(Jim Shroyer) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we are in luck because we are going to be talking wheat. We’re going to be talking to the Kansas State University Extension Wheat Specialist Dr. Romulo Lollato, talking about the variability that we saw in the yields across the state and all the problems associated this year. Sit back, we’re going to have word from our sponsor here in just a minute. We’ll see you then.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.
(Jim) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host and we are in luck because we are going to be talking about wheat and we’re going to be speaking with Dr. Romulo Lollato, the Extension Wheat Specialist here at K-State. Romulo, we had an interesting year to say the least across the state of Kansas and harvest is just now winding up in the northwest corner. Let’s talk a little bit about the overview of the wheat production this year. (Dr. Romulo Lollato) Good morning Jim, thanks for having me on the show here again this morning. Yes, we did have a roller-coaster year on wheat to say the least. We did have several ups and downs throughout the growing season and I’ll be glad to talk to you about these up and downs here today. What are some of the things that we saw throughout this growing season? In my opinion, I think the key word this growing season is variability. We had a lot of variability out there. Fields that are yielding 70 bushel per acre and a mile away you have the field from maybe an earlier maturing variety that got freeze back in April. They got freeze damage back in April and that is yielding 20, so there’s a lot of variability this year and there are several causes for that variability this year. What are some of the causes or what are the main causes that we’re seeing throughout the state? Well, by far one of the main causes for low wheat yields are high area abandonment is wheat streak mosaic. Another factor that we had affecting wheat yields this year or actually I should say wheat stands was back last fall. We had very, very dry topsoil especially in southwest Kansas that resulted in several fields with erratic stands, very porous stands. (Jim) Right. Some came up and then some didn’t come up until springtime. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, we had fields with maybe 30-40% emergence in the fall and then just after that blizzard in January, that’s when those fields came up. Very scattered stands and a lot of variability in that southwest corner of the State, some parts of northwest Kansas as well. As we’re in the western Kansas part of the state where – actually, we need to talk also about that snowfall that we had in May. Late April, early May we had as much as 21 inches of snow and that also affected the wheat yields and caused a lot of variability, future field variability, as well with differences between varieties, differences between planting dates affecting how the crop responded to that snowfall. (Jim) It did add a little moisture to the soil profile. [Laughs] (Dr. Romulo) It did, it did. I don’t think moisture was in the end a limiting factor for us this season, at least for the majority of the state, but it did cause us to be very concerned. When we talk about central Kansas, we had a lot of fields showing symptoms of nitrogen deficiency in a large portion of the state that I think also cost us some bushels in the state. We had freeze damage in portions of the state, both north and north central as we go into northwest and southwest Kansas as well. The heat that came in June, so from the first two weeks of June, caught that crop in western Kansas also probably decreased some bushels. (Jim) It was a little bit later in the maturity wise. (Dr. Romulo) Exactly, it was not ready to harvest and temperatures were pretty hot, so caused some damage there. Hail, we have several fields that got hail damage. Really, a lot future filled variability this year and we’ll be glad to discuss some of these issues with you. (Jim) We’re going to. We’ve got to take a break right now and we’ll continue with that conversation. Folks, we’ve got to take a break. Stay tuned after this words from our sponsors.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer and with us we have the Wheat Extension Specialist to K-State, Dr. Romulo Lollato. Romulo, when we finished up we were talking about all the causes of the variability to the wheat yields across the state. The first one you mentioned was a big one and continues to be a big one, wheat streak mosaic. Let’s talk a little bit how that came about, why wheat streak was so devastating this year. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, as you might think, by far wheat streak’s probably the problem that caused us more yield loss in this state. Yield and area abandonment as well, so if we think the entire third of the state had way above levels of wheat streak mosaic fronted an entire third of the state. We are also seeing, in the central part of the state, some fields in Saline County, they were pretty much devastated by wheat streak mosaic. It was a very widespread problem. Again, if we think of the wheat streak mosaic, a few things that may have caused that widespread problem was one, we had a moist summer. That caused several flushes of volunteer. I talked with just some producers who were controlling their wheat, their volunteer wheat, and they had to control four times. Then the economy doesn’t play in your favor, or the immediate economy of controlling that volunteer wheat doesn’t play in your favor. (Jim) Yes. It cost money every time you go across the field. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, exactly. I think that moist summer that we had was one of the causes that we had so much volunteer and some farmers just not controlling it. Also, we had a warm fall. That warm fall, it plays in a couple of ways. First, the mites are there for a longer period of time or active for a longer period of time. (Jim) The wheat curl mite, which carries the virus? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly, the wheat curl mite, the wheat streak mosaic virus, those warm temperatures, they also play against the genetic resistance that some of the varieties have, like Oakley CL or Joe. (Jim) That’s a good point. (Dr. Romulo) They have a wheat gene called Wsm-2 that gives them resistance to the virus of wheat streak mosaic. That resistance breaks down at about 70 degrees or so. (Jim) Anything above 70 degrees? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly, so above 70 degrees. Those things together, the moist summer and that warm fall and a warm winter as well, we didn’t really have much of a winter, probably caused this outbreak of wheat streak mosaic that we’re seeing. There are hot spots in the state where you’re traveling and I’ll give you example of few counties here. Lane County is one where we had a hot spot of wheat streak mosaic. (Jim) Scott County? Yes, Scott Count to the west. (Dr. Romulo) Scott County, Wichita County as well, Greeley, Hamilton County. That area, we had a hot spot where we’re traveling for 40-50 minutes on a highway and it seems like every single field on both sides of the road were eight inches tall, bright yellow, just completely devastated by wheat streak mosaic. Really frustrating for producers who control their volunteer, maybe had a neighbor who couldn’t get after their volunteers or didn’t control. That caused a widespread community problem. We really need to focus on controlling volunteer wheat. That’s the key to controlling wheat streak mosaic in the next seasons; make sure they have a good control of volunteer wheat. (Jim) I’ve got to stop you there. 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. Romulo Lollato is with us, our Extension Wheat Specialist. Romulo, we finished up on wheat streak pretty much, on the problems we had with it. One of the other ones that you mentioned was the blizzard of 2017 in late April, early May of this year. Wow. Who had ever guessed that we’d have that much snow that late in the season, and the wheat was so far advanced? (Dr. Romulo) Yes, Jim. That was a very odd event that even experienced wheat farmers that have been farming for 50 years, they haven’t seen that late before. We got anywhere from three to four inches, in the edges of the blizzard, of snow all the way to over 21 inches in the center of that blizzard. Which was the majority of the western Kansas. Almost the western third of the state got hit by that blizzard on April 29th and May first. The crop was about pre-boot stage up in northwest Kansas all the way to about anthesis in southwest Kansas. That got us really concerned about two possible consequences. One, just the cold damage especially the crop that was at anthesis already. (Jim) Flowering. (Dr. Romulo) Flowering. Yes, flowering. Many hours, around 32 there that could cause some damage to those flowers. The second one was just the mechanical damage to the stems, just breaking the stems towards the base. What we were seeing in many fields out there in western Kansas is that very close to that first node, the stem was kinked because of the weight of that snow. Then on the very next node, we had that stems starting to come up. In the node following that, the wheat was going – (Jim) That’s a hormonal response that causes the stem to come back up right. (Dr. Romulo) Exactly. It’s the hormone that caused the plant to grow towards light and gave it that gooseneck shape to several of those tillers. We were wondering about tiller abortion. We’re also wondering about low-test weights in the lower yield. (Jim) Right. (Dr. Romulo) I guess luckily our conditions during May were relatively cool and moist. Cooler than average and more – we had more precipitation than average. That favored grain filling even in those fields that got hurt by that snow. We were seeing some stem breaking, maybe anywhere from one to five percent where it was a field with low instance of stem breakage, to over 20-30% of the stems that were broken depending on the field. Depending on variety maturity as well when positioned in the field; depending on several factors, but what we saw is that whenever the June heat came, we saw some stems aborting. Going in those fields in southwest Kansas we’re seeing some of the stems that were just drying back. (Jim) Right and died with them. (Dr. Romulo) Just dying. Yes, because they couldn’t keep up with the demand from the atmosphere, because of that heat. We were concerned with test weights as well. Seems like yields have been – some producers report even 60 bushel per acre. Yields coming out of that snow, which makes us wonder, how much it could have yielded if it wasn’t for the snow. Definitely that snow it hurt us some, we aborted some tillers. We probably hurt some on test weight as well, but because of the cool and moist conditions that we have had, it’s probably not as bad as we originally thought. (Jim) It wasn’t as severe? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly, so we really didn’t have much of an idea of where the crop could go. It could be a fifty percent loss or it could be maybe a ten percent loss. I think luckily because of the weather pattern that we had, the loss was not as large as it could have been. (Jim) We’ve got to take a break. Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsor. See you in a minute.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer and with us we have Dr. Romulo Lollato, our Extension Wheat Specialist. Romulo, we’ve talked about wheat streak, we’ve talked about the blizzard of late April and early May. Let’s talk about some of the central Kansas, some of the nitrogen effects or lack thereof this year. (Dr. Romulo) Jim, if we go back around April or so I was traveling throughout the central portion of the state, south central all the way to southwest. I was seeing several fields just looking nitrogen deficient. They were shorter, they had smaller heads, a pale green color to them and they had some cow, they had spots of higher fertility or cow blocks on those fields that you could tell that, well, that fields outside of those cow blocks were nitrogen deficient. These went from Meade County all the way up Stafford County or so and into Cowley County; a pretty large region of the state where I was consistently seeing symptoms of nitrogen deficiency. Later on in similar regions where we saw a lot of water logging in large portions of the fields were drowned out. (Jim) Like McPherson County? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly. McPherson had quite a bit of that, Summer County as well. That entire south central to southwest portion of the state. A few possible causes that we have this year are, one, the wheat price. As we were talking earlier, as low as it was, producers were not as willing to go out and trigger that application of fungicide. I think we saw several producers who actually decreased their nitrogen rate, or straight forward didn’t apply any, just relying on that soil nitrogen. (Jim) Starter. (Dr. Romulo) Starter, yes. I think we saw a lot of that, just producers cutting back because of the wheat price. Then, if you were relying on that soil nitrogen at sowing, one of the things that we are also seeing in our soil test results from this year is that we’re going into the season with a depleted profile – with an empty tank. We didn’t because of the bumper crop that we had last year on the wheat. Also because of the high use that we had on the summer crops, we most likely went into the growing season with less nitrogen than what we we’re used to. (Jim) In that profile? (Dr. Romulo) In that profile, so we can rely on it less. I think that’s also one of the causes that we’re relying on something that we actually didn’t have this growing season. Finally, I also think that the amount of rainfall that we had after about March 15th, is what caused a lot of nitrogen loss. Maybe some leeching, some denitrification as well, so those three things combined are what I would suspect were the causes. (Jim) Right. Thank you. We’ve got to take another break. Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.
(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer. Dr. Romulo Lollato, the Extension Wheat Specialist at K-State is still with us. He didn’t run off during that last break. Romulo, April-May of this year I was starting to get really worried about stripe rust. The weather conditions were just perfect for stripe rust to come in. I heard stuff down in Texas that it was there, but it never really made much of a problem – leaf rust did. (Dr. Romulo) You’re right on, Jim. Back in April we were concerned because we had cool temperatures, we had moisture available, moisture there so we were really concerned with stripe rust. For some reason, it was kept in check. Actually leaf rust came a little bit later in the season, but still it was early May and we were seeing some concerning levels of leaf rust in south central Kansas. Actually the entire, it moved up in the state as well. Many of the varieties that don’t have much resistance to leaf rust were showing quite a bit of instance and severity of that disease as early as early May in south central Kansas. I think this year gave us a chance to really look at the genetic resistance of some of these varieties because we haven’t really had many years where leaf rust was as intense as we had this year. (Jim) Because stripe rust took out all the leaves, there weren’t any room for leaf rust in years passed. [Laughs] (Dr. Romulo) Exactly, exactly. Early on in the season stripe rust they just took on these best seasons, but this year we have a chance to see that. We also had a chance to take a look at the type of response that we can expect from a fungicide application in this season when we have severe leaf rust as we had this growing season. From our research plots that we have throughout the state on plots, same varieties we even involved fungicide. We were seeing anywhere like in resistant varieties maybe just a two, three bushel per acre yield gain when the variety had good resistance to leaf rust all the way to over 10 bushels per acre in more susceptible varieties. That reminds producers that they have the genetic resistance to choose and to use that as a tool if they’re not willing to spray a foliar fungicide. Then, also it tells us that with genetic foliar fungicides as cheap as they are, it is an option. It is an option that we should at least be prepared to pull the trigger if we need because the yield gain has been there in these last two years at least that I’ve been around. (Jim) One thing that I had many producers tell me was that once again that price of wheat at that time that they were trying to make that decision to pull the trigger. They’re going “Well, the yield potential is not going to be that good,” but it turned out yield potential was very good. (Dr. Romulo) Absolutely, it turned out to be a good year and the response was there for most of these varieties. In a year like this it is especially important for producers to understand their genetic resistance because if they have a variety that provides better genetic resistance to leaf rust. Last year for example, it was stripe rust. They have that tool that they might not need to spray a foliar fungicide. Now, especially in a year like this when wheat prices are three dollars per bushel. (Jim) You know when it’s approaching five or higher, that decision is little bit easier. They can see a better return on the money and money spent on that input cost of the fungicide. (Dr. Romulo) Definitely, so at higher yield potentials the return is generally there as well. That’s something that we’re looking at in our research plots. We’re trying to go by top yield of their environments. In a 30-bushel per acre yield environment, what is the type of response that we have? In a 50-bushel per acre yield environment, what is the type of response that we had? In these last couple years also were allowing us to look at the 70-80 bushel per acre yield environment, what type of response do we have? This all information is going to coming through K-State here in the next few months. Producers can access that through social media like Twitter or Facebook or K-State Agronomy eUpdates. This all information is going to be available for producers to access. (Jim) Romulo, thanks as always for being on the show, appreciate it, keep up the good work. Folks, thanks for being with us on this show of That’s My Farm. Don’t forget, next week about this same time we’ll have another one of That’s My Farm. See you then.
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