Given the widespread wet conditions present this spring, there are many areas in winter wheat fields with both ponding and saturated (or waterlogged) soils. Producers may want to consider soil conditions and evaluate extended weather forecasts when deciding whether or not to retain a winter wheat this spring.
All Wheat Content
It’s time to begin scouting pasture and wheat for the presence of black grass bugs. Last year, we saw the highest populations in areas of Central and Southwestern South Dakota. If left untreated, black grass bug populations tend to increase year after year.
During the spring, there are a lot of insects to scout for in alfalfa. One pest group that should be focused on right now are cutworms. There are a couple of cutworm species that are active earlier in the season than others.
Nitrogen (N) additives to control N losses through volatilization, denitrification, and leaching are widely used in the Midwest. Slowing the conversion of nitrogen fertilizers to nitrate may lessen leaching and denitrification losses if precipitation or soil becomes saturated.
Every winter, growers are curious if their wheat field will survive the winter. Not enough snow cover during the coldest days, spring flooding, and ice injury are the main reasons for plants to die. The only way to get a true assessment of winter survival is to scout the field in the spring.
Crop insurance late plant dates are fast approaching for planting small grains in South Dakota. Late plant dates for corn, soybean, and sunflower are nearing as well. Producers will want to work with their crop insurance agent to explore planting options and reporting of prevent plant areas.
The spring of 2019 has been cold and wet in many areas of South Dakota, similar to the spring of 2018. In 2018, despite the challenging weather, spring wheat acres were up 8% from 2017. However, planted acres in 2019 may be reduced as the extended weather forecast shows unfavorable planting conditions extending well into May.
The USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service conducts an annual survey to monitor grasshopper populations in Western South Dakota. In 2018, SDSU conducted a survey to monitor populations in Eastern South Dakota. These previous-year surveys can be used as a prediction tool for where grasshoppers may be an issue during the upcoming season.
Significant education efforts for natural resource conservation have occurred in South Dakota during the last five years. Many stakeholder groups have brought awareness for soil health and water quality to the forefront.
April 22, 2019
As the outdoor temperature rises this spring, stored grains are warming as well. Due to a difficult and wet harvest last fall, many producers in the region chose to store grains much wetter than typical. As a result, special care needs to be taken for these grains as the air temperature rises this spring, explained Sara Bauder, SDSU Extension Agronomy Field Specialist.