People aren’t the only thing that’s ready for the weather to warm up, the Carolina wheat crop is too according to NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist Dr. Randy Weisz:
“There has been a lot of very cold and very wet weather. The result has been that almost all of the wheat across the state has been looking nitrogen deficient; yellow, purpling from the cold wet soil. With the little bit of warm weather we have had recently, its been trying to come out of this, but in most places they really need top dressed nitrogen. I would encourage growers to get their top dressed nitrogen out there asap.”
The long range forecasts calls for more seasonable temperatures, so Weisz says this is a good time for the wheat to get caught up:
“This is the opportunity for growers to make a few more bushels. If they get their nitrogen out there, the wheat can start growing. It’s the perfect time to make sure the top dress is done and taken care of.”
Weisz explains that the threat of stripe rust is not over, and growers need to be vigilant:
“We have not seen any stripe rust in NC, certainly the weather has continued to be favorable for stripe rust spores to arrive here and infect our wheat. So growers need to continue to have stripe rust on their minds. It would be good for them to google it and see a picture of it to remind them what it looks like. If anytime between now and May, they see yellow areas in the field, they should double check to make sure its not just a nitrogen or sulfur deficiency, if it is stripe rust then they need to spray a fungicide as soon as they can and then notify their county extension agent.”
We’ll hear more from NC State’s Dr. Randy Weisz tomorrow on hessian fly, on inside agriculture.