Verify Wheat Growth Stage Before Applying Growth Regulator Herbicides

Poor wheat stands caused by late planting, decreased tillering, and winterkill have many growers contemplating herbicides in 2009. Make sure you properly growth stage your wheat before applying dicamba or 2,4-D. The mid September and early October planted wheat crop is at or nearing the Feekes 4-5 or Zadoks 30 growth stage (pseudostem erection or hollow stem) (Image 1.). After this stage and when wheat has a visible joint (Feekes 6), wheat can be very sensitive to dicamba and 2,4-D herbicides. Last year we had several reports of 80 bushel wheat dropping to 20 bushel wheat when dicamba was applied at Feekes 6. After jointing there are several other herbicides that can be safely used. Please refer to Pest Management in WI Field Crops Bulletin A3646 for these options.

Image 1. Feekes 4-5 or Zadoks 30 growth stage in wheat

Chris Boerboom

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