Early Assessment of Wheat Stands Suggest We are Off to a Great Start

A visual survey of our Arlington, Janesville, and Lancaster winter wheat variety trials suggest that green-up of the 2011 winter wheat crop is occurring 5-7 days later than last year. We were unable to accurately assess our Chilton site last week due to delayed crop development. Our green-up assessment at the southern locations suggest very little winter-kill occurred (Image 1). Given the calendar and the inclement spring weather-to-date growers and retailers are anxious to apply nitrogen. It is important to remember that the functional purpose of spring N is to 1. stimulate tillering and 2. provide crop nutrition. If ample tillering (> 70 tillers per square foot) has occurred growers can delay N applications up to pre-joint (Feekes 4-5; Zadoks 30). This practice will aid in minimizing early spring N loss. Applications of N made after this growth stage may lead to wheel track damage. If growers have < 70 tillers per square foot it is important to get across those fields as soon as possible to minimize yield loss due to low tiller/head counts.

(Lancaster variety trial – T. Wood)

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