The 2022 Wheat Quality Tour took place May 16 - 19, 2022. About 85 people actively scouted hundreds of Kansas wheat fields in 21 groups spread across six routes. The Kansas wheat crop is currently facing many challenges. Consequently, the overall 2022 production estimate for Kansas resulting from the tour was 261 million bushels of wheat, compared to 364 million bushels estimated by the tour in 2021.
White heads have been appearing in many wheat fields around Kansas. Sometimes the white heads are just single tillers scattered throughout part or all of a field, and sometimes they occur in small-to-large patches. Heads might be completely white starting from the stem, or may just have a few spikelets showing the discoloration. There are many causes of white heads. This article reviews some of the most common causes and their diagnosis.
In many areas of Kansas, prolonged drought has resulted in short wheat and thin stands. Harvesting wheat in these situations can be a challenge. Special attention needs to be given to cutting height, machine adjustments, and operator control. In short wheat, getting the heads into the combine with less straw will be a challenge.
Making a herbicide application that will not directly influence crop yield is a difficult decision to make. Such is the case with pre-harvest weed control applications to wheat fields. However, pre-harvest applications may be beneficial, especially in wheat fields with short or thin stands or fields that were not treated earlier in the season. When broadleaf weeds grow rapidly at the end of the growing season, several potential concerns arise such as harvest difficulties, dockage problems, weed seed production, and soil water depletion.
Western corn rootworm resistance to Bt corn continues to be an issue in continuous corn in the United States. Fueled in part by repeated use of the same Bt traits and low refuge compliance during the early phases of adoption, field evolved resistance was first detected in 2009. To date, resistance to every commercially available Bt trait package has been detected in major corn production areas of the country. However, resistance is not uniform across all corn growing regions so be sure to check local conditions when making planting decisions.
There can be considerable environmental variation across the state during the growing season of grain sorghum, with a high probability of drought after flowering when moving toward the west. Tailoring the right management strategy to every site is critical to increase productivity and reduce the impact of abiotic stressors. The most critical planting practices affecting yields in sorghum are: row spacing, row arrangement, seeding rate/plant population, planting date, and hybrid maturity.
The Department of Agronomy and K-State Research and Extension will host several winter wheat variety plot tours in different regions of the state over the coming weeks. Make plans to attend a plot tour near you to see and learn about the newest available and upcoming wheat varieties, their agronomics, and disease reactions.