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Checking for first hollow stem

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David Marburger

David Marburger

Since April 2016, I have served as the Small Grains Extension Specialist at Oklahoma State University. My research and extension efforts focus on delivering science-based recommendations in order to increase small grains production and profitability for stakeholders throughout Oklahoma and the southern Great Plains.

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First hollow stem occurs just prior to jointing and is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture. First hollow stem usually occurs in mid to late February in southern Oklahoma and early March in northern Oklahoma. Grazing past first hollow stem can reduce wheat grain yield by as much as 5% per day and the added cattle gains are not enough to offset the value of the reduced wheat yield.

Similar to previous years, we will monitor occurrence of first hollow stem in our wheat plots at Stillwater and report the findings on this blog. There is also a new first hollow stem advisor available on the Oklahoma Mesonet that can assist in determining when to start scouting.

Checking for first hollow stem is fairly easy.

  • You must check first hollow stem in a nongrazed area of the same variety and planting date. Variety can affect date of first hollow stem by as much as three weeks and planting date can affect it even more.
  • Dig or pull up a few plants and split the largest tiller longitudinally (lengthways) and measure the amount of hollow stem present below the developing grain head. You must dig plants because at this stage the developing grain head may still be below the soil surface.
  • If there is 1.5 cm of hollow stem present (see picture below), it is time to remove cattle. 1.5 cm is about the same as the diameter of a dime.
  • Detailed information on first hollow stem can be found at www.wheat.okstate.edu under ‘wheat management’ then ‘grazing’
  • Image
The plant on the left is past first hollow stem and is jointing. The plant on the right is at first hollow stem

The plant on the left is past first hollow stem and is jointing. The plant on the right is at first hollow stem


9 Comments

  1. C and T says:

    So when you say hollow stem you mean nothing inside there,no yellow shoot going up inside of it correct? Thank you.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    • osuwheat says:

      I would concentrate more on the distance from the growing point (developing wheat head) to the crown. This is usually hollow, but can sometimes have a pithy material in it (as in the picture used in the blog). I will post another picture that provides a little more detail.

  2. […] hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). To monitor first hollow stem, we measure hollow stem for the 56 lines in our September-sown wheat […]

  3. […] hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). To monitor first hollow stem, we measure hollow stem for the 56 lines in our September-sown wheat […]

  4. […] hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). To monitor first hollow stem, we measure hollow stem for the 56 lines in our September-sown wheat […]

  5. […] hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). To monitor first hollow stem, we measure hollow stem for the 56 lines in our September-sown wheat […]

  6. […] hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). To monitor first hollow stem, we measure hollow stem for the 56 lines in our September-sown wheat […]

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