Don’t be in a hurry to plant wheat and don’t add a lot of nitrogen fertilizer just because you always do.
“Don’t plant in Northeast Texas until after October 15 but before Thanksgiving,” says Texas AgriLife Extension agronomist Curtis Jones, who works out of the Texas A&M-Commerce campus, where he also teaches.
Extension IPM agent Jim Swart recommends delaying planting until October 25 to reduce potential of Hessian fly infestations.
The Northeast corner of Texas plants “very little dual purpose wheat and Jones recommends that farmers who want to plant a winter forage should consider oats instead of wheat, “to get away from Hessian fly.”
Two available wheat varieties, Duster and Coronado, have resistance to Hessian fly but are not well adapted to the area. “We don’t have a good resistance option,” Swart said. “We don’t always know what race of fly we’ll have.”
He said TAMsoft 700 has some resistance but is an awnless, early wheat. “We need a late Hessian fly resistant variety.”
Fertility of the 2010/11 wheat crop may “depend on the previous crop,” Jones said. “Some farmers fertilized corn pretty heavy and didn’t get a lot of growth. A lot of that nitrogen is still around.”
He said soil sampling makes sense this fall. “Just see what’s available at 6 inches deep,” he said. “A $10 sample fee provides a lot of useful information.”
He said a 10-34-0 analysis should be adequate at planting and likely will be adequate until growers are ready to topdress. “Keep an eye on it. If no deficiency shows up don’t add anything else early.
“Watch the weather,” he said. “Get the wheat up and growing and if it doesn’t get rain the early application may be all you need until spring.”
Jones said research last year, which will be repeated this fall, showed that 60 to 90 pounds of nitrogen per acre was the most profitable rate. “That was using a consistent price of $4 a bushel. It’s better than that now.”
Northeast Texas wheat farmers use few seed treatments, Swart said. “We’ve just not seen a consistent advantage. Tillering compensates for damage.”
“It’s a different situation with corn,” Jones said. “Farmers will not plant corn without a seed treatment.’
“If farmers typically have to spray wheat for greenbugs,” Swart said,” they might consider adding a seed treatment.”