Back in January at the 21st Annual Joint Grains Conference in New Bern, Randy Weisz, NC State Small Grains Specialist discussed the pitiful winter wheat crop. In the ensuing six weeks, with as much moisture as we’ve had, is there any hope for improvement? Certainly the weather that’s forecast right now, and what we’ve got forecast for the next few days, and the fact that the daytime temps are being forecast consistently in the 50’s, Weisz says that’s good news for the wheat crop.
While we seem to have turned a corner on temperatures, that doesn’t mean there’s not still challenges out there. The challenge the growers are having right now is to finish up fertilization, since the wheat is behind, that’s the other factor, and since it’s been cold and wet, the crop is behind. That’s good and bad in that, the good is that we’re going to have a little bit more time before the plants switch over to reproductive growth, go ahead and tiller more, we need all the tillering we can get to increase yield potential. The fact that it’s behind is probably good, instead of tillering happening right now, it’ll buy us another week, two, maybe three weeks, so that’s good. The challenge that we’re having, we still have lots of rain in the forecast. Sometime before tillering ends, the growers have to finish getting nitrogen on their crop. Weisz has been encouraging growers that the minute they can get a tractor on their field to finish up their nitrogen applications.
The thin stands of late planted fields and small plants are basically lowering the yield potential for the acres that do get saved.