Wheat Chart

Tales from Teels 5.7.22

What an awesome rain. This along with the warmer temperatures has kicked the wheat into high gear. I have been hearing reports of wheat boot-head on the east side of our territory.  I am seeing a lot of flag leaves out west here as well.  Everyone has had concerns of the plant height.  One common question, will this result in poor yields.  My answer to this is it actually depends.  First we need to look into what caused the wheat to be short in stature.  Plant height can be affected by a number of things including water, temperature and solar radiation.  This kind of spells out the why.  I will now look a little closer at the correlation between plant height and yield. Notice the chart below which is from the Northern Great Plains.  There are 6 cropping years represented here and only one time does yield and plant height produce a positive result.  This suggests that height in and of itself has no direct bearing on yield.  Understand that our head and spikelet count has been determined.  The plant leaf area index threshold is much more important that plant height.  This is defined as the total one sided leaf area per unit of surface area.  We need enough light receptivity to be able to fuel all the internal processes to fill the head.  If we have proper LAI then we will need the water and nutrients to complete he cycle. 

I do not want anyone to assume I am saying that this is going to be a great crop. Understand, this crop has had a very tough life and as such we have impacted yield.  I just wanted everyone to understand that shorter wheat does not necessarily mean poor wheat. I will mention  that if we have a shorter crop our residue amount will be less than desirable.  In fields with poor stands we may need to consider some sort of cover to allow us some residue for the winter. Another year another set of challenges welcome to Northwest Kansas, Eastern Colorado.    

Wheat Disease 2

Tales from Teels 5.5.22

Now that we have finally gotten rain I wanted to speak to you with a little clarity about disease management and winter wheat as we continue to develop.  I do not want to give the impression that I believe we are out of the woods on moisture needs. My main emphasis will be pathogens as it relates to weather.  I will also look at plant physiology and ultimately grain protein. 

First, looking south helps us predict rust outbreaks in Kansas.  Since this disease spreads via spores then we need favorable conditions to the south for the disease to proliferate.  Looking at the weather in the southern plains the fall and early spring has been very dry. As I have mentioned before environment is a crucial component of the disease triangle. In looking at points south and discussing with pathologists in OK and TX the indices of rust has been minimal as we would expect.  This in turn can and will have a direct impact on our rust pressure.  This is not to say there will be no rust it just means that the likelihood of widespread infection is minimized.  Understand that micro climates can play a role as well. Spore formation was not eliminated just decreased. If we have favorable environments such as this week, the disease can blow up.  Second, we continue to have more and more acres planted behind corn and milo stalks.  Fusarium head blight is becoming more and more of a problem as a result.  This disease does not happen until flowering. In this case the inoculum is here we just need a warm moist environment during flower for it to proliferate.  This is becoming a significant disease in the eastern half of the country where there is typically for more humidity during flower.  Typically a delaying the treatment until closer to flower is more appropriate.  While we will be seeing heads soon we will need to manage pathogens as well.  Never assume that there will be no disease pressure.  My purpose here is not to sound an alarm just to educate on the realities of what we are dealing with this year.  Understand if this type of weather persists then we could have some localized disease pressure. If we go back to the previous pattern then not so much.                              

I will now talk about winter wheat and protein accumulation which is a product of the physiology of the wheat plant.  Nitrogen is a common element of both protein and amino acids in a plant.  It has been shown through research that delayed Nitrogen top dressing actually regulates gene expression related to N metabolism and protease synthesis in the flag leaf.  This in turn will result in more free amino acids being transferred to the endosperm and the kernel itself.  In a nutshell late applications of N can and will help unlock the genetic potential of the plant to accumulate more protein in the grain.  Normally applying late applications of nitrogen can and will result in some phytoxicity.  This is not acceptable if the flag leaf is emerged. Therefore, it is best to look at a safer product such as urea liquor (Chrome). Not only is Chrome a Urea Liquor but it so much more. This product also has Organic Acids, sugar and other compounds to ensure crop safety and optimal uptake.