NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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June 2, 2014 Agriculture Column


This weather is the pits.  I know there are some producers what have completed the spring planting but not many and there are some that have a long ways to go yet as the fields are just soupy, soupy.  I told the campground owner this am, as I was leaving, that I was going to complain a little and would take only 5 seconds and he said “now what”.  I laughed and said “would you turn the rain off until we need it”.  Bill responded “I am good but not that good”.  It is funny how weather can be so different.  Sunday night there was a deluge of rain around Sheyenne and west of Creel bay and yet north by Hampden reports of 35 hundredths.  This weather also puts a lot of stress on folks and try to do an hour’s worth of work in ½ hour and sometimes leads to accidents.  Case in point, and it involved me, I was hauling anhydrous tanks for my youngest son and “not in a hurry” and got to the field and found I had been pulling those tanks with a chain.  The hitch had broken about 100 yards from where he needed his tanks and the rest of the story, I made it.  Just think if I had been driving down a well-traveled road and had that hitch break.  Instead of driving 10 mph I likely would have been driving 25 mph, could have been real bad for me or anyone that would have been on the road, at that time.

Delayed Wheat Planting: Fungicide Seed treatments vs. High Plant Population

In an effort to get crops in quickly, small grain growers may have thought about forgoing seed treatments and plant a higher population instead.  I cannot find and formal research comparing the two but the situation provides an interesting discussion on risk.  Below is a list of suggestions.

Seed Treatment advantages in delayed planting areas:

1.        Reduces infection from root rot pathogen and establishes better stand.  The most prevalent small grain root rots in North Dakota are common root rot and Fusarium crown.  Both pathogens thrive in relatively warm and drier soils and can occur sporadically throughout a field.  Fungicide seed treatments will help prevent initial infection from both of these pathogens.

2.       Seed –borne diseases.  If you have a history of seed borne diseases, like loose smut, fungicide seed treatments such as carboxin are very effective.

Seed Treatment risks in delayed planting areas:

1.        Time is money. Waiting for seed to be treated will take more time and may leave you vulnerable to another weather event (rain).

Increase planting population advantages

1.       Reduces the amount of time to finish planting.

2.       Increasing plant populations can be beneficial if planting after optimum dates and may help offset yield loss that occurs at crucial stages of wheat development.

Increase planting population risks

1.        Creates a greater risk of incidence from seed-borne diseases and root rots.  Seed –borne diseases can be problem both in the present and future, especially if using bin-run seed.

2.         Relaying on pathogens and abiotic factors to reduce stands.  Depending on the level of increase, high plant populations can create competition and prevent additional yield gains.

Regardless of the practice you choose, there will be risks associated with this type of management decision.  Knowledge of the land and yield expectations will help decide the type of risks you are willng to take.  Thanks to Andrew Freiskop , Extension Plant Pathologist, Cereal Crops, for the provided information above.

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