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2000 Crops Day Report

Growing Conditions

Hettinger Research Extension Center


The winter of 1999/2000 will go into the history books as being warm and dry. The average temperature for the month of November was 41 degrees vs. the 45 year average of 30. The daily high temperature was above 32 degrees every day in November and for the first 16 days of December. Soil frost set in during mid-December, however, frost levels were shallow throughout the winter and went out during late February/early March. Temperatures were generally mild throughout the winter months and there was no period of bitterly cold. Reports of volunteer spring wheat survival through the winter were common. Dormant seeded canola planted at the end of October and the early part of November sprouted resulting in very poor spring stands. The dry winter also resulted in short grass and first cutting alfalfa.

Field work began in mid-March with relatively warm and dry conditions. Small grain planting continued through April with few weather related interruptions. May was warm and relatively wet at Hettinger with 13 days of measurable precipitation totaling almost 4 inches. June and the first half of July were also wet with rainfall accumulations of almost 6 inches. The last half of July and the month of August were hot and dry. Small grain, canola and flax crops matured about one week ahead of normal and were generally harvested without weather related delays. Small grain yields tended to be well above average with excellent quality. Sunflower, corn and soybeans developed rapidly during this hot period. Corn showed signs of moisture stress during the last week of August.

Small grain disease problems tended to be localized with reports of wheat streak mosaic, leaf rust, severe tan spot, septoria, and head scab. Ascochyta blight was common and severe in many chickpea fields causing poor quality and severely reducing yields. Cutworm damage to canola, small grains and early seeded sunflowers were reported. An early and heavy hatch of flea beetles took its toll on seedling canola and alfalfa weevils decimated several alfalfa fields.

All trials at the Hettinger Research Center were planted with a no-till drill. Alternative crops were planted into either field pea or soybean stubble and small grain trials were planted into soybean stubble. Soil fertility was determined and fertilizer was applied according to specific yield goals for each crop. Urea (46-0-0) was the primary nitrogen source used and was applied with a no-till drill prior to planting. Monoammonium phosphate (11-52-0) was applied directly with most seed at planting.

All HRSW, durum and barley trials were treated post emergence for both grass weeds (foxtails and wild oats) and for broadleaf weeds (kochia, Russian thistle and wild buckwheat). All broadleaf crops were treated with a pre-emergence burn down, and with a post emergence treatment for grass weeds and broadleaf weeds when possible.


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