Keeping your 2021 Wheat Crop Standing Until the Finish Line

Is a PGR part of your 2021 program?

Ontario had some tremendous fields of winter wheat heading into winter. A good portion was planted in the optimum window and in some instances earlier than the optimum planting date. Much of the wheat is now covered with a blanket of snow; fingers crossed it looks as good as it did going into winter once the crop breaks dormancy. As many growers are planning for the upcoming season, have you considered using a growth regulator this year? Before we get into what products are available, we first need to discuss the purpose of PGRs and determine if a growth regulator fits for your 2021 program.

Plant growth regulators do exactly what they are intended to do, reduce stem elongation resulting in a sturdier plant to withstand lodging. However, PGRs do not need to be used every acre across the province. They are best suited for situations where there is a risk of lodging. What increases the risk of lodging?

  • Early planting with high seeding rates
  • Aggressive nitrogen and sulphur programs
  • High base soil fertility
  • History of repeated manure applications
  • Lodging prone varieties

Once the snow melts and the wheat begins to green up, it is best to evaluate your stand to determine where your crop fits on the lodging matrix. Measure one foot of row in multiple spots across the field. Count the number of plants per foot and record the number of stems and active tillers. If you determine your stand has 650 heads per square yard or greater potential, then there is a risk of lodging. You can mitigate lodging with split nitrogen applications. However, if you plan on using high nitrogen rates, are growing a lodging prone variety or you have a strong background fertility, a PGR will fit your program well.

Looking at the same lodging matrix, if you determine your crop has the potential for less than 450 heads per square yard, your lodging potential is minimal and would not be advised to use a pgr. If you end up with this head count, early nitrogen to stimulate tiller development will be key to maximize the yield potential.

Plant growth regulators have been around for several years, but only recently have they been registered in Ontario for use on cereals. The two options for Ontario producers are Manipulator from Belchim Crop Protection Canada and new for 2021 is Moddus® from Syngenta. For information on Manipulator please click the following link.

Information for Moddus® was graciously provided by Syngenta.

Technical features:

Redirects gibberellic acid production, ultimately reducing internode elongation to help reduce the likelihood of lodging

• Helps mitigate the threat of lodging in the face of moderate to high precipitation and fertility, even when elevated nitrogen levels are carried over from a previous crop

• Performs most effectively when applied at BBCH 30 – 32, providing maximum stem strength and strong stem bases

 For use on:

• Winter wheat

• Oats

• Spring wheat

• Barley

Optimal application timing:

BBCH 30 – 32

• The application timing of Moddus fits well with the T1 timing of herbicides and/or fungicides in cereals

To view the full tech sheet please click the link below.

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