NW Kansas Wheat Plot Tour

(Jim) Hi I’m Jim Shroyer, Extension Wheat Specialist for Kansas State University and I’m Erick DeWolf, Extension Plant Pathologist for Kansas State University. (Jim) And we’ve been putting on lots of miles here in the last six weeks and we’re winding down on our wheat tours, Wheat Variety Demonstration Tours at all the counties across the state. And we’ve seen some really bad wheat, we’ve seen some OK wheat and now we’re in the northwest corner of the state and I tell you what, a month ago I probably wouldn’t have given you two nickels for a lot of this wheat up in this part of the state. I think the rain that started May 22, I believe that’s the first big rain they’ve had in a long time, that really turned things around. And a lot of people thought it was too late to respond to it, but we’ve had a good month, almost a month now of good growing conditions, fairly good moisture and the wheat as you can see here that I wouldn’t have given five to 15 bushel for, I think some of this wheat we’re looking at 35-40 bushel, maybe even pushing 50 in some locations. But with the moisture, are we seeing diseases? (Erick) No. It continues to be a really low disease year. I think it’s largely too late for any diseases to make an appearance or be a serious threat to the wheat here even in northwest Kansas. You know Jim as I was just kind of reflecting on some of what the growers have been telling us too is that one of the keys for what the success, relative success of some of the wheat here in northwest Kansas, was just fall establishment as well. (Jim) Right, right. Go ahead. (Erick) So that is part of what the growers were saying is that fall establishment for wheat here in western Kansas, and really everywhere is really important as well. And they had that throughout the state, but it was really what made the difference between a below average wheat and maybe the average or above average here, was some timely rain here to finish the crop as well. (Jim) Well, you’ve got basically two time periods, we actually had good moisture in August in this neck of the woods, northwest corner of the state, and early September and that was, what you said, the wheat got established. As opposed to say the south central part of the state or the central part of the state, they were dry from the get go. But, really no moisture, a little bit of snow over the winter and just kind of a tenth or two here and there through the winter and through the season. But when May came, the 22nd of May, we’ve had some, actually some pretty good moisture in this area. We’re not very far from the Colorado border and actually over in Colorado they got a little bit more rain than what we have right here at this particular location. It’s rained three or four inches here. Over 20 miles to the east, they’ve had four or five inches, so a world of difference how the wheat has responded. Some of the later varieties I think are responding a little bit better than some of the earlier varieties because the early varieties are just too late and not able to respond to some of this late season moisture. (Erick) Right. (Jim) Stay tuned we’ll be right back and we’ll be talking about some other issues such as hail damage up in northwest Kansas.

(Jim) Hi I’m Jim Shroyer, Extension Wheat Specialist at Kansas State University. (Erick) And I’m Erick DeWolf, Extension Plant Pathologist for Kansas State University. (Erick) So unfortunately some of what has come along with some of the recent rains has been some hail. Are there particular areas of this part of the state that maybe we’ve seen a little more hail? (Jim) Right, that great silver combine that has come a little too early. Yeah, up in the Goodland, north of Goodland up into Cheyenne County and up into Nebraska, the storm came through there just a few days ago, this past weekend as a matter of fact that really damaged some wheat. Anywhere from, I would say 30 to 75 percent hail loss in some of these fields. And again they’ve been sweating bullets all season long, not the wheat’s dying, turning brown, and just hanging on. And now they’re thinking 35 40 bushel and hail coming through and doing some serious damage. (Erick) Right. The other thing that I’ve seen too is just there are a lot of areas that were maybe low areas intermixed with like we often see in drought in those low areas, where we’re a little more drought stress with these recent rains we’ve seen some green heads coming in and they’re kind of making a, kind of a uneven maturity throughout the field. (Jim) Late tillers coming on. (Erick) Yeah, late tillers. What do you think the prospect is for some of those late tillers or areas that look green that were really stressed early? (Jim) Well I think what you’re going to have is small shriveled kernels that may or may not germinate. More than likely they’ll germinate but just because I am a pessimist, and think they’ll terminate and cause volunteer wheat. (Erick) Yeah. (Jim) And with volunteer wheat like we’ll see in hailed areas volunteer wheat, and then we have…. (Erick) Wheat streak mosaic often follows on its heels so those hail events that knock a lot of grain to the ground really can create volunteer wheat problems like Jim is saying and often what follows on its heels is wheat streak mosaic where the curl mite becomes established in those volunteers and the virus usually shortly afterwards that serves as the green bridge then to move to next year’s crop when we are planting in the fall. Unless that volunteer wheat is controlled during the summer months. (Jim) So, we’ll need some moisture after harvest to get that volunteer up and growing and try to control it so we don’t have that green bridge through the late summer into the fall. (Erick) That’s right. (Jim) Well, I tell you what, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with some of the wheat we’ve seen in northwest Kansas like I said all season long. All year long, I’ve been worried about this part of the state and this is kind of a garden spot of western Kansas, compared to say west central and southwest part of the state. So, I’ve been pleasantly surprised but it kind of shows you the year when we get really excited about 35 and 40 bushel wheat when instead of talking 50, 60 and 70 bushel of wheat. (Erick) That’s right. (Jim) So, it’s light years away more than we’ve had in recent past up in this area.

(Jim) Hi I’m Jim Shroyer, Extension Wheat Specialist at Kansas State University. (Jeanne) And I am Jeanne Falk Jones, I am the Sunflower District Agronomist. (Jim) So, you’ve got three counties? (Jeanne) I do. We have Wallace, Sherman, Cheyenne counties. So we border Colorado and Nebraska. (Jim) OK, there you go. So, we’re standing in the Wallace County, one of the Wallace County plots and they look pretty good for this year, especially compared to last year which you planted here and we didn’t have a plot through here and we didn’t have any wheat to show. (Jeanne) That’s exactly right, last year we had the Wheatless Wheat Plot Tour. (Jim) I remember that, I was here. So, you know these are great because we can see how they grow and the farmers can hear us talk about them. But they also can see how they grow through the season and then what the yields are at the end. So, how do you pick a plot area and how do you get ‘em in the ground? (Jeanne) OK, so really the first thing starts with finding the right wheat crop cooperator and I have been very blessed in Sunflower District that we have a long history of producers who have been doing wheat plot tours. We have producers who have been way over 30 years doing plots and then we have some new ones that we have just added in the last few years. But really it’s a producer who has a genuine interest in looking at different varieties that we have out in the plots. So, we find them first and sometimes they find us. (Jim) Right. So they come and say, “I want a plot.” You don’t have very many of those, cause it takes a little effort to do this. Because we aren’t planting 80 acres or a quarter, we’re only planting a quarter of an acre if that. So, you have to have the right equipment. (Jeanne) That’s exactly right. And so a lot of my producers actually have a drill that maybe is specifically designated for doing wheat plots, otherwise they have a smaller drill that they use for other things. And we usually end up using it for wheat plots. Otherwise we borrow some equipment to put in plots and so every plot size seems to differ just a little bit because of what is available to us and in the situation that we are in, and operation so we have everything from conventional to minimum tillage to completely no till type systems. And so it gives the producers a really good chance to look across very different production systems, but to really see what’s carrying on out in the field. (Jim) So these plots are just put in, the farmer… whatever the farmer does as general practices and then you just come in and plant or they have their own equipment, like you just mentioned. (Jeanne) Right. (Jim) You do have a little bit of equipment that you run around a little bit as well? (Jeanne) Yes. (Jim) OK. What do you think the farmers benefit, other than, I’m talking about neighbors as opposed to the person that actually puts it out, so let’s talk a little bit about that benefit. (Jeanne) Well, I think when we’re actually… let’s go back to selecting varieties because that is one of the more important things that we have going on in wheat plots, is that we talk to our cooperators and ask them what kind of varieties they would like to see. We sit down with our PDC- the Program Development Committee, which I call my think group. And I ask them what kind of varieties they’re wanting to see. A lot of times we look at performance tests and see what else is carrying on. We want to make sure we’re looking at some of the new stuff that’s coming out. (Jim) Compare it to the old stuff? (Jeanne) That’s exact… to the more traditional varieties that we are used to seeing and so we kind of have a mix of everything in here and that’s one of the goals in Sunflower District is that these be very teachable plots and so we have… we don’t do just a few varieties, we do a pretty good selection of what we’re looking at. A lot of different parentage, we look at public varieties, private varieties, everything that is out there in the field and so really the good thing is… is that we put signs on sometimes in the fall, sometimes early spring so every producer who drives by can see what we have… (Jim) How it’s done through the whole season. (Jeanne) That’s exactly right. (Jim) It is amazing how they grow through the year and how some of them perk up when it warms up and others just kind of stay dormant for a little while longer. But these are great; you have about 15 in this plot and I know the Sherman County plot, I lost count at about 35 last night. But that’s great; we get to see a lot of different things. Jeanne, thank you for your time. For talking about putting in a plot. I know your cooperators love to have you help put those plots out and they really are helpful. (Jeanne) Thank you.
 

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