Listens to this weeks extension corner:
This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist with Nebraska Extension for Dodge and Washington counties. While many of you are thinking about harvest, there are a few farmers in the area thinking about planting. Since I moved back home to serve as the local Nebraska Cropping Systems Extension Educator, I have had a handful of local growers that have needed information and resources to grow and improve winter wheat yield and quality. The great thing is that I have had the opportunity to work with winter wheat in Kansas and South Dakota with previous jobs. For that reason, I love getting to work with our local farmers on adding winter wheat to some of their acres and helping them improve wheat yield and quality. However, because winter wheat is a minor crop grown in the area on just a few hundred acres, local agronomic research and resources have been limited. For that reason, I have put together a local growing guide for winter wheat after soybeans to help area farmers. This guide can be found at croptechcafe.org, which is my local-focused agronomy website.
Other farmers have asked me, “Why does so-and-so grow winter wheat?” First, the local cash price for winter wheat in Fremont at Scoular and ADM is better than most areas. I often was asked by South Dakota farmers where I was from, I would say Fremont assuming they wouldn’t recognize the smaller town of Hooper. The South Dakota farmers would say, “I have hauled wheat to Fremont!” My response initially was “Why?” They would say, “They have a good cash price on winter wheat in Fremont, enough to justify hauling there.”
So the answer the why grow winter wheat question, here is some quick agronomic facts about winter wheat:
- Adding winter wheat into the corn-soybean rotation helps improve soil health
- Wheat can help fight weeds like winter annuals and even waterhemp and palmer amaranth
- Wheat can break some disease and insect cycles that can be challenging in corn-soybean rotations
- After wheat harvest in July you have a place to haul manure or plant a cover crop for grazing
- Wheat straw can be baled and sold for other uses.
- And USDA programs have incentive funds available for planting winter wheat
The University of Nebraska conducts winter wheat variety trials across the state each year. Averaged across the last three years, the varieties Wolf, Freeman, Cedar, have been the top yielding varieties in Saunders County. To help farmers here even more, we are adding another variety trial location in Washington County this fall for the first time. This variety trial data will help area farmers select varieties more adapted to our local growing conditions
To get more information on winter wheat and view the local winter wheat growing guide, please visit our locally-focused website at croptechcafe.org or give me a call at 727-2775. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line. This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension on KTIC radio.