Just a month after double-digit below zero temperatures, Nebraska hit an extended period of above normal temperatures, coaxing weed seeds to germinate early in many fields and pastures and creating the need to tackle the influx early.
While the mild fall promoted wheat establishment, it also favored survival of wheat curl mites, the leading vector of several viruses common to Nebraska wheat. While much of the state's wheat crop entered winter in very good condition, growers are urged to scout for viruses this spring and assess yield potential of individual fields when making management decisions.
Environmental conditions, management, and genetic differences played a role in why protein content in the 2016 wheat crop was lower than normal. Wheat protein develops as the plant converts nitrogen from the soil into amino acids. See what conditions led to low protein this season and how to address it for next year's crop.
Wheat is an important part of many crop rotations, adding value directly and often indirectly by aiding in soil water management and weed suppression, reducing erosion, and helping manage pest cycles. Consider wheat's value to your crop production system by looking at what it contributes over multiple years of the rotation.
Weed management is a long-term battle that needs to continue even in tight margin years.Although herbicide costs may seem prohibitive, it’s important to consider the long-term implications of limiting or eliminating the use of herbicides in crop production systems.Weeds left unmanaged after wheat harvest use valuable nutrients and water needed for the following year’s crop while producing seeds to replenish the soil seed bank.
By far, the greatest risk of losses from mite-vectored viruses occurs when there is a summer "green bridge" of volunteer wheat emerging before harvest. This almost always occurs as a result of wheat seed head shatter from hail storms (Figure 1).