months. (Jim) Because that really depends, I mean they have to plan railroad cars, the grain is already in the elevators, what they’re going to do with that, so it’s kind of a chain reaction. (Ben) Exactly and as elevators look at this Kansas crop saying, What are we going to do with it? I don’t have any place to put it all. So the crop looks really good, but I don’t think we talk enough about the benefits of what it is to the farmer. (Jim) Right, okay. (Ben) The grain companies are out here with people traipsing around their wheat fields every day; they know what the crop is. The farmer is the last guy to know because the grain guy ain’t going to tell what anybody’s crop is. So the farmer, the best way he can find out in my opinion is to either come on this tour or follow what we’re doing on this tour and we’re going to give him a snapshot of what he has. (Jim) And his neighbors. (Ben) And his neighbors, what he has to sell. (Jim) Right, so now we’ve got to work on the price, though. (Ben) Yes, we’ve got a problem with the price. Neither you nor I could fix it. (Jim) So Ben, being this year is your last year, like you say, you’re hanging it up after next spring, so what’s going to happen from that point on? (Ben) Well, nobody’s irreplaceable, as you know. (Jim) Yes, I do know. (Ben) You’ve been replaced, so they will find somebody to replace me and we’ll continue to do the thing just like we’ve done for the last 45 years or whatever the number is and the key to the thing, as far as I’m concerned, is not what all you know, it’s how you know to deal with people. And you’ve got to be able to interact with everybody in the industry. (Jim) From A to Z. (Ben) From A to Z. You don’t have to be very smart about wheat quality; you just need to be able to lead people and to get them to love you. (Jim) Okay. [laughter] So I got to ask, you made your wife do that. (Ben) I did. 52 years ago. (Jim) Okay. (Ben) If we make it to June but we ain’t made it yet, so I ain’t counting that. (Jim) Ben, thank you for taking time, I appreciate it. You’ve done a good job. (Ben) It’s been a blast. (Jim) Folks, hang on. We got to take a break from our sponsors. We’ll be right back in just a moment.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host, and with us we’re lucky to have Jeanne Falk Jones, the multi-county agronomist in Northwest Kansas and Jeanne, I know you’ve been really busy this spring and it’s going to continue to be busy, so tell us what you’ve seen and what you’ve been up to here as of late. (Jeanne) So I think in the last two weeks, we really started getting stripe rust reports from throughout northwest Kansas and as we start getting those reports, we’ve been educating producers basically to be kind of on the lookout, so we’ve kind of developed this whole network of everybody sending reports in or sending pictures of what they’re finding and then we try to do some type of email release and other efforts to get the word out of what’s actually being done in the field. (Jim) Well, you tweet, you have a Facebook page and you tweet as well. (Jeanne) Yes, that’s exactly right. So we have K-State Sunflower District Agronomy Facebook page and so everything that goes on Facebook is on Twitter, is on Sunflower District website and it’s going out in just a mass email to growers. So I had been trying to put out at least a weekly email if not more frequently when we’re finding stuff in the field about what’s going on with stripe rust and that’s really been helped by the plant pathology department, putting out a map that’s really showing where stripe rust is showing up in the state so that we kind of have that early warning system of what we need to be looking for and when we need to start watching our growth and development on our wheat plants and really making, ultimately making decisions on what’s going forward and really our efforts on that is that we want growers to be able to make educated decisions, so that we’re not reacting, we’re not seeing it and thinking, Oh my gosh, we need to do something now. We need to take all the components into effect of how do you make that fungicide application for stripe rust. (Jim) Because a lot of times it’s too late. You don’t get the biggest bang for your buck. (Jeanne) That’s exactly right and last year we had a pretty intense stripe rust year and that was really brought on by a lot of rainfall events and cold temperatures. (Jim) Late in the season. (Jeanne) Late in the season, that’s exactly right and so growers were, Do we make an application early, do we make it late? Do we make one at all? And so really I want growers to understand that they have all of this information at their fingertips so that they can make a good, educated decision. We talk about what the grow stage of the wheat plant is at; we talk about yield potential of the fields. I won’t give them yield potential; I make them make that decision themselves. But we talk about products that are applied, potential loss of yield, really lots of things that go into that decision making process. (Jim) Well, price of wheat does too. (Jeanne) Price of wheat. (Jim) And the variety that you are using. (Jeanne) That’s exactly right, yes, and several guys I talked to, we talk about how much is in the budget for fungicide, but the wheat price, some of these guys are telling me zero, but that doesn’t always make the decision on whether or not to do it. (Jim) A lot of times too, producers will say, Well, I want to protect the yield that I’ve got. (Jeanne) That’s exactly right, yes. I think that’s one of the things that we’re really starting to do some decisions with, is that so many yield components are already set and so now we’re really talking about how do we protect what we still have left. (Jim) Right. Jeanne thanks for taking time to talk to us today. (Jeanne) No problem. (Jim) I appreciate it. Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors. See you in a minute.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, and with us we have Dr. Lucas Haag, K-State’s Northwest Area Agronomist and Lucas, thanks for being with us and I know you’ve been doing a lot of travelling here over the last few weeks and you have your waders on with all the rain up in this area, but tell us what you’ve been up to here in the last couple of weeks and what are you seeing? (Lucas) Sure, you bet. So the dynamic has certainly changed once we got the rains; we’ve been really waiting on how those rains come in another week, two weeks later, we’d be looking at a completely different set of situations for this year’s wheat crop. (Jim) And not a good one. (Lucas) And not a good one, no, and we’d be really looking hard at what our yield potentials could’ve been as we’re trying to make some decisions on stripe rust, but yes, it’s also been those wet conditions that’s really brought us some of these disease issues, so it’s kind of a good problem to have. It’s bringing us some diseases but yet at the same time, our yield potential is going up as a result of the precipitation we’ve received, and so really prospects for the wheat crop, I think across Northwest Kansas look fairly positive. We’re set up in a position now where we have a fair bit of moisture in the soil profile to get us through the grain fill. I mean also barring things like hail and late freeze it’s really, what types of temperatures do we get during this grain fill period is going to make a big difference for us. (Jim) Right, is it low 70s or is it mid upper 90s? There’s a big difference in yield in that regard too. (Lucas) Yes, so as you mentioned, the scene on the wheat tillering, we’ve got good tillering out there despite the drought stress that we had. We had good stands in the fall and we’ve really been able to maintain a lot of those primary tillers. So with good grain fill conditions, I think we have some really nice yield prospects both in our irrigated or summer fallow continuous systems. (Jim) Lucas, on the way out, I noticed a few fields that I would say look a little peeked. So tell us a little bit about that. (Lucas) Sure and that’s been a real challenge for our growers this year. We talk a lot about nitrogen management, trying to get that top dress application made before joining and our guys did a really good job of that. The challenge was of course we need moisture to get that nitrogen moved down in the profile, and moisture came fairly late for us. So there’s a little bit of concern. I mean we see some stunted growth, some nitrogen deficiency and maybe even in some extreme cases we impacted our potential kernels per head by being nitrogen deficient at that joint stage. (Jim) Yes, smaller heads, so it’s taken some moisture to get that nitrogen down into the profile. So I mean we could come on later on- from this point on and the yellowish plants turn a little bit greener. (Lucas) Sure, I mean we’ve already seen that the wheat’s really snapped out of that in a lot of cases and we’ve made up some ground there. (Jim) So let’s talk a little bit about water use, and water use efficiency. The big thing is how many bushels occur for every inch of moisture, so can you real briefly talk a little bit about that? (Lucas) Sure and so we see a range in that figure and a lot of it comes back to what are those environmental conditions for us like right now, during grain fill? So if we have an excellent time period during grain fill we can make very efficient use of that water and may see water use efficiencies as high as eight bushels per inch of water. (Jim) But realistically? (Lucas) Realistically, on a long-term average, our data sets on western Kansas would point to a number more around that four bushels per inch. (Jim) Yes, even six would be a real good one, four to six I always say. Lucas, thanks for taking time to talk to us, I appreciate it. We’ll be talking to you down the road. Folks, stay with us, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, and we’re in luck because we have Gerald Franklin, a farmer from Sherman County is with us right now and Gerald, it’s been quite a year since planting time last year until just a couple of weeks ago. (Gerald) It’s been a wild ride. It definitely has. We started off in September and we were dry and we wondered, Boy, what do we do, we put off drilling wheat? and we really drilled most of our wheat the 1st of October, and then the Lord was good to us and it started raining. The wheat got to be about six-eight inches tall last fall and then it turned off hot and dry again, we had a warm February where all the seed had come out and we thought, We’re in big trouble. (Jim) Because you got a lot of tillers there. (Gerald) Because we got a lot of tillers. (Jim) And it’s warm and hot. (Gerald) And there’s no moisture. And then lo and behold, it rained again this spring and in fact we had five inches of snow and our wheat probably is in just about the boot stage and so we were worried about that. (Jim) So that made you a little worried, it was a wet snow. (Gerald) It was a wet snow and we ended up with an inch and a quarter worth of moisture out of it and we were worried, we were worried about it falling over and crimping and we were worried about it freezing because on the western edge of Sherman County there were reports of 27 degrees. (Jim) Right, for a couple mornings in a row. (Gerald) For a couple mornings in a row. Yes. (Jim) A lot of the state did not catch those same rains that you did last fall. (Gerald) That’s correct. (Jim) And further south and in the central part of the state they didn’t catch that which is kind of opposite of what normally happens. (Gerald) That’s exactly right, we’ve been blessed. We had good rains last fall, kind of slowed down corn harvest, but that’s okay, we can deal with that and the corn came off quick enough, we could even drill some wheat back into the corn stocks so that it would help with the water usage. (Jim) So, Gerald, tell me this: compared to past years, how does this year, how is it stacking up compared to last year or I think ’97 was a pretty darn good year. (Gerald) I will say when I drive by my wheat fields today, I just grin. They look that good and on the wheat tour today they said maybe we’re going to have 10 bushels more than we had a year ago, that brings smiles, but the new wheat varieties and the moisture we’ve had– (Jim) It’s been excellent timing. (Gerald) Everything has been good. We’ve been very fortunate. (Jim) You talk about everything that’s good, but with good there’s always the other side of the coin there, so what are you seeing? (Gerald) We were just out in the fields today and we do have stripe rust on the bottom two leaves and we already have our order in for a fungicide treatment and I would guess probably within 10 days we’ll be spraying fungicides. (Jim) Right. That’s probably a good time to have it on. (Gerald) A year ago it made 20 bushel an acre difference whether you applied or whether you didn’t apply. (Jim) Wow, that’s impressive. (Gerald) That’s impressive. (Jim) That imprints on you and you remember that the next year. (Gerald) Yes. No question we’re going to spray this year. (Jim) Yes, Gerald, I appreciate you taking the time. (Gerald) Thank you. (Jim) Thank you. Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, and we’re in luck because we have Romulo Lollato, Wheat Extension Specialist at K-State. This is his second tour and last year you were kind of taking over for me so that’s a good deal and I’m glad you’ve taken over. So what have you been seeing and where have you been spending you time? (Romulo) Jim, thanks for having me here today first of all. So we have been seeing, first compared to last year, so far the crop’s looking much better than last year’s Quality Tour that we have had in ’15. Back then, back last year we had a lot of drought stress where we’d seen very short crops and simultaneously with the drought we had a lot of stripe rust as well. Now, this year, the crop’s looking better, that rain came about a couple of weeks earlier than it did last year when it started back in May and this year it started April 15 or so, so we’ve seen much better crop condition overall, much better yield potential. (Jim) Well, what’s good for wheat is also good for the diseases unfortunately. (Romulo) Exactly, so mostly on that central corridor we’ve seen some stripe rust. The producers seem to be pretty active this year, quite a bit of airplanes flying and fungicides being sprayed but you can definitely tell the fields that have not been sprayed where that stripe rust really took on it and it was really reaching up in the canopy. (Jim) You can see it from the road. (Romulo) You definitely can, you definitely can see that orange thing to it from the road, yes, but luckily most of the fields that we have visited, they were much cleaner than what I was expecting based on our reports, based on what we were listening to. (Jim) And speaking of that, the producers have and can listen to you on Facebook, Twitter and other media. (Romulo) Sure, we are constantly putting out this information on Twitter at KSTWheat, also on Facebook at K-State Wheat and through Agronomy e-Updates as well and the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University, so those are a few ways the producers can reach me. Also from May 9th, we started with the Wheat Plot Tours so the county, the variety demonstration plots as well as the variety performance stress plots where we have plot tours for producers to go ahead and listen about different varieties and learn about different varieties. Maybe try to have a better choice whenever they come to choose the variety on their propriety. (Jim) Yes, I always found that those Wheat Plot Tours were my favorite time of the year and I learned the most for those six weeks of the year. (Romulo) Yes, there’s a lot that goes on there, a lot of learning. You can really tell the difference between varieties as far as maturity, as far as disease, as far as many other things that can really tell the difference between varieties and help you choose the best one for your own region, for your own propriety. (Jim) Right. Romulo thanks again for being on and stay out there in the wheat fields and letting us know how it’s going. I appreciate it. Thanks again. Folks, thanks for being with us as well and don’t forget this time next week we’ll have another issue of That’s My Farm. Hope to see you then.

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