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Agricultural News

In The Field- Video with Dr. Jeff Edwards on the 2014 Oklahoma Wheat Crop

Mon, 20 Jan 2014 20:43:03 CST

In The Field- Video with Dr. Jeff Edwards on the 2014 Oklahoma Wheat Crop
The state's wheat crop is about midway through its dormancy period and Dr. Jeff Edwards, Oklahoma State University Extension Wheat Specialist has been assessing this year's crop. He spoke recently with Radio Oklahoma Network's Ron Hays about what he's seen so far. Edwards appeared on this past weekend's "In the Field" segment on News 9 Saturday morning about 6:40- check it out by clicking on the play button in the video box below. You can also hear the entire audio conversation that Ron had with Jeff by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.

"We're in pretty good shape, especially if you compare this year to the last couple of years, we're in really good shape," Edwars said. "The real wheat belt in Oklahoma has some moisture. The wheat got off to a good start prior to dormancy. Due to the cold snap that we had, we actually have dormancy this year so the wheat is just kind of holding in place. So, we're in pretty good shape."

Edwards said there are some exceptions to that, particularly producers near Altus and in the western tier of counties. He said unless they got some snowfall in late December and early January, the crop is in rough shape in those areas, but, overall, conditions across the rest of the state have been ideal so far.

"We're really looking at a crop where in most cases the rows have either closed or come close to it and that's really where we need to be whenever we come out of dormancy and start jointing. We need the drill rows to close and normally it takes three to four tillers to do that and I think we're set up to be in optimal shape. Now if we can just get some moisture throughout the spring to go ahead and fuel that canopy, we'll be in really good shape."

With that kind of potential, Edwards said it is important for producers to begin top dressing applications early.

"That top-dress nitrogen needs to be into the rooting profile by the time the wheat is jointing which is going to be late February into early and mid March. So in order to have that happen we have to have the nitrogen out there now, hopefully get about a halt to three-quarters of an inch of rain on it and move it into the soil profile."

He said that getting a properly-fertilized crop at this point is extremely important. In terms of dollars invested, nitrogen has the biggest potential for maximizing returns. The relative value of pesticides and foliar fungicides applied later all hinge on having a well-fertilized crop.

"If you're looking at ways to get by and save some money, in my opinion, nitrogen is not one of them. You've really got to have that nitrogen out there if you hope to make the wheat crop."

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