As proven year after year, Syngenta reminds wheat growers that weather patterns in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) can be anything but predictable, and planning ahead is essential to helping the crop achieve a strong start. Just this winter, much of the area battled a record-breaking drought while watching the rest of the country deal with heavy snowstorm after heavy snowstorm. Although this can keep growers on their toes, an integrated crop management plan can help them stay ahead of potential challenges and ensure maximum quality and crop performance is achieved.

“We cannot always predict weather or pest-related challenges that may arise, but we can plan to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws our way,” said Ed Driskill, West Coast region key account manager, Syngenta. “Planning ahead, planting a certified seed variety and using a quality seed treatment can help mitigate threats and ultimately grow more wheat.”

To be proactive, growers should consider the following recommendations:

  • Start with a clean slate: It is important to establish a clean, weed-free field at least two weeks before planting wheat. If not, insects and diseases living in previous crop residue or remaining weeds can travel to newly emerging wheat and other spring crops. One of the more subtle impacts of the recent dry weather fall is that it may have limited the activation of fall soil-applied herbicides, leading to weed escapes in wheat fields this spring. For optimum control of these weeds now, Syngenta recommends applying a quality burndown, pre-plant or pre-emergence herbicide, such as Gramoxone SL 2.0, which delivers broad-spectrum control on tough-to-manage weeds.
  • Select fresh, clean certified seed to address local challenges: Wheat fields in the high-residue areas of the PNW are the most susceptible to devastating soilborne diseases such as Rhizoctonia, Pythium, and Fusarium, as well as yield-robbing insects. To help alleviate stress from these pests, Syngenta breeds AgriPro brand certified wheat seed locally to help manage the region’s specific challenges. This year, AgriPro is offering PNW growers SY Steelhead, a new hard red spring wheat variety bred for the high rainfall zones of the PNW. “With high protein content and good tolerance to stripe rust and Fusarium head blight, SY Steelhead is an excellent wheat seed choice for wheat growers in the PNW this season,” Driskill said.
  • Protect your seed from the start: Be sure to protect wheat crops with a quality seed treatment to ensure further protection against yield-robbing pests. Syngenta offers PNW growers a five-way seed treatment of separately registered products that includes Vibrance (sedaxane) seed treatment fungicide at the highest labeled rate, Dividend (difenoconozole) fungicide, Apron XL (mefenoxam) fungicide, ipconazole and Cruiser (thiamethoxam) insecticide. This seed treatment offer helps protect wheat seeds from yield–robbing soilborne diseases like Rhizoctonia, Pythium, and Fusarium as well as wireworms, which leads to healthier root systems that help wheat achieve a strong start.

As spring planting season approaches, it is important to watch weather patterns and plan ahead to protect wheat fields from threats that diminish wheat quality and yield potential. Utilizing an integrated management approach helps PNW growers maintain a high-residue field and grow more profitable wheat.