A few problems have become apparent with this seasons winter wheat crop. Many fields are yellow, and not responding to nitrogen top dress. NC State Extension small grain specialist Dr. Randy Weisz has produced a short video outlining a series of problems. The first is cold damage:
“We have had a lot of very cold weather and in many parts of the state, very wet weather. That has done two things: one – restricted growth including root growth, so they are not as deep as they often are this time of year. The wet weather has resulted in beaching of nitrogen pot ash, and the cold weather has resulted in a fair amount of cold injury, particularly to our early maturing varieties.”
In addition to cold damage, there’s also some nutrient decencies showing up in yellow fields of what says Weisz:
“The other thing, is all the rainy weather has resulted in a lot of wheat fields with sulfur, pot ash or nitrogen deficiencies. Folks that are sending in tissue samples, a lot are showing deficiencies in those leachable nutrients.”
And many fields in the eastern part of the state are also manganese deficient says Weisz.
Another problem complicating the whole story are a couple of soil viruses, says Weisz:
“Last fall conditions were ideal for soil virus infections. Initially we have been surprised that we are not seeing them this spring, but now I think we are seeing them and we just didn’t realize it due to the nutrient problems.”
Weisz says the only way to have a soil virus diagnosed and identified is with a tissue sample, not a soil sample. And once soil is infected with a virus, it’s there to stay. Identification is crucial so that varieties can be chosen in the future that are resistant to the virus.
NC State Small Grain Specialist Dr. Randy Weisz.