Wheat Crop Checkup

January 27, 2011 04:26 AM

What’s the latest word on wheat crop conditions in your area? Many farmers saw an extremely dry fall and are now experiencing a snow-covered winter, according to many crop reports on
AgWeb.com’s Virtual Wheat Tour.

"It’s dry out here in western Kansas as well as the rest of the Central and Southern plains," says a Lane County, Kan., farmer. "I’d say 80% of our wheat is fair to poor."

In north-central Illinois, a farmer reports that winter came with a vengeance, as his area was hit with 8" of snow in early December. "In my mind, it was a perfect snow. The ground was not frozen, and the snow was a perfect insulation blanket on the wheat."

What about you? How does your wheat stack up? To view more wheat updates and submit your own comments, visit www.VirtualWheatTour.com.

Mike Miller, Wilbur, Wash.

"Our winter wheat has been under a good blanket of snow since Thanksgiving. A lot of the wheat was sprayed for cheatgrass in late fall. The profile is full of moisture, but, like always, we need good May to June rains to make the crop. I think it’s a textbook winter here in the Inland Northwest."

Kyle Grimsrud, Lewistown, Mont.

"Winter has struck central Montana with a vengeance—a lot of snow and more wind. Winter wheat fields have been protected for the most part. No-till ground is holding snow better than the tilled ground. A lot of late seeding this past fall will make for some winterkill prospects, but I would guess that we are all right so far. It seems like our chances of winterkill are a lot better in February, so it is a wait-and-see game for now. A lot of farmers are having trouble delivering wheat, as the bins and roads are blown in every other day. I’m thinking we are one more big snowstorm away from being shut down for quite a while. I would guess that the wheat acreage in Montana will be up this year because of the price. We don’t have a lot of other crop options, so I look for more wheat to be planted."

Paul Berntson, Adams, N.D.

"In the past few years, our wheat yields have increased from the 35 bu. to 50 bu. per acre range up to where we often talk about 60 bu. to 80 bu. per acre. Many farmers are applying inputs to make these yields standard. The high-protein wheat varieties are about sold out. My guess is that wheat, corn, soybean and canola acres will be up in the northeast quarter of North Dakota, with a reduction in barley, flax, sunflower and edible beans. Much of eastern North Dakota froze with spring flooding in the Red River Valley and having fields dry out for seeding are on everyone’s mind. Many did not get on as much fall-applied fertilizer as hoped, so spring will be busy."

John Halcomb, Adairville, Ky.

"Winter wheat in our area is looking good. It was planted in dry soil but got the necessary moisture for a near-perfect stand. No disease or insects, due to early cool weather. Our 100% no-till will reduce erosion from the less-than-normal ground cover."

Dan Anderson Haxtun, Colo.

"The wheat here is in need of some water. The planting conditions in the fall were not great and the stands are quite variable. Some fields look good, but overall most would rank in the fair to poor categories. Stands in most fields are spotty with large bare spots. Most of the wheat that has come up is small and could use a good snow cover to carry it through winter. Everyone says that wheat has nine lives, and unfortunately I think we may have gone through several of those already. Spring will have to be good to everyone."

Ed Winkle Blanchester, Ohio

"Thank goodness our wheat is under snow. The plants are quite tender and we have been down near zero with some winds, too. I never saw wheat planted so dry. The soil was like sand. We got a little shower and some of it came up then we got an inch, our first since July and it pretty much all came up. I have one-fifth the acres I had last year due to rotation, market and land leases. What I have looks good. I have near my goal of 2 million plants per acre. I am thinking of getting a shot of dry urea and ammonium sulfate on between snows and thaws before greenup. Wanted to do that last year but never got it done and I think it cost me bushels. I got Sabrex trichaderma on all my seed and it really help germination compared to the strips I left it out. I tried to get 2 lbs of radish on with my seed because it has made me 12 extra bushels three times and got as much growth as I ever have I think, not sure. It competed with the weeds and all I had was wheat and radish. This is a brand new concept I fell on accidentally when someone didn’t clean the radish seed out of the drill before wheat planting but it has worked 3 times. I think it will work again. I will be pressed to beat the test weight I had this year of 61 lbs across 500 acres. I can still kill it and go to corn or beans but it looks like a go so I can double crop soybeans by July, God Willing."

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