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.

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

April 5, 2018

Austin Brown, Dylan Lillley, and I (Al Wood) looked at our wheat variety trials to get an idea of the current stage of growth and whether or not there were any pest problems showing up in the varieties. The planting dates for these variety trials were October 18, 2017 (Perquimans), November 18th, 2017 (Camden), and November 22, 2017 (Pasquotank). Most if not all the varieties were at flag stage at the Perquimans site as well as the Camden site with the Pasquotank site not far behind. Based on our observations at these three sites, the wheat will be heading (seed heads) within the next 2 to 4 weeks.  At the Pequimans site we found one tiller with a head emerging (see picture below). At all three sites we found aphids present (see picture below) , but nothing to be concerned about. At two of the sites we found a trace amount of powdery mildew (see picture below)  on a couple of varieties. Over all the varieties look good in our trials. As for the wheat in the county, it has responded to the topdress nitrogen and most fields look really good. There are some late planted fields that are small and have very low plant populations that may have to be abandoned for grain production and planted to corn or soybean.

Also, we are looking at cold temperatures this weekend (mid-thirties) and with some of our wheat approaching the boot stage and heading growth stage, that makes those fields more susceptible to freeze injury. I have included two links on freeze injury for wheat that may answer questions you may have. They are as follows:

Powdery mildew on wheat.

Aphids on wheat

Wheat tillers with one at flag leaf and the other with head emerging from the same field

April 27, 2018

I have been in a number of fields in the last few days. All the wheat was in the boot stage or just going into heading. Much of the wheat looks really good with lots of tillers and fairly large size developing heads, with occasional field that has fallen victim to poor growing conditions, etc. I did not see a lot of disease, but with recent rains this is something that we will have to watch. I have seen stink bugs in a few wheat fields, but it is not a concernn in wheat, but could be a problem in corn (seedling and pre-tassel stage)  and soybeans during pod formation. Eveything I saw was brown stink bugs, which is the important stink bug for corn. In one field I saw cereal leaf beetle larvae (see picture below) at a fairly significant numbers

With foliar fungicides for wheat, we have got to keep in mind the pre-harvest interval or the stage of growth past, which you can not make an application, especially this time of year. The only other thing that you might keep in mind is whether to treat for scab. According to the model today (4/27/2018) , if your wheat were heading/flowering at this time, there is very little risk in our area of the world. With weather looking dry in the coming week, may be will “dodge the bullet” on scab. This is something we will have to watch for the next several of weeks. If you have any questions, please contact me.

This is a cereal leaf beetle larva. It can be damaging to wheat if it reaches threshold levels. Although it appears black, the larva is actually yellowish green in color and the black slimy substance on its body is mucous mixed with the feces of the larva causing it to look black.

May 1, 2018

With the pretty weather and warmer temperatures, much of our wheat is showing heads. I went  by the Pasquotank wheat variety trial with Billy and Doug Mercer on Perkins Lane, which was planted on November 22, 2017 and at least one-half of the varieties are showing heads. This is a critical time for a couple of reasons. First, if you are choosing one application of a foliar fungicide to carry you into the grain filling stage, then the time is here or close at hand. Many of the foliar fungicides say the last application can either be made at some stage of heading/flowering (for example Feekes Growth Stage 10.5 to 10.5.4) or so many days before harvest (for example 14 to 45 days) or both, depending on the foliar fungicide. Check the label of the foliar fungicide for timing of last application. Secondly, if you are making a fungicide application with a label for managing fusarium head blight (scab), these applications need to be made during the time of heading/flowering. See images and table below for information on the stages of growth of wheat during heading and flowering. If you have any other questions, please contact Al Wood.

Information for this table taken from the NC State University Small Grain Production Guide that contains wheat growth stage designation for Feekes and Zadok System and description during heading and flowering

This image was taken from the NC State University Small Grain Production Guide, which provides images and description of heading and flowering stages of wheat for the Feekes and Zadok System.

May 8, 2018

Today, the Penn State Scab model is showing much of Pasquotank County as well as the other counties north of the Albemarle Sound are at moderate risk for scab and areas of the ower ends of the counties are at high risk. This prediction assumes that the wheat is at early flowering. If  wheat has already flowered or has not yet flowered, then this prediction is not relevant for that wheat (the wheat is not at a susceptible stage for the wheat heads to be infected by the fusarium head blight, scab). If wheat is at early flowering or for up to 7 days past early flowering at this time, then an application of a fungicide such as Caramba, Proline, or Prosaro, could be beneficial. An application of one of these products is especially beneficial to varieties that are moderately susceptible or susceptible to scab. One other point is that although this model is useful in predicting when conditions are favorable for the occurrence of fusarium head blight, it does not take into account for micro-environment differences within the area (you could have areas that is more at risk than the model shows because of  micro-environment differences). Below is the link to the model.

May 17, 2018

The wheat crop is looking very good with much of it at the early milk to dough stage. I have seen some disease low down in the plant canopy such as powdery mildew and Stagonospora nodorum blotch (SNB), although I saw one field with a trace of stripe rust on some flag leafs.

Now is the time to be watching fields for presence of scab that can be detected by presence of prematurely tan (not green) heads. Other things that might cause heads to turn tan prematurely prior to ripening of the grain (and harvest) are frost damaged heads or take-all.

The way to distinguish scab from these other two issues is that for frost/freeze damaged wheat, the heads would have turned tan not too long after the frost or freeze. Take-all will be in patches (maybe several square feet in size) whereas scab would be more individual heads unless you had a very severe case. Although there is not much you can do, if you see tan heads indicating that you have scab, then at harvest, you can increase the fan speed so that you can blow the shriveled kernels out and maybe reduce the level of DON in the wheat.

One other thing is that there has been reports of true armyworms in wheat in the last week or so in the Blacklands, northeast NC and southeast Virginia. Click on the link below for additional information from Dr. Dominic Reisig about this.

Written By

Photo of Al Wood, Jr.Al Wood, Jr.Extension Agent, Agriculture (252) 338-3954 (Office) al_wood@ncsu.eduPasquotank County, North Carolina
Updated on May 17, 2018
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