Next Steps

The wheat is moving along, what are the next management steps?

The nice stretch of weather during the week of April 10th was very busy. A large portion of the wheat acres received a nitrogen application. Some put on the full application while others put their first split application on. There was some herbicide sprayed during this timeframe but not much. Despite the weather turning cold and backwards following April 16 the wheat is still advancing.

A quick overview what stage the crop is at:

Southern Ontario- September planted wheat will be Z31-Z32 this week.

In the Niagara region – early October wheat is at Z31.

Renfrew County – The wheat is at the green up stage.

The ten-day forecast shows more April Showers and cooler temps. Not ideal to get spraying done in the near term. The wheat will keep advancing however the growth rates will be slowed down. Depending on planting date, a wheat plant needs 80-120 growing degree days per growth stage. Early wheat requires more GDD while later planted wheat requires less. It may feel like we are getting behind because it is almost May, but the crop is on track.

The primary suggestion is “Rule of Three” for crop safety when applying crop protection products.  Above 3 C for three days. Day before, day applied, day after. Some products can be used in cooler temps, investigate the safety with your chem supplier. If you applied liquid fertilizer, be sure to flush the whole system with water before going to crop protection sprays. Flush Tender tanks and hoses also. Don’t forget proper surfactants and large water volumes. If you have plans for PGR and fungicide and multi-mode herbicide and maybe a foliar, I would suggest separating if sprayer capacity can accomplish.  These heavy mixes can give the wheat a pretty good headache, and cool conditions will compound that issue.

Look through your list of products that need to be applied to the crop and prioritize passes. For example, if you still have a second application of nitrogen to apply and you also had plans for a PGR, herbicide and fungicide, look at what is most important to the crop now. The nitrogen and sulphur applied the week of April 10th is doing a great job and the wheat is not starving for its second application yet. There is little to no disease in the crop at this time. Perennial and winter annual weeds have been actively growing for a number of weeks and PGRs have the greatest efficacy at Z31-32.

Priority in this example would be the herbicide and PGR, then nitrogen and save the fungicide for a T1.5 or T2 application depending on disease pressure.

If you have zero nitrogen applied, this pass becomes priority. You can get away with cooler nighttime temperatures with nitrogen applications compared to crop protection products.

In general, the wheat crop across the province looks excellent. Winter survival was excellent, and some fields have very high stem counts, so lodging is a big concern. Very little disease has been observed to date.  

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