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2012-2013 Wheat Crop Struggling

The past two seasons were considered to be some of the best Mother Nature had to offer when it came to growing winter wheat in the mid-Atlantic , and the yields showed that. But this year is a whole nother story according to Brian Jones, product agronomist for Dupont Pioneer, serving Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia:

“We have had a whole different season this year. For some people they are about a third of the way through and for others the wheat just got into the ground. Over all I think the wheat crop is looking pretty poor, with the weather we’ve had its just sitting there in the ground.”

Jones attributes the poor quality of the crop at this time to lack of moisture:

“I don’t know exactly how far we are behind, but in my area its between 6-8 inches. Further south its around that as well. Its definitely dryer that we should be.”

But, jones points out that at this early stage of the game, all is not lost, some careful management can still pull this crop out:

“It’s going to be a year when we pay close attention to our spring fertility management and try to stay ahead of this crop. So we can go into tillering giving that crop what it needs.

Speaking of tillering, Jones says things have changed in just the past few days:

“It’s very small right now. It got so cold so fast that the wheat didn’t have a chance to tiller up like it should. But hopefully we still have some time. With the warmer weather here this week there is a lot of green out there, some of that nitrogen is starting to mineralize and become available to that crop. If we continue to see some warm temperatures we could make it out ok.”

Jones says there’s really not been a need to scout for insects yet, but weed management is a must due to the overall condition of the wheat:

“I’m not extremely worried about insects this time of year, we are more worried about getting weeds under control and making sure we don’t have any especially with the tillers that are so small.”

With farm show season in full swing, Jones encourages producers to visit their Pioneer rep’s at the shows:

“There are a lot of farm shows that are near by and I encourage you to go out and talk to your reps and see what is going on.”

Brian Jones, product agronomist for Dupont Pioneer, serving Virginia, North Carolina and West Virginia.

For more Pioneer In the Field Reports, click here is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.