Wheat Management for Fall 2020

Hessian Fly Free Date by county in Ohio.

Wheat helps reduce problems associated with the continuous planting of soybean and corn. With soybean harvest quickly approaching, we would like to remind farmers of a few management decisions that are important for a successful crop.

  1. Variety Selection. Select high-yielding varieties with high test weight, good straw strength, and adequate disease resistance. Do not jeopardize your investment by planting anything but the best yielding varieties that also have resistance to the important diseases in your area. Depending on your area of the state, you may need good resistance to powdery mildew, Stagonospora leaf blotch, and/or leaf rust. Avoid varieties with susceptibility to Fusarium head scab. Plant seed that has been properly cleaned to remove shriveled kernels and treated with a fungicide seed treatment to control seed-borne diseases. The 2020 Ohio Wheat Performance Test results can be found at https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/wheattrials/
  2. Planting Date. Plant after the Hessian Fly Safe Date for your county. This date varies between September 22 for northern counties and October 5 for southern-most counties (Figure 1). Planting before the Fly Safe Date increases the risk of insect and disease problems including Hessian fly and aphids carrying Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus. The best time to plant is within 10 days after the Fly Safe Date.
  3. Seeding Rate. Optimum seeding rates are between 1.2 and 1.6 million seeds per acre. For drills with 7.5-inch row spacing, this is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row. When wheat is planted on time, the actual seeding rate has little effect on yield, but high seeding rates (above 30 seeds per foot of row) increase lodging and the risk of severe powdery mildew development next spring.
  4. Planting Depth. Planting depth is critical for tiller development and winter survival. Plant seed 1.5 inches deep and make sure planting depth is uniform across the field. No-till wheat seeded into soybean stubble is ideal, but make sure the soybean residue is uniformly spread over the surface of the ground. Shallow planting is the main cause of low tiller numbers and poor over-winter survival due to heaving and freeze injury.
  5. Fertilizer Application. Apply 20 of nitrogen per acre before planting to promote fall tiller development. Do not apply more than 10 lb N per acre as urea in contact with the seed. A soil test should be completed to determine phosphorus and potassium needs. Wheat requires more phosphorus than corn or soybean, and soil test levels should be maintained between 30-50 ppm (Mehlich-3 P) for optimum production. If the soil test indicates less than 30 ppm, then apply 80 to 110 pounds of P2O5 at planting, depending on yield potential. Do not add any phosphorus if soil test levels are higher than 50 ppm. Soil potassium should be maintained at 120 to 170 ppm (Mehlich-3 K) for soils with a cation exchange capacity >6 meq/100 g). For sandy soils with a cation exchange capacity of <5 meq/100 g, soil potassium should be maintained at 100 to 130 ppm. If potassium levels are low, apply between 65 to 180 pounds of K2O at planting, depending on the soil cation exchange capacity and yield potential. Soil pH should be between 6.3 and 7.0. In Ohio, limed soils usually have adequate calcium and magnesium. Sulfur should be added in the spring to sandy soils and soils with low organic matter. Ohio research from the past several years has not shown a yield response to supplemental sulfur on medium to fine-textured soils that have adequate organic matter. For the recently revised Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations for Corn, Soybeans, Wheat, and Alfalfa see: https://agcrops.osu.edu/FertilityResources/tri-state_info

Burndown Herbicides for No-till Wheat

High-Yield Wheat: No-Till Can Boost Yields - AgWebBy Mark Loux, OSU

Herbicide options for burndown of existing weeds prior to planting of no-till wheat include glyphosate, Gramoxone, Sharpen, and dicamba.  Among these, the combination of glyphosate and Sharpen probably provides the best combination of efficacy on marestail, flexibility in application timing, and residual control.  Dicamba labels have the following restriction on preplant applications – “allow 10 days between application and planting for each 0.25 lb ai/A used”.  A rate of 0.5 lb ai/A would therefore need to be applied at least 20 days before planting.  We do not know of any 2,4-D product labels that support the use of 2,4-D prior to or at the time wheat planting.  There is some risk of stand reduction and injury to wheat from applications of 2,4-D too close to the time of planting.  Liberty and other glufosinate products are also not labeled for use as a burndown treatment for wheat.  Sharpen should provide limited residual control of winter annuals that emerge after herbicide application, and the rate can be increased from 1 to 2 oz/A to improve the length of residual.  Gramoxone should also effectively control small seedlings of marestail and other winter annuals.  Be sure to use the appropriate adjuvants with any of these, and increase spray volume to 15 to 20 GPA to ensure adequate coverage with Sharpen or Gramoxone.

There are several effective postemergence herbicide treatments for wheat that can be applied in November to control these weeds, in fields where preplant burndown treatments are not used.  The most effective postemergence treatments include Huskie, Quelex, or mixtures of dicamba with either Peak, tribenuron (Express, etc), or a tribenuron/thifensulfuron premix (Harmony Xtra, etc).  We discourage the application of 2,4-D to emerged wheat in the fall due to the risk of injury and yield reduction.

Surface Application of Manure to Newly Planted Wheat Fields

Manure Application to Wheat

By Glen Arnold, Manure and Nutrient Management Specialist, OSU

Several livestock producers have inquired about applying liquid dairy or swine manure to newly planted wheat fields using a drag hose. The thought process is that the fields are firm (dry), there is very little rain in the nearby forecast, and the moisture in the manure could help with wheat germination and emergence.

The manure nutrients could easily replace the commercial fertilizer normally applied in advance of planting wheat. The application of fall-applied livestock manure to newly planted or growing crops can reduce nutrient losses compared to fall-applied manure without a growing crop.

Both swine and dairy manure can be used to add moisture to newly planted wheat. It’s important that the wheat seeds were properly covered with soil when planted to keep a barrier between the salt and nitrogen in the manure and the germinating wheat seed. It’s also important that livestock producers know their soil phosphorus levels, and the phosphorus in the manure being applied, so we don’t grow soil phosphorus levels beyond what is acceptable. Continue reading

2020 Ohio Wheat Performance Test

Yield results for the 2020 Ohio Wheat Performance Test are online at https://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/wheattrials/default.asp?year=2020

The purpose of the Ohio Wheat Performance Test is to evaluate wheat varieties, blends, brands, and breeding lines for yield, grain quality, and other important performance characteristics. This information gives wheat producers comparative information for selecting the varieties best suited for their production system and market. Varieties differ in yield potential, winter hardiness, maturity, standability, disease and insect resistance, and other agronomic characteristics. Selection should be based on performance from multiple test sites and years. Continue reading

Cover Crop Considerations After Wheat

By:  Jason Hartschuh, OSU Extension AgNR Educator, Crawford County (originally published in The Ohio Farmer)

Wheat provides many additional opportunities for your operation. These options include drainage improvements, weed-control timing, double-crop soybeans, double-crop forages, compaction mitigation, and soil building through cover crops. From the time wheat is harvested, there are about nine months for weeds to grow and soil to erode. If double-crop soybeans are not planted, the use of cover crops will protect the soil and assist with weed control. High populations of cover crops provide competition and soil cover to control weeds. Continue reading

Wheat Harvest Preparation: Grain Bin Edition

By Clint Schroeder, OSU Extension, Allen County

The 2020 Ohio wheat harvest is rapidly approaching. Now is the time to prepare for a successful harvest. Before the combine goes to the field, a key component will be to have grain handling and storage facilities adequately sanitized. Taking the proper steps now should help eliminate insect infestations that can significantly reduce grain quality or salability.

The majority of insect infestations that occur in stored grains are a result of migration into the bin. These insect populations will be present in piles of spilled grain from the previous year, livestock feed in the area, litter, and weed growth. Newly harvested wheat can also be contaminated when it comes in contact with infested grain that was not cleaned from the combine, trucks, wagons, augers, dump pits, or grain leg buckets. Another source of contamination can be carryover grain in a bin that was not correctly emptied. Continue reading

Winter Wheat Stand Evaluation

Evaluating wheat standBy:  Laura Lindsey

Between planting in the fall and Feekes 4 growth stage (beginning of erect growth) in the spring, winter wheat is vulnerable to environmental stress such as saturated soils and freeze-thaw cycles that cause soil heaving. All of which may lead to substantial stand reduction, and consequently, low grain yield. However, a stand that looks thin in the spring does not always correspond to lower grain yield. Rather than relying on a visual assessment, we suggest counting the number of wheat stems or using the mobile phone app (Canopeo) to estimate the wheat grain yield. Continue reading