NDSU Extension - Williams County


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Six (6) week checkup for wheat - May 26, 2016

Six (6) week checkup for wheat - May 26, 2016

With seeding coming to an end for many farmers in northwest North Dakota, in six weeks you should go back into the fields. Crop scouting is an important activity that farmers and agronomist should do throughout early spring and summer. But what about the stuff that can happen underground? Like nutrient deficiencies.  Six weeks after planting, you should go out and pull up a few wheat plants. Those plants will be able to “tell” you a lot of what is going on and their overall health. The above ground portions of a wheat plant consists of the main stem, and a variable number of tillers. A typical healthy wheat plant, at the 4.5 to 5 leaf stage of the main stem, should have a T1 tiller and a T2 tiller. The T1 tiller arises from the base of leaf 1, and is initiated at the 2.5 leaf stage of the main stem. The T2 tiller arises from the base of leaf 2 and is initiated at the 3.5 leaf stage of the main stem. If the plant is suffering stress, at the 2.5 leaf stage of the may stem, the T1 tiller may not be initiated and will not initiate later. The same with the T2 tiller, if the plant is stressed at the 3.5 leaf stage then the T2 tiller may not be imitated and will not be initiated later. With the absence of the T1 and T2 tiller, it can tell us a lot about the early health of that wheat crop. Seldom there is 100% initiation of T1 and T2 tillers in the field, but 90% is reasonable goal. For example, if you go into the field and examine 10 wheat plants, 9 of those plants should have T1 and T2 tillers. If that goal of 90% is achieved, then that means the plant health was good during the early stages, there was a good supply of Nitrogen and Phosphorous. If the goal of 90% is not reached, there are questions that need to be asked, problems identified, and corrections made for next year.  The T1 tiller may not of been initiated because of being planted too deep, or possibly the seedbed was too hard, or due to Nitrogen or Phosphorous deficiencies. To determine if the seed was planted too deep, the length of the “white zone” is a reliable measure of seeding depth after the soil has settled.  Typical Nitrogen deficiencies have yellowing on the lowest leaves. Typical Sulfur deficiencies has the oldest parts (main stem leaves 1, 2, and 3) green and the youngest parts (main stem leaves 4 and 5, and the T1 and T2 tiller) being yellow. This information was gathered from the May 26th, 2016 Crop and Pest Report. To read more about the six week check-up, please go to https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/cpr to see the original article.

Danielle Steinhoff

County Agent Update





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