Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WSMB Offers Free Soybean Cyst Nematode Testing

The UW-Madison Agronomy Department, in cooperation with the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board, is again offering free soybean cyst nematode (SCN) soil testing for Wisconsin growers. This program is intended for growers to sample several of their fields in order to identify if SCN is present and at what levels. Growers will be responsible for collecting soil from fields suspected to have SCN and then sending the sample to the SCN testing laboratory for analysis. They will receive a lab report back with the SCN egg count and a brochure to help plan future rotations and other cultural practices to lower SCN infestation if they exist.

We have a limited number of these free kits available and will furnish them on a first come - first served basis at up to four per farm. Crop consultants, advisors, and crop input retailers are encouraged to request kits for their client’s farms. Each kit has a bag and a prepaid mailer for one soil sample, which should represent about 10-15 acres. Both the postage and lab fees are prepaid ($50 value). Anytime before, during, or right after the growing season are great times to collect soil samples for routine soil fertility analysis and for SCN monitoring.

Soil sample test kits are available now and can be requested from Amy Cottom at agcottom@wisc.edu or at 608-262-1390.

For more information on SCN testing and management practices to help reduce the losses from this pest, please contact: Shawn Conley: spconley@wisc.edu; 608-262-7975

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Early Spring Management of Late Planted Winter Wheat

Late soybean and field corn harvest caused a significant drop in WI winter wheat acres in 2010. Many growers, including myself, still decided to move forward with late winter wheat plantings. To answer late-planted wheat questions we published the following article on November 23rd 2009.

Late Planted Winter Wheat: Growing Slowly But Surely

As with many growers we had a difficult time getting all of our winter wheat planted in the "Optimal" planting date window in 2009. A significant number of winter wheat acres across Wisconsin were planted under the full knowledge of reduced crop insurance coverage as well as reduced yield. Given that the 10-day weather outlook calls for reduced temperatures as well as potential flurries I was interested in the "state" of our November 13th planted winter wheat in Janesville WI. In Image 1. we see that the radicle, seminal roots, and coleoptile have all emerged. In wheat the radicle and seminal roots will be the first structures to appear. Only after the seminal roots and radicle begin to imbibe water will the coleoptile begin to elongate.
Image 1. Wheat development 10 days after planting (November 13th planting date).
For those winter wheat acres that were planted in the last few days remember that winter wheat will vernalize once the radicle emerges from the seed as fall growth will continue as temperatures fall to zero. Literature referenced: R.J. Cook and R.J. V

Today (3/18/10) I revisited our Janesville winter wheat site that was planted on Friday November 13th 2009. The wheat crop has emerged relatively uniformly and appears to have made it through the winter with very little crop loss (Image 2).

At this juncture the most critical decision facing growers is "Do I invest money into this crop?" Though I have no data that directly mimics this years situation we can use our 2009 planting date study as a starting point. In Figure 1 below we see that our late planted wheat (planted Oct 17th) suffered a 28% yield loss when compared to our early planted wheat (planted Sept 18th). Though our 2010 crop was planted 27 days later than the 2009 data what we can guesstimate is that your late planted wheat will likely yield at least 28% less than normal production levels. So your decision is "Can I still make money off of a wheat crop that is expected to yield ~30% less than normal production levels." If the answer to that question is yes than it is critical to get across that wheat as quickly as possible with an early N application to stimulate tiller formation. It will also be important to scout early and often as weeds will likely be a greater issue in 2010 than in "normal" years.