What Do We Need to Be Thinking About With the Wheat Crop
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Generally, we have had ideal conditions from time of planting until now for our wheat crop. That is indicated by the very good plant stands across the county and region as well as the relatively dark green color of the crop during the growing season. As the wheat enters this time of rapid growth, some fields have become more irregular in height, which could be due to differences in soil types, irregular topography (high/low areas), irregular distribution of crop debris, etc. The one thing that has not worked in our favor is the unseasonably warm temperatures, which has accelerated the development of the crop. We are a good three weeks ahead of schedule in crop development. For the last two plus weeks we have had wheat jointing (Feekes 6) or starting to joint. I looked at some wheat on Friday, February 24th, which was an early maturing variety planted Thanksgiving day. I told the grower that it would be 2 weeks until it was jointing and that was my best guess with the current weather. I would say that we should have most of the wheat acreage jointing or a later growth stage in the next two weeks.
What should we be considering in the coming weeks.
- We are entering the time of rapid development, which means that wheat will be going through a number of important growth stages.
- Although there are no major concerns with the wheat crop at this time with regard to foliar diseases, with wheat getting bigger as well as unseasonably warm temperatures, we need to be scouting wheat for diseases and insects. To help you in the selection of foliar fungicides for various wheat foliar diseases,use the table, Fungicide Efficacy for Control of Wheat Diseases, on Page 477 of the 2023 NC Ag Chemical Manual .
- Be scouting for other pests such as weeds and insects and take appropriate action as needed.
- Many of our pesticides use growth stages to indicate when is the appropriate time for their application. If you need a refresher on growth stages, use the NC Small Grains Production Guide 2021 and then look for the information on wheat growth and development on page 15
- If your wheat starts to show less than ideal color/appearance and all other causes for the poor appearance can be eliminated except for nutrition, I would take a tissue sample. If you have questions about this, please contact me.