NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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May 16, 2011 Agriculture Column


It looks like planting week is here and hopefully all goes well for you.  Because we have gotten latter than normal please be careful on the roadway.  Many roads are in poor condition and county site seer’s don’t seem to have any respect for large equipment moving down the road.  Below find some info on late planting and small grain seed treatment.



 Considerations for Late Planting Small Grains

Small grains are cool season crops that require relatively cool temperatures in order to achieve high yield potential. Therefore, when planted late, temperatures are typically not ideal for the development of high yield potential in small grains. Warmer than optimal temperatures during vegetative development reduce tiller and spike size, while excessive heat during flowering and grain filling can reduce the number of kernels per spike and reduce grain size. The optimum planting date for the area south of Highway 2 and north of Interstate 94 is the fourth week of April with the last planting date the fourth week of May. Areas north of Highway 2 and south of the Canadian border have an optimum date of the first week of May and a last planting date of the first week of June. Expected yield loss per day after the optimum planting date is 1.5% for wheat, 1.7% for barley, and 1.2% for oats. When planting is delayed beyond the last planting date, yield reductions accelerate and profitable crop production becomes risky. If temperatures for the rest of the season turn out to be mild and below average as is predicted by the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center (http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/seasonal.php?lead=1), then reasonable yields could still expected if planting is not delayed beyond May. Many late planted fields of wheat were reported to have reasonable yields in 2009 due to the mild conditions that prevailed during that growing season. Keep in mind there are many variables that can and will affect yield potential, planting date is just one of them.

There are no management practices that can completely compensate for the effects of late planting. Nevertheless, for small grains when planting is delayed beyond the optimum date it may be beneficial to increase the seeding rate by 1% per day of delay up to a maximum of about 1.6 to 1.8 million seeds. This increase will partially compensate for the reduced tillering associated with late planting. Though differences in the maturity of commonly grown small grain varieties are not great, earlier maturing varieties are recommended for planting dates near June 1st. Spring wheat varieties, Brick, Briggs, Traverse, Glenn, Kelby, Oklee, and RB07 are among the earliest maturing. Data from SD and southern locations in MN also suggest that Steele‐ND and Howard tolerate “heat” better than many of the other varieties released by NDSU and will therefore perform relatively well when planted late. Switching from barley intended for malt to wheat may reduce the risk of producing a barley crop that does not make malt specifications due to small kernel arising heat stress during grain fill.

Small Grain Seed Treatment

The delay in planting of wheat and other small grain crops does not necessarily mean that when the crops are finally planted, the seed beds will be perfect for rapid germination and emergence. Soil temperatures will likely still be cool, and soil moisture will likely still be ample. Today’s common small grain fungicide seed treatment products provide protection against a number of disease organisms that could be favored by poor planting conditions and cause seedling blights or root rots. Many of the products also

protect against seed‐borne infections such as black point and loose smut. Modern seed treatment products generally are a combination of two to three fungicide chemistries that provide this broad spectrum disease control. In addition, some products may also be combined with an insecticide to provide protection against insects, such as wireworm. NDSU recommends using a broad spectrum fungicide product for good disease control; a producer needs to assess the risk of insect damage, to make a decision on adding insecticide. NDSU does not have data on product performance for enhancing small grain emergence because of non‐disease or insect stresses, stress such as cold or dry soils. Seed treatment fungicides were evaluated at several NDSU locations on spring wheat in 2010. At Fargo, the products Proceed MD, Charter F2, Dividend RTA, and Sativa MR averaged a 2.7 bushel/acre increase across four spring wheat varieties. In other studies at the Dickinson and Carrington Research Extension Centers, yield responses on spring wheat ranged from 1.6 to 6.1 bu/acre with tests using multi‐spectrum seed treatment fungicides such as Dividend Extreme, Rancona Apex, Charter, Raxil, and Proceed.


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