Oklahoma's Wheat Lookin' Good, OSU's Jeff Edwards Says Management Needed for Yield PotentialTue, 22 Dec 2015 18:05:30 CST
Oklahoma’s wheat crop has gotten off to a strong start, the best probably in several years in terms of crop yield potential. Oklahoma State University Extension Wheat Specialist Emeritus Dr. Jeff Edwards now serves as the head of the Plant and Soil Science Department. In talking with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays, Edwards said having a full profile of soil moisture is especially important in going through the winter into spring time.
“There’s a lot of things hidden underneath the soil that are going on right now in terms of head size, number of potential grain sites, all of that is being determined before jointing - before you see that head moved above the soil surface and any stress to the crop during that time period can affect those," Edwards said.
Farmers are set up to produce good yields, if they take care of the factors that can be controlled. With a lot of expenses already tied up in the crop, Edwards said farmers need to look at inputs that provide the best return on investment. That includes nitrogen fertilizer, weed control and possibly a fungicide. With above normal moisture, this crop has lost some its availability of nitrogen, especially with leaching in sandier soils.
“I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be one of those years where we do need quite a bit of top dressed nitrogen,” Edwards said. “In the Southern Plains our rainfall is unpredictable, so it’s important that we get started with those nitrogen applications fairly early in the winter. We need moisture to move the nitrogen into the soil profile and it has to be there available for the roots prior to jointing.”
Weeds have been a problem this fall in having above normal moisture. If warm temperatures hold, Edwards said farmers may have opportunities to take care of those weeds. The best recommendation is to control weeds early before they get established. He said controlling small weeds is much easier than trying to control them after they get established and start using nitrogen fertilizer.
Disease control is other factor that can greatly effect yield. Edwards said he is seeing quite a bit of leaf rust, tan spot and septoria. He recommends farmers monitor the situation until jointing or just after jointing before applying a fungicide. In applying nitrogen fertilizer, controlling weeds or applying a fungicide, Edwards said timely applications are the best management strategy for the best control.
You can listen to the conversation between Edwards and Hays by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below. And- you can watch them on Ron's In the Field segment Saturday morning on KWTV, News9 in Oklahoma City. In the Field airs at 6:40 AM in the News9 Saturday Morning News Block.
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