Outlook for short, stressed wheat
This brings up two main questions:
1. How much yield loss will wheat suffer if it is short and late, with a small flag leaf? At this point in the season, it is impossible to answer that question. It depends on the weather from now through the soft dough stage.
2. How can you go about deciding when it’s time to pull the trigger and destroy the crop to get ready for a follow-up crop of grain sorghum, soybeans, summer annual forage, or sunflowers? That’s another tough question, and involves crop insurance considerations. If the wheat is very short and stands are thin, you can probably make the call any time now, pending approval by your crop insurance representative. If stands are good but the crop is short and late, it’s best to wait until about the soft dough stage. By then you will be able to get kernel counts and make an estimate of grain fill.
If the wheat crop is terminated, producers may be able to plant a follow-up crop. Two of the most commonly planted summer crops after wheat are grain sorghum and soybeans. The crop choice will depend on soil moisture and wheat herbicide carryover considerations -- see eUpdate No. 445, March 14, 2014 at: https://webapp.agron.ksu.edu/agr_social/eu_article.throck?article_id=184
- Needs 21 inches of combined stored soil moisture and available precipitation for a full season hybrid; a little less for a medium maturity hybrid.
- Takes 6.9 inches of combined stored soil moisture and available precipitation to get grain sorghum to the first bushel of yield
- After that, each inch of available precipitation received and utilized will return about 9.4 bushels per acre
- Prefers soil temperatures above 60° F at planting time
- Medium-early hybrids planted the first 10 days of May can reach harvestable maturity in mid to late September
- Planting in June means later October harvest
- Earlier planting = taller plants with more foliage
- The later the planting usually the greater the lodging potential
- Needs/would like about 24 inches of available soil moisture and precipitation.
- Takes 9 inches of combined stored soil moisture and available precipitation to get soybeans to the first bushel of yield.
- After that, each inch of available precipitation received and utilized will return about 4.5 bushels per acre.
- Also prefer soil temps above 60° F at planting time.
- If planting prior to Memorial Day and especially in no-till, use a good seed treatment fungicide.
- Early Group III’s planted in early May should be physiologically mature by September 20-25 and be ready for harvest 10-14 days later.
- Group IV’s planted in early May will normally run about 10-14 days later than the early III’s.
- For every 3 days delay in planting, plan on the crop maturing 1 day later. Example: The same variety planted June 12 will reach physiological and harvest maturity approximately 2 weeks later than if it was planted May 1.
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