NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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August 30 Agriculture Column


 The weather has not been the most conducive for harvest.  The humidity has stayed very high and of course that leads to a short harvest day.  My rain gauge says .98 inches of rain over the last two days.  The small grains and canola are not in need of any moisture; however the warm season crops could still use a shot of rain so this should have helped those crops.  I am not sure of any damage around the county but have not heard of any.  Our growing degree units have been very steadily moving upwards and corn in the southern county is nearing maturity.  2000 to 2100 GDD’s is the common number for maturity on corn and of course that will depend on your planting date.  Those planting later than May 1 will still need  more units than what I have given you.  The GDD’S  to date using May 1 as the start date is 1900 units and is 171 GDD’s ahead of normal.  Last year at this time we had 1729 units based on May 1.


1. Plant winter wheat into standing stubble. Survival of winter wheat during the winter is enhanced when it is covered with snow during the coldest months of the year. Standing crop residues can effectively retain snow that may fall. Tall, erect flax and canola stubble works best, but any erect stubble that will retain snow is recommended. Planting winter wheat into wheat stubble is not ideal for disease reasons, but as long as disease management is planned, wheat stubble can be an acceptable residue.


2. Plant winter-hardy adapted varieties. Use a winter hardy variety, especially if you are not planting into residue. Jerry, the latest NDSU release and varieties developed in Canada are among the most winter hardy varieties currently available. Accipiter and Peregrine are new varieties from Canada that have proven winter hardiness. Varieties that were developed for Nebraska may not have sufficient winter-hardiness some years, and should be used only if planted into standing stubble and should probably not be your primary winter wheat variety if you plant any significant acreage. Varieties developed in SD and MT tends to be intermediate in winter hardiness to those developed in ND/Canada and those developed in NE. Variety performance data from the 2009 season are available at http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/smgrains/ww%20circular%202009.pdf.


3. Apply Phosphorus at time of seeding. Phosphorus fertilization can play a role in winter hardiness, especially if soil tests are low for P. Applying 10-15

lbs of P with the seed may improve winter survival some years. Excessive N prior to winter freeze-up, however, can reduce winter survival.


4. Plant in September. The optimum planting date for the northern half of the state is September 1-15 and for the southern half September 15-30. The last

practical date that winter wheat can be planted will depend on the weather since there must be enough growing degree days so that the seed can germinate so that the crop will be vernalized by the spring. Larger seedlings will over winter better than a small seedling. Target the earlier portion of the

recommended planting date range if planting into bare, fallow ground.


5. Plant 1 to 1.5 inches deep. Adequate moisture for establishing winter wheat is often a concern as the soil profile is usually depleted of moisture in the fall. If there is little or no moisture in the soil’s surface, planting shallow (1 to 1.5 inches deep) and waiting for rain is recommended. Furthermore, these

relatively shallow planting depths allow for faster emergence when temperatures are rapidly declining.


6. Seed about a million seeds per acre. Generally a seeding rate of 900,000 to 1.2 million viable seed per acre is adequate. The higher seeding rate may be

appropriate if planting late or when planting into poor seedbeds. Since winter wheat tends to tiller more profusely than spring wheat, 1.2 million seeds per

acre is the upper end of the recommended seeding rate. Excessively high seed rates can result in more lodging by harvest time, particularly if you are using

a taller variety (like Jerry).

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