Overcoming the hurdles at every stage of wheat growth
Seedling and leaf diseases, weather stress and growth efficiency are just a few hurdles wheat growers face that can have direct impact on your crop. So as growers are looking to develop their wheat production goals, they are taking a critical eye to their plant’s development at every stage of growth.
Here are some useful tips, inputs and management practices that can make all the difference at certain stages of plant development and some insights on properly timed applications of nitrogen, fertilizer, fungicides and herbicides.
It starts with the seed: 65 percent of wheat yield is determined at planting. Choosing a quality seed with strong germination, stand establishment and vigor will help get your wheat plant off to a great start. Additionally, the use of fungicide seed treatments with expertise from a proven wheat fungicide company such as BASF can help provide more consistent and improved emergence, enhanced seedling vigor above and below ground, and a heightened ability to manage exposure to cold conditions and control disease. Beginning with this initial security, growers can simplify future crop management decisions.
At tillering, think weed control. Tillering is when the number of wheat heads is determined on the plant. This is when weed control is most important. Weed competition from Feekes 3.0 and beyond can significantly limit yield potential. Weeds compete with the wheat plant for light, nutrients and water. An infestation can reduce your yield by nearly 70 percent and weed seed or plant parts can mean dockage at the elevator.
Jointing is a crucial time for wheat’s development, and applying the right fungicide can set up the rest of the season for success. The crop is working hard during jointing as the head moves up through the stem and the maximum number of kernels per head is determined. The more kernels per head, the higher the yield potential. Outside stressors like disease or adverse weather can sap valuable resources in the wheat. Reducing those stressors is critical to maximize yields. Application of a fungicide at this time delivers disease control and manages plant stress, leading to better growth efficiency. Additionally, because the plant requires high use of nitrogen at this time, a fertilizer application should also be considered.
Flag leaf stage
Attention to the flag leaf stage can make all the difference in your yields. Protecting wheat from disease is important all season long, but keeping wheat healthy at flag leaf is particularly critical for producing healthy yields. The final leaf to emerge produces most (60 to 70 percent) of the sugars and starches the plant uses for grain fill by absorbing solar energy. To do that efficiently, the leaf needs to be healthy and green. But because the leaf is located high on the plant, it is more exposed to diseases and harsh weather. That’s why preventative fungicide applications are critical. The plant health qualities of Nexicor™ Xemium® brand fungicide can help promote nitrogen assimilation, increased photosynthesis and stress tolerance. These attributes can result in healthier leaves and stems, plus a cleaner flag leaf may help boost yields and grain quality.
Another trip through the field with the sprayer at flag leaf can provide a significant return on investment. The top two leaves — the flag leaf and penultimate leaf — on a wheat plant can contribute more than half the plant’s yield. If they are damaged, those yields can take a sizeable hit.
While you will face many challenges to your wheat, making smart decisions such as planned seed treatments and fungicide applications at key growth stages can help you to meet your goals and maximize your wheat yield potential through disease protection, stress tolerance and growth efficiency.
To learn more, talk with your BASF representative, or visit GrowSmartWheat.com.
Always read and follow label directions.
Nexicor is a trademark and Xemium is a registered trademark of BASF. © 2019 BASF Corporation. All rights reserved.
About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 20,000 employees in North America and had sales of around $20 billion in 2018. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit www.basf.com. At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com.