Wheat WrapUp

(Jim Shroyer) Good morning folks, welcome to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer your host. We’re in luck because we’re on the campus at K-State. We’re going to be talking to the Wheat and Forage Extension Specialist Dr. Romulo Lollato. Romulo is going to be telling us what went right this year, what almost went wrong, all the research he’s been doing and some of the new varieties that K-State is releasing. We got to take a break. We’ll be back in just a few minutes. See you in a second.

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(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm, I’m Jim Shroyer your host, and with us we have Dr. Romulo Lollato, our Extension Wheat and Forage Specialist. Romulo, let’s talk about the wheat crop this year, I mean we dodged a bullet. We didn’t dodge it so much last year but this year, it was going downhill in a hurry until mid-April. (Romulo Lollato) Yes, Exactly. I think whenever you mention that we dodged the bullet, I almost consider we dodged a few bullets because that earlier — beginning of the year we had a few freeze events really, all the way from – a couple of events during March and also early April that were pretty intense but the wheat crop was just not as advanced as we were thinking it was; so really dodged the bullet in most of the state, from that freeze event. Now, I guess the main bullet that we dodged was the drought, right? Really up to about mid-April or so, conditions were pretty dry across the state. We were averaging 40 states below an inch, an inch-and-half of rain from January all the way to mid-April. The crop was taken on that spring development was growing – was needing water when this moisture came in mid-April for most of the state. Now, in some cases it came a little bit late. We know of, for example, a few cases in North Central Kansas where the crop was already losing some tillers, far Southwest Kansas as well, where the crop had already lost some of the yield potential. (Jim) Yes, I have producers from Southwest tell me the wheat was turning blue. (Romulo) Exactly. (Jim) And again, losing tillers. I’m sorry I interrupted. (Romulo) No problem. Yes, far Southwest Kansas was – during the Wheat Quality Tour when we saw the lowest yields across the state, in that far Southwest Kansas. Definitely the main driving factor of yields— of the high yields that we observed in this growing season for most of the state was really we had above average precipitation for most of the state after April 15th or so – after mid-April, all the way in to June and the temperatures are actually about at average, or slightly below average for most of that period as well. That really extended the grain-filling period of the crop. In all, several producers that were averaging on their whole farm 70 or more, which it’s very, very high yields. We haven’t really seen that in recent years. Definitely that available moisture and cool temperatures really favored wheat yields, but it also favored stripe rust development. (Jim) I was going to ask you about that. (Romulo) Yes. Stripe rust— it was late March, we’re already getting many reports and finding stripe rust throughout Central Kansas, especially South Central Kansas, about late March. But the disease has been kept in check because there was just no moisture available at that point. (Jim) Exactly. (Romulo) Now, when the rain came and increased the wheat yield potential, together it also increased the potential for the disease to cause damage. The disease was already there, the disease was established, and it took on the canopy real quick. A couple of things that played a role — very important role, were first the weather but also the producers being more active in spraying during this growing season. We’re seeing many airplanes flying, spraying foliar fungicides. There was a lot of activity going on that mid-April through early May or so. (Jim) We’re going to stop right now for a station break, so stay with us. You folks at home, stay with us as well. We will be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. I’m Jim Shroyer. With us, we have Extension Wheat and Forage Specialist of the K-State, Romulo Lollato. Romulo, let’s keep talking about the fungicide effect this year. After last year, 15 farmers really got dinged pretty badly with stripe rust. (Romulo) Yes, last year it was a very tough decision for the farmers to take because the crop was so drought-stressed at that point, and it went from almost failure to needing to spray a fungicide within a matter of a week or so, or a little bit more. That was a very tough decision. Many farmers learned from that experience that they were seeing their neighbors who sprayed their yield was much more especially in susceptible varieties. I think farmers learned from that. That experience really played an important role this year whenever they sprayed the foliar fungicide. There were many farmers that were spraying about mid-April to early May, and that farmers being as proactive as they were, really played a role in yields. We’re seeing— (Jim) Well, you know the — sorry to interrupt you, but the one thing that I really I’m impressed with farmers this year is prices weren’t looking good. That was going the wrong direction and yet they’re going to put another input cost into it with the fungicide. (Romulo) Yes, definitely. Depending on the fungicide product that they chose to go with can cost as much as $20 per acre, so the whole operation. Now, farmers do have the option to go with a generic Tebuconazole, for example, which will lower the cost. We’re seeing a lot of farmers using that generic option which in our research trials with Dr. Erik De Wolf, he has shown that the effectiveness of, at least, those first two or three weeks is very similar between those products. Farmers didn’t have that option. I think in most cases farmers went with that option of a cheaper foliar fungicide, which did a very good job in controlling stripe rust. This year was crucial. We did see a yield bump in our research lots from foliar fungicide. It’s not every year that we’re going to see that yield bump. On the long run, several trials that we did at K-State – you did at K-State before I got here, with Erick De Wolf, have been showing that about 8-10% yield bump from foliar fungicide. If that on the long run is 8-10% means that in some years we have really low yield bump, but in many years we’ll have more than that. (Jim) On a high pressure — susceptible varieties high-pressure years — high disease pressure years. (Romulo) Exactly. When they start breaking it down into variety susceptibility and also the environmental likelihood of a disease developing is when you really have an interesting analysis. If we have an environment where it’s prone to disease pressure, say, that our neighbors already showing stripe rust, and also in the lower canopy on our own wheat crop there’s stripe rust, and we have a susceptible variety, the chance to get an yield gain that is going to at least break even for the foliar fungicide application is really high, maybe, as rich — as high as 90% or so in that situation. Now if you have a variety that is tolerant to that specific disease say, stripe rust, or leaf rust, or that disease that is being a problem in that growing season, your likelihood might be less to get that yield bump but still in many growing season it will pay. It’s very important to keep scouting and really know the disease pressure of your own field, and also know the variety of susceptibility of the variety that you’re planting. (Jim) We got to take a break. I want to talk about some research when we get back from the break. (Romulo) Excellent. (Jim) Folks stay with us. 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. Romulo Lollato, the Wheat Extension Specialist. We finished up a little bit on the benefit of fungicide just a second ago, let’s talk about some of the research you’ve been doing this past year? (Romulo) Sure Jim. We had some interesting trials going out this growing season. One of the trials is with the Kansas Wheat Commission. And what we’re looking there, we’re looking at the comparing standard management practices which will be the management practice on average adopted by farmers in Kansas versus a more intensive management of the wheat, and breaking that intensive management into several different practices, right. (Jim) You’re talking about, basically higher management, higher input cost as well? (Romulo) Yes, exactly. We’ll need to look at economics on it as well, not only yields but also the economics on it. A few things that we’re looking at, we’re looking at split nitrogen application at a higher rate as well, we’re looking at fungicide application, even grow fertilizers because we know that depending on the variety lodging maybe a concern, so it might be if we’re going to – (Jim) – in this year out west all the lodging that we had, so the growth regulators to keep the crop standing is an important aspect. (Romulo) True. Yes, definitely many of the varieties they don’t have a very strong straw so they’re more prone to lodging. That’s one thing that producers concern as well. Nobody likes picking up wheat out of the ground. (Jim) No, they learn a whole new vocabulary – [laughter] (Jim) – when they have to do that. Go ahead, I’m sorry. (Romulo) Definitely, one interesting thing that we are looking at is the results now and understanding from this research, so these high management plots they were established in Hutchinson, Reno County, in Belleville, in Republic County, and here in Manhattan as well, in Riley County. Whenever we were at Hutchinson or Belleville, which is our sites with the conventional tillage, really the only management practice that these growing seasons really lead to an increased grain yield was fungicide application. (Jim) That’s it? (Romulo) That’s it. That’s wheat. That’s it. If we compared the standard management with fungicide application versus our full intensive management they were same yields. Right? And similarly if we have our full intensive management without the fungicide application statistically it was the same as the control of our standard. Really, fungicide was the only thing that really played a role in determining wheat grain yields in Hutchinson and Belleville. And these growing seasons specifically where we had so much stripe rust and in Hutchinson we had leaf rust towards the end of the growing season the yield bumps that we were looking at is maybe 20, 25 bushels per acre, which is not every year for sure. This year was an exception. We had so much rainfall and such a disease pressure towards the end of the growing season, never seen this kind of yield bumps from the fungicide. But again, that’s not every year. (Jim) So in Belleville up in Republic County and Reno County, Hutchinson in Reno County, right? (Romulo) Yes, and here Manhattan it was a no-till situation. We did not have as much disease pressure out here in Manhattan. The factors that are increasing grain yields here were increased plant population and also increased nitrogen rate. So in no-till again we expect, you have some research that show that in no-till you we need to increase population rates and nitrogen as well. Here in Manhattan the two things that increased grain yields were increase in the plant population, and increase in nitrogen rates. (Jim) We kind of would expect that after planting and after corn as well, because you’re planting a little on the late side as well. (Romulo) Yes we were able to hit the early to meet October in corn. (Jim) Okay, it wasn’t that late then. (Romulo) It wasn’t too late. We do have some trials going after soybeans where it’s pretty late and the profile was dry as well. But definitely the plant population would play an important role there. (Jim) Have to stop here. We’ll come back after the break and talk some more here. Stay with us 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 and I’m glad to see that you didn’t either. Let’s continue the research. I know you had a lot going this past year, so tell us some more. (Romulo) This year, we also had research that was going on together with Allan Fritz, our wheat breeder here at K-State. And that was working with the variety performance tests here at K-State. All we did is in three locations—that was in Ellsworth, Conway Springs and also McPherson. All we did is, we duplicated the variety performance tests so we had better plots. That same variety— it was either treated as a standard farmer practice which fertilization was about 70 pounds of nitrogen per acre on the growing season, or it was treated as a more intensive management with an extra 40 pounds of nitrogen per acre applied early February. (Jim) So you’re trying to see, let me — you’re trying to see is some varieties respond better to the higher management than others? (Romulo) Exactly. Because the segment—well the trial that we’re just talking about on management, we had several management practices but only one variety, and varieties they do respond differently. Now we’re looking at—depending on the trial, 35 to almost 50 varieties and how they’re responding to extra nitrogen and a couple of fungicide applications; one at jointing one at flag leaf. And this research is also being conducted in Oklahoma since 2014. This is a combined project that I have with David Marburger the new Extension Wheat Specialist at OSU. We’re looking at the about six site years of data now. If you imagine this, about 50 varieties per year for six sites we are compiling quite a bit of data at this point. We can start looking at the probabilities of yield gains if you adopt that more intensive management, right? Again we need to break down into varieties that are more susceptible to leaf and stripe rust, average susceptibility and more resistant or above average resistance to stripe rust. (Jim) Right. (Romulo) Now we break that down the yield increase on those varieties that are more resistant to stripe rust has been about five to seven bushels per acre from that more intensive management. On those average varieties the average yield increase has been about 14 bushels per acre. And on those varieties that are very susceptible– (Jim) Flaming susceptible. (Romulo) Yes. And then we’re talking Rudelli, nowadays Everest, as well Red Hawk and so many others that are very susceptible. Bryd, out west; Tam111, Tam112. Well then we have about 20, 22 bushels per acre average yield bumps from this more intensive management. This is six years of data, six site years. (Jim) That sounds like really interesting work you’ve been doing here. We’re going to have to take a break we’ll be right back. And folks we’ll be right back after these words from our sponsors.

(Jim) Welcome back to That’s My Farm. Romulo, let’s continue the conversation on wheat here. Great research that you’re doing this past year. What’s new in the way of varieties? I know we have some new ones coming. (Romulo) Yes. Every year we have new more and more varieties coming out. And the trends for this are that you only have more varieties every year coming out because of the double applied technology. The breeding process is being so much faster now than it was in the past that it’s hard to keep up with all the varieties that are coming out. (Jim) Now from—not only from private companies but also from K-State and public institutions as well. (Romulo) Exactly. We have right now many institutions on the breeding, wheat-breeding sector and that’s great. It’s a blessing for farmers because they have many options to choose from. And a few of the new options that are coming out that will be available on fall 2017 for wheat producers who are interested. Again, not this year but in the fall of next year. Zenda is a variety that is going to be an Everest replacement which means it has 50% Everest on its pedigree and it has a few of the strengths that Everest has as well, especially it’s moderate resistance to Fusarium Head Blight. It’s going to be slightly taller than Everest, it’s going to be, it’s not as early maturing two or three inches taller than Everest as well excellent yield potential have been out bearing, most of the checks in the central portion of the state. Good acid salt tolerance as well. Another option that we’re talking about is Larry. Larry is going to be placed more of central or west central Kansas. Its yield record in central Kansas has been great, 3 to 4 bushels per acre above BB 4458, which has been a consistent yielding variety here in the central portion of Kansas. Excellent potential, a medium early maturing variety, good acid salt tolerance as well, so definitely is one for that central and west central portion of Kansas. So the Tatanka is much be placed more of a western Kansas variety. It has a very good use potential it’s use history in western Kansas has been very solid, it’s consistently towards the top. Very good stripe rust resistance I think it is a very good option to spare fungicide applications or maybe save some days before we can decide whether to apply fungicide or not because it has an excellent disease resistance package. (Jim) You’ve talked a lot about the research and varieties. Where can farmers that want to learn more—where can they get more information besides the County Extension Office? (Romulo) So farmers can follow me on Twitter at KSUWheat or can like our page on Facebook K-Statewheat. Both of those sources are good resources. I’m constantly putting out information for farmers and crop consultants there. And be aware of the Agronomy eUpdates as well. We always try and be on that list and receiving those weekly updates that we put out. (Jim) Well, Romulo thanks for being on the show and telling us about all your stuff you’ve been up to this past year. And folks thanks for being with us on That’s My Farm. Don’t forget next week about this same time we’re going to have another show coming to you. See you then.

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