September 2019 has been pleasantly warmer than usual, and our crops need every bit of that warmth to reach maturity before our first frost arrives. Fortunately, temperatures have cooled slightly this week but just to near average for this time of year.
For most of us, wheat is wheat. However, there is a distinct difference between spring and winter wheat, even though the vegetative characteristics of these two wheat types are very similar.
If the forecast holds true, it looks like it is going to be another year of excessive soil moisture and possible flooding come this spring. The increased level of soil moisture has implications with regards to plant stand establishment as well as root rot and nematode infestations.
Spring green-up is the time to be watching for black grass bug activity. Large populations of this early-season pest can cause severe damage to pasture (up to 90% forage reduction) and infest the edges of wheat fields.
Chloride, the ionic form of chlorine, although not considered an essential nutrient, has long been observed to be highly beneficial to field crops. Chloride is known to play an essential role in plant development and osmoregulation.
Tan spot and powdery mildew pathogens are two residue-borne pathogens that can infect wheat early in the season. These diseases can lead to poor tillering, and their continued development can lead to yield loss.
Although the majority of winter wheat in the state is rated good to excellent in the recent USDA-NASS report, a few winter wheat fields in Central South Dakota have been diagnosed with wheat streak mosaic disease (WSMD) caused by wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV).
Due to current grain prices and other reasons, growers may be considering planting spring wheat into fields that were planted to corn or milo last season. While this type of crop rotation is not generally recommended, economic and logistical challenges sometimes may dictate otherwise.
Current events have made decisions around crop options very difficult this spring. Field peas are an option that may have a fit for some producers.
Spring is a busy time for South Dakota farmers and ranchers with planting, calving, and other field preparations. Soil sampling and fertilizing pastures, alfalfa, or other forages might be overlooked.