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Applying Lessons Learned in 2012 Could Make a Big Difference in the 2013 Crop, Edwards Says

Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:19:33 CDT

Applying Lessons Learned in 2012 Could Make a Big Difference in the 2013 Crop, Edwards Says
Dr. Jeff Edwards, OSU Extension small grains specialist, said there are a number of lessons learned from this year to be applied to next year’s crop.

Speaking with Ron Hays at the Oklahoma Wheat Commission's 2012 Wheat Review at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Edwards said there are a number of things producers should be considering as we approach the planting season, but one item more than all the rest should take center stage.

“The main thing people need to be focusing on right now is going out and pulling soil samples. Not only to monitor soil pH, but to look at the amount of nitrate nitrogen there available in the soil profile. That’s going to have a value to you of about 60 to 65 cents per pound. That’s a really good return on investment for spending a little time out there with a soil probe.”

Edwards said there were a few surprises in the 2012 crop, most notably some changes in diseases. He said those changes will have an impact on variety selections.

“We had a shift in the stripe rust race that we were dealing with and that kind of caught us by surprise. We weren’t expecting that. Some of our newer varieties, Armor, Everest, Pete, Garrison, got hit by stripe rust and it kind of caught us off guard.

“So, I think one of the questions going into 2013 that producers must ask themselves is ‘Am I willing to spray a fungicide?’ because that’s going to have a huge effect on the variety you choose to plant this fall. If you’re not willing to spray a fungicide, then there are several varieties you just need to avoid. If you are willing to apply a fungicide, if that’s something you want to keep on the table as an option, then we have a lot more choices out there and you can go with one of these varieties that will still yield very well as long as you protect that flag leaf with a fungicide.”

He said producers should consider some of the newer varieties due to their higher yield potential, even if they have to be protected with a fungicide. The trade off in extra bushels will be more than offset in the extra yield.

“For me, a variety that comes to mind is Ruby Lee. If you’ll give it the management it needs, it really responds to management. It just has a lot of genetic yield potential. Billings would be another example as would W.B. Cedar that just have more fuel in the tank than the older varieties that we were growing ten or 15 years ago.

“If you’re growing a variety that’s more than five years old, it’s certainly time to look at upgrading.”

With dry conditions continuing this year much like last year, Edwards advises producers to delay inputs as long as possible. In grain-only operations, 25 to 30 pounds of available nitrogen in the soil is enough to carry the plant through the winter, he said. Additional nitrogen could be added as a top dressing later.

Edwards says delaying weed-control measures until spring, however, is counterproductive. Studies show that yield potential is reduced without adequate weed control in the fall.

He said Oklahoma producers who are now using canola as a rotation crop are finding that it is living up to their hopes. He said it is cleaning up wheat fields and it adds about 10 percent minimum to the yield of the following wheat crop.

You can hear more from Dr. Jeff Edwards by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.



Dr. Jeff Edwards reviews lessons learned from 2012 crop year.
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