How is the wheat crop doing?

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Yesterday, we met with Greg Anthis, our local agronomic adviser, and Landon Taylor, a regional Nutrien agronomist, to check our wheat crop.  We have been working closely with these guys since we made our choice of wheat seed to plant.  They have been very involved in our plan to intensify our management of our wheat crop in order to improve the yield.  So, this visit was just one of the periodic evaluations to assist in our decision-making.  At the meeting previous to this one, we evaluated the “stand” and planned for the first application of nitrogen.  That N was applied on January 22.

Friday’s agenda was to assess the “tillering” and to consider the 2nd N application as well as the herbicide treatment.   We will also be experimenting in some fields with various biologicals and micronutrients.  Eventually, the wheat will receive a growth regulator to shorten the stalks and a fungicide treatment.  John has developed a plan with the aide of these two agronomists for the various trials. We discussed what the rest of the growing season might look like, and the sequence and timing of the practices that will need to be performed.

Another comparison we are making with this wheat crop is the planting method.  We used a no-till drill to plant about 20% of the acres, and the rest was broadcast with the fertilizer and disked in.  We have been using the broadcast method for many years, but we need to determine if that continues to be acceptable.  On today’s visit, the drilled wheat was a tiny bit less robust in appearance than the broadcast wheat, but harvest time will give the best information.

Landon digs up a clump of plants.  It is important to evaluate the root development.

Landon will shake the soil from the roots. He said the plants are very healthy, and they are responding as hoped to the January 22nd nitrogen application.

We discovered, as expected, that the winter annual weeds had emerged and were growing.  Th timing of the herbicide application will be determined by the growing conditions.  Could be in late March, or in April.  The agronomists’ advice will help make that call.

Below, Greg gives a good summary of the evaluation.

This was an informative and productive consultation.  The evaluation of the progress was very positive.  One of the factors for such a good report was the snow cover we received that protected the crop from the near-zero temperatures.   We are grateful for how our Maker provided that beautiful snow blanket.

We arranged for this team of advisers to come together again on-site for further refinements to the plans at the end of March or early April.

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