By Bob Fanning SDSU Extension Plant Pathology Field Specialist, SDSU Regional Extension Center, Winner

Wheat Walks were held near Corsica, Harrold, Draper and Hayes, S.D., on May 28 and 29. The weather was good, maybe too good, as farmers in each location were busy and attendance was light. Producers, agronomists and creditors who did attend were very interested in the information provided and appreciated the events.

The agronomic issues highlighted included evaluating a wheat stand, properly determining growth stage, crop performance testing results, and encouragement to attend one of the upcoming winter and spring wheat variety plot tours. Some of the winter wheat fields that had not been abandoned were found to be a bit thin, but many had good stands with promising yield potential. Winter wheat was mostly well jointed, with many plants in the boot stage. Some late-planted winter wheat was actually behind early-planted spring wheat, which is not uncommon. Early planted spring wheat is also coming on fast, much of it not far from jointing.

The plant pathology lesson centered on identifying wheat diseases and their life cycle, knowing cultural means of managing them and using IPM strategies to determine when fungicide intervention becomes justified. With the limited precipitation received in the period of time prior to the wheat walks, fungal disease pressure was limited. Some level of wheat streak mosaic virus was found in every location, but mostly as such low levels that it would not cause noticeable yield reduction. Emmanuel Byamukama, SDSU Extension Plant Pathologist, did note that leaf rust has been reported in south-central Nebraska, so wet weather and southerly winds could result in rust development here in South Dakota.

Soil fertility information consisted of nutrient deficiency symptoms, effects of timing on nitrogen applications, research on ESN (Environmentally Sensitive Nitrogen) and the effects of seed placed nitrogen as both urea and ESN. Ron Gelderman, recently retired Extension Soils Specialist was credited for his work on the “Fertilizer Seed Decision Aid” tool, which can be found at:

The future emphasis of the SDSU W.E.E.D. project will continue to be evaluating herbicides used in new ways, with increased research on managing herbicide resistant weeds, which are becoming more common each year.

Reid Christopherson, S.D. Wheat Commission and Caren Assman, S.D. Wheat Inc. were in attendance and relayed the mission of their organizations.

The Wheat Walk concept will be evaluated to see if the events will be continued, but meeting with producers face-to-face, in the field is highly valued as a way of sharing information. The 2014 Wheat Walks were sponsored by the S.D. Wheat Commission, Farmers Alliance Coop of Corsica, Statewide Ag Insurance, CPS/Hi Plains Agronomy