Eastern Wheat Crop Suffering from Excessive Moisture
The unusually wet winter, especially in the Blacklands, is causing problems for the area’s winter wheat. Rod Gurganus, Director of Beaufort County Extension:
“Right now its so wet that the wheat looks bad. We had a good start to the season and planting was on time. The wheat has tilled out fairly well.”
Gurganus says the wheat simply isn’t growing:
“Farmers can’t remember a winter being this wet for this long. We have had saturated soils for an extended period of time. And it’s not growing at all.”
When the wheat is examined, says Gurganus, what producers really see isn’t a nitrogen deficiency, but a phosphorous deficiency. That doesn’t mean the phosphorous isn’t in the soil, but that the soil is so saturated, the plants can’t absorb it.
This is usually the time when wheat producers start thinking about applying a split of nitrogen, Gurganus says producers might want to re-think that:
“There are a lot of tillers out there. Split applications of nitrogen are good when they are needed to develop extra tillers. Those situations would be from the later planted ones. We want growers to go out and measure the number of tillers and then see if they really need the nitrogen.”
And that number is about 60 tillers per square foot.
So, right now there’s nothing to do but wait out the weather:
“Keep your nitrogen in the tank and let’s wait to put it out closer to GS 25. Save some money by not putting nitrogen out that might get washed away or be applied to wheat that really might not need it.”
Director of Beaufort County Extension, Rod Gurganus.