Today, let’s catch up on some loose ends that haven’t been addressed over the last few weeks during the discussion on soil acidity. Summer row crop planting season is almost here and winter wheat produces have been hard at work topdressing their crop.
• The drought persists in the area but hasn’t intensified yet. However, with warming temperatures predicted along with the ever present Kansas wind combines with wheat and perennial cool-season grasses breaking dormancy, a good rain is needed sooner rather than later. Many fields surprisingly have a fair amount of moisture in the soil profile but it won’t last long as evaporation and plant transpiration ramp up.
• Winter Wheat – Greenup is underway and even though precipitation was spotty, most of the wheat in the area has soil moisture to work with. Most stands are in the fair to good category with the extremely late-planted fields the iffiest in terms of tillering. It appears there was some damage to the wheat from cold temperatures but nowhere near as common as when you move northwest from Barton County. Many fields appear to have the potential for acceptable to good yields and producers have recently been hard at work applying nitrogen and herbicides. It is important to keep in mind that proper fertility and weed control is more important during drier periods. As of now the only reports on diseases in Oklahoma is low levels of stem rust but it’s early. There haven’t been any reports of major insects feeding on wheat but scouting is extremely important during periods of stress on the plant. Wheat is somewhat behind schedule with the periods of cooler temperature and dry conditions and little if any has jointed.
• Alfalfa – There have been reports of fairly heavy insect feeding on alfalfa in South Central Kansas requiring treatment. Proper scouting is key in controlling this problem. Cold weather can significantly reduce pressure as can a good heavy rain and/or snow. Alfalfa in the area is greening up so scouting should begin shortly.