Update on 2017 Wheat Crop

(Jim Shroyer) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, your host. And we’re in luck because we are on the campus of K-State. And with us we have Romulo Lollato, the Extension Wheat Specialist and Forages Specialist talking to us about the wheat crop this year. We got to take a break. We’ll be back in just a few minutes. See you in a second.Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at agpromosource.com.

(Jim Shroyer) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer, and with us we have Romulo Lollato. the Extension Weed Specialist, and Forage Specialist. Romulo we’d had some pretty warm temperatures; I mean we had some really cold in December, and then what happened? (Dr. Romulo Lollato) Early in December, we had that cold spell, when the temperatures just came down to single digits, and they were there for a few hours. Many producers were concerned throughout the state with possible winter kill there. But really we didn’t see much of that from that cold spell in December. Once we got to January, though, temperatures throughout the winter have been much warmer than normal. If we look, depending where we are in the state, temperatures have been anywhere from about three to five degrees warmer than the normal for northwest Kansas; all the way to about 10 degrees warmer than the normal for south central and southeast Kansas. These warmer temperatures, we need to remember, it’s going to really increase the speed with which the crops are going to develop. The wheat crop is really going to take on faster in the spring now than it should. It’s going to result in an early greening up. And that’s going to affect many of the management practices that the producers need to be thinking about; at least the timing of those management practices. Right now we have here behind us a crop that is already greened up, and it’s still early March, probably it would be more like mid-March or so when it would have greened up. And we’re seeing this throughout the state. If you look at the vegetation maps throughout the state, overall, throughout the state we have much more vegetative growth, we’re using satellite imagery, that’s compared to the 28-year average. Things are greening up; we have reports of fields that have already reached jointing in south central Kansas. That’s definitely early for that. (Jim) What about some of the management issues that would be associated with the earlier growth and development of the crop? (Dr. Romulo) A few things a producer needs to have in mind with this earlier development of the crop is probably be more aware of insects; probably aphids as well. We’ll have warmer temperatures; they are going to be more active earlier on. We need to consider nitrogen fertility as well. We need to have that nitrogen in the root zone by the time when the head is developing. (Jim) That’s really important. But you’ve got to have the water to get the nitrogen down into the root zone. (Romulo) Exactly, exactly. And we can also talk about total precipitation in the state, and how that’s looking like. Many producers are also considering an early fungicide. And that’s another thing that we need to put some more focus on, and discuss some of the results that we have shown here at K-State on the long years of research that you helped back in the past. (Jim) We’ve got to take a break right now so hang on, Romulo. Folks, we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer. We have Romulo Lollato, the Extension Wheat and Forage Specialist with us. Romulo, let’s talk a little bit about taking cattle off. Because of the season so early, as you mentioned just a second ago, because of the warmer than normal temperatures, that can really affect when we remove cattle. (Dr. Romulo) Definitely. We need to remember, Jim, that the best time to remove cattle from a wheat field that is going to go for a grain later on, so dual purpose field, forage and grain, is at first hollow stem. First hollow stem is that stage of growth when we have about 1.5 centimeters or about roughly half an inch of growth below the developing head; so, in between the crown and the developing head. (Jim) You’re talking about the head moving up from the crown region and just before joining, basically is what you’re talking about? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly. To be slightly before joining. (Jim) And that’s initiated basically by temperatures? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly. Temperatures, if the crops have moisture and nutrients it’s going to take on a spring growth. The reason it is important for us to remove cattle at first hollow stem is that at that point, the growing point is still below ground. It’s above the crown but it’s still below ground. So whenever cattle, they’re grazing the wheat crop, they’re not removing that growing point. We’re still maintaining the growing point safe. If we graze past first hollow stem, they’re going to start removing those growing points and then our yield’s going to really suffer a penalty there. That yield loss can range anywhere from 1% to as much as 5%. Some previous research has shown 1 to 5% per day of yield loss that we can have just by grazing past first hollow stem. During this time of the year, it’s very important that producers are checking for first hollow stem in their fields. First hollow stem is field specific so different varieties in different fields are going to respond differently because it depends on the soil temperature. Generally, we recommend checking for first hollow stem from an ungrazed area of the field. Maybe just outside a fence, but from an ungrazed area off the field for that variety at that field. Generally, we pull the entire plant and recommend producers to split the main stem open lengthwise and pretty much take a measurement of how far along that growing point is. If it is anywhere above about half an inch or above roughly the diameter of a dime, that’s the best time to start removing cattle from the wheat pasture. (Jim) For that growing point to be up high enough to be grazed, obviously, has to be near jointing or even above jointing. That’s grubbing that wheat down pretty hard and you probably, that alone grubbing, having those cattle graze that short is going to probably cause a yield loss with or without the growing point being there or even below the soil surface, right? (Dr. Romulo) Yes. So, long-term– (Jim) — losing leaf area. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, definitely. Long-term research has shown that on average we see about a 15% yield loss from the dual-purpose system as compared to the grain only. Definitely we will see some yield loss just from raising from leaf area removal. If you’re concerned with your first hollow stem for grazing, make sure and follow us on Twitter. We’re definitely two or three times per week sending first hollow stem updates for several wheat varieties for the south central portion of the state. (Jim) We’ve got to take a break. Hang on here. 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 Romulo didn’t run off during that break. Thank you for hanging around with us. Now let’s talk, we’ve talked a little bit about temperatures, we’ve talked a little bit about the first tallest stem and when to take those cattle off. Let’s talk about precipitation or the lack thereof across the state. (Dr. Romulo) Sure. Jim, I was working with the weather data library here at Kansas State, and they retrieved the data for the entire state for me for precipitation from September 1st. Roughly when the growing season would start a little bit earlier than that, all the way to February 28. Pretty much the entire growing season. Depending where we are in the state, the total precipitation that year would range from less than 1 inch in southwest Kansas, to more than 23 inches in south central Kansas. That corresponds to about 25% of where southwest Kansas should be by this time of the year. When we compare that to the long term normal, we’re only about 25% of where we should be in southwest Kansas. Whereas in southeast Kansas and south central Kansas, we have had about a 190% of the amount of precipitation during the growing season. With that, we have very contrasting situations in this state. In the southwest Kansas, many fields didn’t get their precipitation till the winter now; till that ice storm or the recent events that we have had. The situation is pretty rough on those fields. Many of those fields, they didn’t even emerge during the fall. That seed was just probably just laying there up to now, up to this last precipitation event. Now, in cases where that seed’s got a good fungicide treatment, insecticide treatment as well, it might have stayed there and especially did not get any moisture, so it was dry. (Jim) It didn’t germinate and then run out of water. Is that what you’re saying? That they emerged? (Dr. Romulo) Exactly, because in that case, it was most likely that crop would be gone by now if it germinated and then dried out. Now, if the seed was maintained there probably producers are now having to take a decision on whether to keep that crop or not. Several fields out in southwest Kansas, they are in a situation that they have very erratic stance, just maybe 20% 30% came out in the fall. Now they are just now emerging, many of those fields. What are some of the things that the producers need to consider there? First, is the potential of the crop. If all those plants come out, we are still, and we have an even stand., we’re still going to have only about 50% of what the fall emerged crop will have as far as potential goes. That’s one thing that producers need to consider if they’re willing to maintain a crop that only has about 50% or so. That is considering full stamp. If only, let’s say that we have some germination issues and we don’t even get the full standard the huge loss is going to be even greater. It’s also which depend on weather conditions now during the spring. If the weather turns out to be cool and moist, those fields might still yield well. If it turns out hot and dry, probably, the yield loss maybe even greater than that. Really producers have a tough decision to make. Maybe whenever they think about terminating the crop now, they also need to consider herbicide rotation. Depending on what herbicide they put on their wheat crop, you might restrict them for even going into a summer crop. Really several things that producers need to be considering at this point in time, but definitely, those fields have a much-limited yield potential as compared to fall emerging yields. (Jim) Another hard thing about it is it’s not a uniform stand loss across the field. That would make it easy. Like you’ve mentioned a second ago, parts of the field are– there’s nothing there yet or is or has died. Nothing is going to be there, you have this Apache wheats as the farmers talk about. That makes it hard to figure out because you have some good areas and then some total gone. That makes it quite difficult. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, the producers they’re really on a tough decision right now. Depending on their– they need to consider whether that yield potential is something that they can work with or they will have to terminate the crop and go for something else. (Jim) Thanks. We’re going to take a break right now. We’ll see you back in just a few minutes.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer. With us we still have Romulo Lollato, our Extension Wheat Specialist. We’ve talked a little bit about growth and development and precipitation. There’s a lot, over the past few years, Romulo, there’s been interest in that split applications of fungicides like that early season application and then one at boot stage or flag leaf emergence and boot stage. So, talk to us a little bit about that. (Dr. Romulo) That’s a very interesting topic there Jim, because in many systems that fungicide application works if you have a higher rainfall. For example, if you go for wheat that is grown in Europe, they pretty much need that fungicide application. If you go even to certain Brazil or so, we need that early fungicide application. (Jim) Even in the Eastern US with high rainfall and the high infestation of fungal diseases. (Dr. Romulo) Exactly. In these situations, it helps control some of that early development of these diseases. Now, a lot of the research that has done in Kansas historically has shown that for our conditions, that are generally drier, most of the heavy lifting really from the yield is going to come from the flag leaf application. Right, that early fungicide application hasn’t really shown consistent response for our wheat grown here in Kansas. Maybe in a few situations, for example, if it’s wheat grown after wheat, in an old-field situation where we may have maybe more tan spot or some other diseases. And you’re growing a separate cultivar, they might be justifiable. But really, for most of Kansas, that first application generally doesn’t bring as much of a yield gain. Just to give you an example, recently I got with Kansas Wheat Commission, seven years of data from their yield contest fields. And those fields they’re highly managed. We have their fields that got just one fungicide application, two fungicide applications, several different combinations there. When we’re analyzing that data, over 90 fields of intensively managed wheat, we didn’t really see any yield gain from that early fungicide application. Now, the late one, is really what is bringing a–.(Jim) You get the biggest bang for your bar, basically. (Dr. Romulo) Exactly. From that data as well that is coming from on farm, we can also learn that the variety disease, the variety’s susceptibility to stripe rust or leaf rust also plays a very important role there. Over those 90 fields, generally, resistant varieties gained less from a fungicide application for both stripe rust or leaf rust. And several varieties gained much more. And in many cases, the gain on resistant varieties wasn’t even significant. Really, that early fungicide application, producers should really consider if that’s a situation where they need to be applying or not. For Kansas, in most cases, it’s not the one that is going to bring most of the yield benefit. (Jim)Thank you for that and we’ve got to take a break. 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 with us, Extension Wheat Specialist Romulo Lollato is with us. In this last segment here– well actually, in the segment, the last segment you mention the yield contest and you talked a little bit about that. There’s more info that you gathered from the last few years of that contest. Tell us a little bit more about what you’ve discovered. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, Jim this is a very interesting set of data there. We are looking at 90 fields that were highly managed. We can start learning what are things that are working, what are thing that maybe we shouldn’t be really thinking about in our crop here. If we compared the 30 lowest yielding fields on that data set, which as you mentioned. (Jim) It still good yields. (Dr. Romulo) Still good deals. The 30 lowest fields still yielded about 60 bushes per acre. If we compared the management practices adopted in those fields, with management practices adopted in higher yielding fields, which average about 95 bushes per acre or so, the difference in adoption of no-till exists so the higher yielding fields we’re adopting no till more frequently. It doesn’t mean that no-till increasing yields. What we’re saying is that those higher yielding guys are adopting a little no till more frequently. (Jim) They probably have crop rotation as well. They’re not no-till year after year they’ve got other crops in the rotation. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, exactly. There is a crop rotation to it as well. Other things that we learned was about seeding rate, for example. The higher yielding fields were generally adopting slightly lower seeding rates. On average, a million seeds per acre which roughly corresponds to 70 pounds maybe 75 pounds per acre, while the lowest yielding guys were adopting slightly higher than that, 1.2 million seeds per acre. Now when we talk about seeding rates, it’s important to keep in mind that this is all during optimal planting time. If we delay planting, we generally recommend that you increase seeding rates. In this data set, the fields planted during optimum time here in Kansas, generally, slightly lower seeding rates we’re paying the bucks there, we’re really increasing their yields. (Jim) You’re saying about that 900,000 seeds, basically. (Dr. Romulo) They’re 1 million, 900,000 to 1.1 million, we didn’t see much difference there. Once we went to 1.2 and above, we started seeing yield decrease. Probably what’s going on there, we have too much of a growth, too much of an early growth whenever we have a higher population out there. Probably, in a region as dry as we are, once we get into grain filling there are more important phases of the crop development. Later on, when the crop really needs their water, maybe we have used it before. (Jim) Yes, you use the water up, up to that point and you didn’t have enough to carry it through. (Dr. Romulo) Yes, exactly. We also learned from that data set that generally, that higher yielding group they were adopting varieties that were on that medium maturity range, right? Whereas the lower yielding guys, there are more on that early side. There was that difference in variety maturity. Now, that’s going to be year specific. Some years, the early maturing varieties are going to yield better, while other years– probably years like last year when we had the cool, moist growing season, the late maturing varieties were better. Among those fields that we were studying there, generally about the variety maturity adopted by the higher yielding guys, was slightly later than by the lower yielding guys. (Jim) Romulo, Thank you so much for taking time, I appreciate it, it’s a Little chilly today, even though it’s been above normal temperatures. You folks, thanks for being with us on this, That’s My Farm and don’t forget next week about the same time I’ll have another episode of That’s My Farm.

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