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May 2018 – Press Release

For immediate release:

~2018 National Wheat Yield Contest – Winter Wheat Deadline is Approaching

~When is it too Late to Plant Wheat? 

~Pre-Emergence Herbicide Program Good Idea

~2018 South Dakota Pest Management Guides

~South Dakota Wheat Outlook


A special news release for South Dakota media outlets.  Please contact Reid Christopherson at  info@dwheat.org to set up interviews, gather additional quotes and graphics, or pitch a story.

2018 National Wheat Yield Contest – Winter Wheat Deadline is Approaching

The National Wheat Foundation is proud to once again host the National Wheat Yield Contest. In its third year, the contest continues to drive innovation in the industry by spotlighting the best practices among American wheat growers.

This year, the contest is adding a quality requirement, raising the bar for what constitutes the greater grain among U.S. wheat growers.

May 15 is the deadline for winter wheat.

Foundation Board President Phil McLain believes adding a quality component to the contest will encourage growers to share approaches and techniques that help improve quality and maintain yields.

“The wheat yield contest helps improve the overall quality and marketability of U.S. wheat by creating a reason for growers to share successes and learn from one another,” McLain said.

This new quality requirement addresses the market opportunities and needs that will help U.S. wheat growers to maximize profitability as they grow the greater grain and allow the industry to compete with wheat growers around the world.

The 2017 contest had a record-breaking 287 entries from 27 states, and this year’s contest is expected to continue growing the momentum of sharing best practices and techniques throughout the industry.

Click here for more information on contest guidelines, deadlines and prizes.

When is it too Late to Plant Wheat?

By: Jonathan Kleinjan

April of 2018 may go down as one of the coldest on record.  Typically spring fieldwork begins in South Dakota in early April or even March.  This year it will most likely be the first week of May at the earliest in most areas of the state.  Farmers have begun to consider switching acres away from small grains and into later-planted row crops such as corn or soybeans.  One producer asked ‘When do I start losing yield?’  That can be a difficult question to answer definitively, as weather variations are such a large factor in the final yields of spring wheat.

Hard Red Spring wheat is one of the most tolerant crops to cold temperatures and frost events.  Germination and growth will begin when the soil temperature reaches 40°F.  It should be planted as early as possible since cooler weather from emergence to the early reproductive stages generally benefits tiller formation and the development of larger heads.  Increased growth during the early season typically results in higher yields.

For example, a study in North Dakota showed that spring wheat planted on May 1st had six fewer days of growth from emergence to 6-leaf stage when compared to wheat planted on April 15th.  The number of days was further reduced to eleven when planting was delayed until May 15th.  Yield data related to this research suggests that wheat loses 1.5% of its yield potential every day after the optimum planting date.  However, this can vary greatly from season to season.

Optimum planting dates in South Dakota vary according to the location within the state.  The range of dates for optimum planting and latest recommend planting date are listed for nine South Dakota regions in Table 1.

It is recommended to increase seeding rates as planting date is delayed from the optimum date to compensate for the loss in tiller formation.  The recommended minimum seeding rate for a normal planting date is 1.2 million pure live seeds per acre, although no-till producers may want to plant more.  Seeding rates should be increased by 1% per day for each day planting is delayed.  For example, if the optimum planting date is considered to be April 15th, and planting does not occur until May 10th, the seeding rate should be increased by 25% (1.2 million seeds/acre x 1.25 = 1.5 million seeds/acre).  SDSU does not recommend planting more than 1.8 million seeds/acre.

If conditions are right, late planted crops can still produce strong yields.  In 2015, the South Dakota State University spring wheat variety trial plots were planted on April 13th in Volga, SD and May 1st in Selby, SD.  The average yield in Volga was 57 bu/acre and the average yield in Selby was 71 bu/acre.

The wild card in this situation is the weather in June and July.  Wheat is highly susceptible to heat during pollination and grain fill.  Prolonged exposure to daytime temperatures above 85-90°F and especially nighttime temperatures above 70-72°F during these growth stages can drastically reduce yields, especially if soil moisture levels are low.  At present, the National Weather Service is calling for equal chances of above or below normal temperatures in the May-July timeframe.  Decisions on weather risk are ultimately up to each individual producer.

Pre-Emergence Herbicide Program Good Idea

By Paul O. Johnson, SDSU Extension Weed Science Coordinator

It is always good to start with a pre-emergence program to help prevent weeds from becoming resistant. Usually this is a different chemistry than what would be used post-emergence. It also will buy time before doing a post treatment if the pre-emergence is activated. With the wet cool spring in a lot of cases some weeds may now have germinated before the pre-emergence product is applied after planting.

Most pre-emergent products need about ½ to ¾ inch of moisture to be activated once they are applied and when this happens the product is now ready to kill the weeds. So if weeds germinated before the pre-emergent were activated there may be some weeds that will continue to grow and will need a post-emergent treatment to control before the weeds get too large.

Some pre-emergence products do have the ability to kill some small emerged weeds. Atrazine is the one with the largest window to control emerged weeds. To insure the product being used does have kick back control check the label. If not, consider putting a burn-down with the pre-emergent to take out emerged weeds, or consider doing one more tillage pass before planting. But remember, once the product has been activated it will start to control germinating weeds and should work as normal from then on. In most cases no chemical is lost waiting for activation.

In all cases read the label for more information on how your product works. Do not add more of the same product to the field unless it is recommended as this may cause injury to the crop. Even if the field had some temporary flooding the product is usually still there.

Read more from SDSU’s Agronomy Experts:

2018 South Dakota Pest Management Guides

The South Dakota 2018 Pest Management Guides are now available for free. The guides offer recommendations for controlling weeds, insects, and diseases in a variety of South Dakota crops.

The updated guides include several new products that have new names and corresponding changes made to the labels, such as: rates for the chemicals, rotation restrictions, additive rates and products. The prices for the products, however, are similar to last year.

The South Dakota 2018 Pest Management Guides are now available for free. The guides offer recommendations for controlling weeds, insects, and diseases in a variety of South Dakota crops.

The updated guides include several new products that have new names and corresponding changes made to the labels, such as: rates for the chemicals, rotation restrictions, additive rates and products. The prices for the products, however, are similar to last year.

Click here to download the 2018 South Dakota Wheat Pest Management Guide

South Dakota Wheat Outlook

It may have been a slow start, but 2 percent of South Dakota’s spring wheat is planted! Over 80 percent of winter wheat is rated fair to good.

South Dakota Wheat Outlook