Kansas Wheat Crop Update

(Romulo) Good morning my name is Romulo Lollato. I am the Wheat and Forages Extension Specialist with Kansas State University. And today we’re here in the North Farm and we’re going to discuss with you a little bit of the current conditions of the wheat crop, some of the challenges that the producers have faced this growing season, especially following a late summer crop, as this last summer’s crop growing season with all the rainfall that we had in the beginning of the summer. Other conditions that may have delayed wheat planting in many parts of Kansas is the dry conditions that we observed during most of the month of October. So producers were either considering adjusting within or…and waiting for it to rain. Or the other way around just waiting for it to rain before they would ensure that the wheat crop would have at least some moisture to come up. And that really delayed some of the Kansas wheat planting together with a late summer season, summer crop harvest. So, let’s discuss some of these challenges and what we are seeing across the state, not only here in Manhattan but really on the wheat producing region of the state. So the summer season that we had was a pretty late summer. We had some delayed harvests as we can see here just on the field beside us, we are actually harvesting soybeans. So we have had a pretty late harvest this year. And with this delayed harvest the wheat planting may get delayed in a few fields. What are the consequences of delaying wheat planting and what are we seeing around the state? So, the first consequence is that the wheat plant will not have as much time to develop during the fall as it would had it been planted early in the appropriate planting date. That will result in less fall formed tillers which can decrease our wheat potential productivity, our potential yield. Fall formed tillers, they are generally more productive than spring formed tillers. So, here in the North Farm where we have a few different studies, what you can see on my right hand side is a study that was planted late October, and so it has much less development than the study that we have here on my left hand side that was planted early October, in the very first week of October. So, how do we scout for tiller information in an early planted field or a late planted field like this. As we scout our fields, first you need to dig your wheat plants out of the ground and look for the tillers. The tillers have a specific structure that are called profile and it’s very easy to identify the tillers when it is a tiller or a leaf based on the existence of that structure which is a sheath called profile, so as you can see here. Now on late planted wheat as the one that you have here planted late, on October here on the North Farm. In fact these plants have not started to tiller yet. So you can see that they have only the main stem, only the main shoot and not really started to tiller yet. What are the consequences of less tillering during the Fall? Consequences are not only the reduced yield potential, but also increase winter kill potential. So, winter damage potential, right? So, the wheat plants need at least one to two tiller and four to five developed leaves as it goes into the winter to have the greatest winter hardiness. So, we really need these couple tillers, four to five leaves to make sure that we have the greatest potential to survive the winter. When we are planting late and the wheat doesn’t have time to develop these one or two tillers and four or five leaves, we’re straight forward increasing our risk of winter kill. So, our crop here, planted in the fall in soybeans, which were planted late, third week of October, they really have a greater risk of winter kill than the crop planted earlier here planted following corn here on the North Farm. So, if you’re interested in hearing more information about wheat and following what all is going on throughout the state and also in research that we’re currently conducting, you can follow me on www.ksu.wheat on Twitter. And also always be aware that we have the weekly updates that we send through the Department of Agronomy at Kansas State University. And that’s really a great source of information of best management practices or maybe management adjustments based on what we’re seeing in the current growing season.

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