(Note: The following article is a slightly edited transcript of a short K-State Research and Extension YouTube video produced by Dan Donnert, KSRE videographer. The link to this video is: https://youtu.be/pT6TICf-3NE – Steve Watson, Agronomy eUpdate Editor)
One of the main driving factors behind the high wheat yields we had in Kansas in 2016 is that the temperatures were normal to slightly below normal during grain fill, from May to about mid-June. Most of May we had below-normal temperatures. In addition, we had more than enough precipitation. So this year we had more than 40 days of good grain fill conditions, which is rare in Kansas. Generally if we get 28 or 32 days of good grain fill conditions, we are really happy with it.
However, that cool, moist weather led to high disease pressure, especially stripe rust. Stripe rust is management. That’s where we saw a lot of difference this year. Producers seemed to be very proactive in controlling stripe rust. Research in Kansas has shown that, depending on environmental conditions and variety susceptibility, fungicides pay off in many cases. But again, if you’re planting a variety that is resistant to stripe rust and the environment is not conducive to the disease, it may not pay to treat it with a fungicide.
Being ready to apply a fungicide if needed is important for wheat producers in Kansas. But I wouldn’t recommend just spraying without scouting.
It’s time now for producers to start planning for what varieties they’ll plant this fall. Variety selection is a very important tool in successful wheat production. In selecting varieties, consider not only disease resistance but also agronomic performance.
Romulo Lollato, Wheat and Forages Specialist