The Drought Monitor shows little change from last week, however the areas classified as abnormally dry and in drought are starting to expand again from the west eastward. There are rain chances from this past Friday through early this week and temperatures are predicted to be below normal. Corn is made but rainfall and cooler temps will benefit sorghum grain development and soybean pod fill. The six to ten day outlook (Sept. 1 to 5) has above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures for the state. Looking out eight to 14 days (Sept. 3 to Sept. 9) indicates below normal precipitation and temperatures. With September starting in just two days, today is a good time for thoughts regarding planting the 2021 wheat crop. Items many are likely aware of or are doing.
• When keeping seed from the 2020 harvest for the 2021 harvest, take the time and spend the money to have it cleaned, especially if the field wasn’t rogued prior to harvest. If you noticed certain fungal diseases at harvest and you aren’t going to graze the wheat, have it treated with a fungicide.
• If you aren’t grazing and know you are likely to have problems with soil insects such as wireworm, an insecticidal seed treatment is recommended for soil borne insects and provides some protection after harvest.
• It sounds like a broken record but control any volunteer wheat now – mechanically, chemically or a combination of methods. And typically there is a late flush towards planting time and be ready to control those. A good rule of thumb is no volunteer wheat within approximately two miles of the field within two weeks of planting. Unfortunately a producer may have no control over a field in that zone. The main purpose here is to eliminate wheat curl mites and prevent them from spreading Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus.
• If not already done, finish up any aggressive tillage for weeds. Tillage from now on should be very shallow, just enough to kill weed seedlings and lightly incorporate fertilizer.
• If a producer is intending to graze wheat (rye, or triticale also), especially for good fall/early winter grazing planting time is almost here. A producer should be ready to plant and if one, a decent rain was received, or two, a strong possibility of rain is in the forecast.
• If you are planting for grain only and waiting for the Hessian fly free date, approximately the end of September, strongly consider a soil profile nitrate test in shortly, say ten to 14 days. And on sandier ground, a profile sulfur test.
Dr. Victor L. Martin is the agriculture instructor/coordinator for Barton Community College. He can be reached at 620-792-9207, ext. 207.