By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Are We There Yet?
Placeholder Image

Today is the official middle of September. Producers are getting antsy to harvest summer crops and plant wheat. If you drive around the area and look closely you can find some fields already drilled, likely with rye or wheat for pasture. The recent rains will likely cause producers to pull the trigger and start planting the 2014 wheat crop a little early (unless they are waiting to harvest corn or soybeans first). Wheat farmers have arrived at the first stop on the journey that is the 2014 wheat crop – planting. But as with any trip, you need to properly prepare before starting. So before we ask if we are there yet, the first question is “Are we ready to start the journey?” To that end, here is a list of questions wheat farmers should already have answered.
* Have fields for wheat been selected and acreage determined?
* Has volunteer wheat been eliminated from the field and surrounding area for at least two weeks?
* Are weeds controlled? What are the probable winter annual and perennial weed problems?
* Have herbicides been applied to preceding crops that may injure or kill newly seeded wheat?
* What is the soil pH? If the field required lime to raise soil pH, was the lime applied and if yes, when? If not, select an acid tolerant variety.
* What are the results of a proper soil test? What nutrients need amended?
* If not soil testing, has the amount of nutrients removed by the crops since the last soil test been determined?
* Is the seedbed ready if tillage is used?
* Is the drill ready and properly calibrated?
* Is all the other equipment in proper working order?
* What potential weed, disease and insect pressure is possible? What was present the last time a grass crop was grown on the field? What pest pressures were noted? What are the most effective, practical control measures?
* Are the necessary fertilizers and pesticides ordered or available?
* Have the proper wheat varieties been selected and ordered based upon soil type, soil pH, and insect/disease resistance/susceptibility? Does the wheat seed require treatment with fungicide and or insecticide (only if not grazing)?
Actually there are a few more that could be asked but you get the idea. We tend to forget, especially things we have done for years, just how much goes into not just producing a crop but all the decisions and work before you even plant the seed.