Reporting From the Wheat Field in Pasquotank County

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This webpage will be one place that you can find information about the wheat crop in Pasquotank and around the region.

man in field

Austin Brown, Extension Agent of Camden County, evaluating plots at the 2018 Northeast Ag Expo Small Grains Field Day site with Cherry Hill Farms

November 4, 2021

Wheat planting started mid-October and wheat is still being planted at this time. Dry, warm soils are providing excellent conditions for seedling emergence of wheat, and plant populations are generally looking pretty good.

December 2, 2021

2021-22 Wheat Crop

The 2021-22 wheat crop growing season is underway and overall, it’s been a very good start. At this time, what should be on our list of things to consider with the wheat crop in the coming weeks.

  • Weed control: Already, I am seeing winter annuals coming up in various places such as yards and non-cropland areas. With that in mind, we need to be watching for weeds such as henbit, common chickweed, annual ryegrass, and annual bluegrass just to name a few. Weeds are easier to kill when small, and that is especially true with annual ryegrass so don’t wait until January to address it. If you have questions pertaining to weed control, please contact me.
  • Plant population evaluation. Evaluation of plant populations (tiller counts) is important to obtaining profitable yields. Although, it is documented that fall tillers are the most productive, if tiller numbers can be determined early on in the growing season, like by late-January, yields can be enhanced by pushing tiller numbers with timely management. Fifty tillers per square foot is our goal to shoot for early on in the growing season to help insure we have a profitable yield. If you would like to learn more about how to count wheat tillers, use the following link:
  • Nitrogen management: As with any crop, keeping the crop well fed during the growing season is important. Many of the successful wheat farmers are using multiple applications of nitrogen for wheat with the total nitrogen per acre for the growing season for high yielding wheat growers being about 150 pounds per acre. We want to keep the wheat crop green and growing. With the current price of fertilizers including liquid nitrogen, there is going to be a tendency to cut rates. If you want to have a profitable wheat crop, I would consider not going lower than a total of 120 pounds per acre.
  • When making decisions about controlling costs of producing a wheat crop, consider the following points: i) inputs that have the greatest opportunity to contributing to your bottom line, keep reductions to a minimum, and ii) inputs that have little to no opportunity to contributing to your bottom line, give greater consideration as to whether you should spend money for it.

If you have not already been in the wheat field since planting, now is the time to do it. This will give you an opportunity to evaluate your crop for the things mentioned here.

December 17, 2021

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to evaluate plant populations of wheat. Some were thin and others were  good. It is not too early to do tiller counts. If you do not have at least 35 to 45 tillers per square foot at this time, then you may want to do an early split application of nitrogen if plant population is good enough to keep. An early split application could range between 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen acre. If you have questions, please contact me or if you are interested in learning more about counting tillers,  use the following link:

April 5, 2022

Much of the wheat in Pasquotank County and the region is between Feekes growth stage 9, the flag leaf completely visible to feekes growth stage 10.1, the head visible but not flowering. First, how do we stand on damage from freeze. With the temperatures we’ve had in early March and last week, the chance of damage varies with the temperature and growth stage. Data from Kansas shows that the critical temperature for wheat at flag leaf is about 26 degrees F, for boot stage, that is wheat with heads just below flag leaf,  is 28 degrees F, and wheat with heads out is 30 degrees F. Secondly, much of our management with regards to disease and insects is during the growth stages of flag leaf to heading. Scout your wheat to see where you are at as far as growth stage and to determine if you have sustained damage from freeze or the presence of pests.