With areas of the country experiencing warmer weather earlier than normal, winter wheat is already breaking dormancy. If you are seeing this in your winter wheat fields, here are four areas to pay attention to as green-up continues:
- Determine soil nutrients. Nitrogen is a key component to winter wheat. The Michigan State University Extension recommends answering two questions – Can N be delivered to the plant in a timely fashion? And, can opportunities for N loss be reduced without affecting N delivery to the plant? Depending on your response, it may or may not be the right time to apply N.
- Look for freeze damage. Even with the warmer spring, there is still a chance for a few cold snaps, which can damage wheat heads and cause deformities. If temperatures fall below 30 degrees, Penn State Extension recommends keeping an eye on fields of wheat where jointing has begun.
- Scout fields for disease. Look for common early-season diseases such as stripe rust, fungal leaf spots and powdery mildew.
- Use proactive management for wheat diseases. It only takes a small amount of inoculum for a disease to develop and spread under favorable weather conditions. To prevent its spread, be proactive. Syngenta recommends a fungicide like Trivapro®, which delivers excellent, long-lasting disease control against rusts and leaf spot.
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