Wheat Happenings

Wheat Happenings

Some freeze damage is starting to show up in the wheat recently in the form of partial white heads, twisted leaves, and "browned out" flag leaves. 

According to the mesonet data, on April 5th, Medford got down to 31 degrees and Lahoma got down to 28 degrees on the same date.  Normally, these temperatures on that early of a date probably would not cause any concern, but couple those temps. with the low humidities and lack of moisture it seems to have dinged the wheat.  Part of the problem may also be the wheat's effort to go reproductive earlier than normal do to the stress of lack of moisture leaving it more vulnerable to freezing temperatures that early in the year.

There also seems to be more Barley Yellow Dwarf this year than what is typical for this area.  BYD is a disease that is vectored by aphids and fungicides will not be effective as a cure. It shows up as a "firing" or "yellowing" of the leaf starting at the tips working downward.  This year, it seems to me that some BYD has reached all the way to the flag leaf.

Having a damaged and/or a non functioning flag leaf is not a good thing but wheat can fill grain using any part of the flag leaf left and using the stem as well, and it seems to be doing just that.

Having said all of the above, you still better grease your combine.  With the exception of any wheat that had any added stress ( planted early with heavey grazing, terrace tops, summer crop grown on that acre last summer, etc.) we still have a valuable crop in the field, just not as much of of it.

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