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First hollow stem update 02/23/2016

First hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). We measure first hollow in our September-sown wheat forage plots at Stillwater each year, and normally have approximately 50% of varieties at or past first hollow stem by March 1st. I have posted first hollow stem measurements from these plots in a table at the end of this blog. As of Monday the varieties, Billings, Gallagher, Iba, Bentley, NF101, WB-Cedar, WB4458, Winterhawk, WB4515, WB4721, WB4303, SY Flint, Sy Llano, SY Drifter, SY Razor, SY Grit, Everest, and Zenda were all at or past first hollow stem at Stillwater. Please note that WB4515 was incorrectly labeled as WB4455 in the past couple of posts. Also note that experimental line OK0728W has been released as Stardust hard white winter wheat. We will take another set of measurements at the end of this week and report the results on this blog.

Keep in mind that the numbers reported from Stillwater are likely behind those being observed in southern Oklahoma and ahead of those observed in northern Oklahoma. The First Hollow Stem Advisor on the Oklahoma Mesonet can provide an indication of where varieties are regarding first hollow stem in your area.

First hollow stem measured in wheat sown 09/15/2015 at Stillwater, OK.
Variety cm of hollow stem 02/22/2016
Endurance 0.8
OK Rising 1.3
Billings 2.1
Ruby Lee 1.2
Duster 1.1
Gallagher 2.0
Iba 1.9
Bentley 1.8
Doublestop CL Plus 1.2
NF 101 2.5
WB-Cedar 1.5
WB4458 1.9
WB-Grainfield 1.3
Winterhawk 1.5
WB4515 1.6
WB4721 1.5
WB4303 2.1
SY Monument 0.8
SY Flint 1.5
SY Llano 2.8
SY Drifter 1.5
SY Wolf 1.0
SY Razor 2.9
SY Grit 1.7
Everest 1.5
1863 2.1
KanMark 1.4
Oakley CL 1.0
Larry 0.7
Zenda 1.6
Tatanka 0.9
Joe 0.7
LCS Pistol 0.8
LCS Wizard 1.2
LCS Mint 0.8
LCS Chrome 0.8
T158 0.8
Long Branch 1.0
TAM 112 0.9
TAM 204 1.2
TAM 114 0.7
AG Robust 1.0
Byrd 0.6
Brawl CL Plus 0.6
Avery 0.5
OK1059060-3 1.3
OK10126 0.6
OK11D25056 0.6
OK12621 0.7
Stardust 0.7
OK12716R/W 0.5
OK11231 0.6
OK09915C-1 0.5
OK12912C 0.9
OK12DP22002-042 0.9
OK118036R/W 2.0
Average 1.2

 

 

First hollow stem update 02/19/2016

First hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). We measure first hollow in our September-sown wheat forage plots at Stillwater each year, and normally have approximately 50% of varieties at or past first hollow stem by March 1st. I have posted first hollow stem measurements from these plots in a table at the end of this blog. No varieties are currently at first hollow stem at Stillwater, but given the warm conditions and the estimates from the first hollow stem advisor on the Mesonet, I anticipate we will have some varieties past first hollow stem by next week. Note that while no varieties are currently at first hollow stem, the overall average first hollow stem measurement increased as compared to 02/16/15.  Dillon Butchee reported early sown Gallagher in the Altus area was at first hollow stem.

Keep in mind that the numbers reported from Stillwater are likely behind those being observed in southern Oklahoma and ahead of those observed in northern Oklahoma. The First Hollow Stem Advisor on the Oklahoma Mesonet indicates that  early varieties in southern Oklahoma are likely past first hollow stem and that early varieties in central Oklahoma will reach this point within a week. Jim Johnson with the Noble Foundation reported that the estimates on the first hollow stem advisor were matching closely with his observations in the field around the Ardmore area. My advice is to start looking for a home for cattle on wheat pasture.

 

 

First hollow stem measured in wheat sown 09/15/2015 at Stillwater, OK.
Variety cm of hollow stem 02/19/16
Endurance 0.6
OK Rising 0.5
Billings 1.3
Ruby Lee 1.2
Duster 1.1
Gallagher 1.4
Iba 1.1
Bentley 0.7
Doublestop CL Plus 0.6
NF 101 1.1
WB-Cedar 0.7
WB4458 0.8
WB-Grainfield 1.0
Winterhawk 0.9
WB4455 0.6
WB4721 1.3
WB4303 1.2
SY Monument 0.6
SY Flint 1.3
SY Llano 1.0
SY Drifter 0.8
SY Wolf 0.4
SY Razor 1.4
SY Grit 1.3
Everest 0.6
1863 0.9
KanMark 0.7
Oakley CL 0.7
Larry 0.4
Zenda 1.1
Tatanka 0.4
Joe 0.6
LCS Pistol 0.6
LCS Wizard 0.6
LCS Mint 0.7
LCS Chrome 0.6
T158 0.7
Long Branch 0.9
TAM 112 0.7
TAM 204 0.6
TAM 114 0.4
AG Robust 0.7
Byrd 0.6
Brawl CL Plus 0.5
Avery 0.4
OK1059060-3 0.5
OK10126 0.3
OK11D25056 0.5
OK12621 0.4
OK10728W 0.6
OK12716R/W 0.4
OK11231 0.4
OK09915C-1 0.4
OK12912C 0.7
OK12DP22002-042 0.8
OK118036R/W 1.1
Average 0.7

 

First hollow stem update 02/16/2016

First hollow stem is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture (full explanation). We measure first hollow in our September-sown wheat forage plots at Stillwater each year, and normally have approximately 50% of varieties at or past first hollow stem by March 1st. I have posted first hollow stem measurements from these plots in a table at the end of this blog. No varieties are currently at first hollow stem at Stillwater, but given the warm conditions and the estimates from the first hollow stem advisor on the Mesonet, I anticipate we will have some varieties past first hollow stem by the end of the week. We will take another set of measurements at the end of this week and report the results on this blog.

Keep in mind that the numbers reported from Stillwater are likely behind those being observed in southern Oklahoma and ahead of those observed in northern Oklahoma. The First Hollow Stem Advisor on the Oklahoma Mesonet indicates that  early varieties in southern Oklahoma are likely past first hollow stem and that early varieties in central Oklahoma will reach this point within a week. Jim Johnson with the Noble Foundation reported that the estimates on the first hollow stem advisor were matching closely with his observations in the field around the Ardmore area. My advice is to start looking for a home for cattle on wheat pasture.

Current first hollow stem estimates for early maturity wheat varieties

Current first hollow stem estimates for early maturity wheat varieties

One week projection of first hollow stem for early maturity wheat varieties

One week projection of first hollow stem for early maturity wheat varieties

Two week projection of first hollow stem for early maturity wheat varieties

Two week projection of first hollow stem for early maturity wheat varieties

 

First hollow stem measured in wheat sown 09/15/2015 at Stillwater, OK.
Variety cm of hollow stem 02/15/16
Endurance 0.0
OK Rising 0.1
Billings 0.4
Ruby Lee 0.3
Duster 0.1
Gallagher 0.7
Iba 0.8
Bentley 0.6
Doublestop CL Plus 0.3
NF 101 0.4
WB-Cedar 0.4
WB4458 0.7
WB-Grainfield 0.0
Winterhawk 0.0
WB4455 0.1
WB4721 0.3
WB4303 1.2
SY Monument 0.0
SY Flint 0.7
SY Llano 1.0
SY Drifter 0.1
SY Wolf 0.2
SY Razor 1.4
SY Grit 0.4
Everest 0.2
1863 0.8
KanMark 0.0
Oakley CL 0.2
Larry 0.0
Zenda 0.8
Tatanka 0.0
Joe 0.0
LCS Pistol 0.0
LCS Wizard 0.2
LCS Mint 0.1
LCS Chrome 0.1
T158 0.3
Long Branch 0.2
TAM 112 0.3
TAM 204 0.4
TAM 114 0.0
AG Robust 0.2
Byrd 0.1
Brawl CL Plus 0.1
Avery 0.2
OK1059060-3 0.0
OK10126 0.1
OK11D25056 0.1
OK12621 0.0
OK10728W 0.2
OK12716R/W 0.4
OK11231 0.0
OK09915C-1 0.0
OK12912C 0.4
OK12DP22002-042 0.1
OK118036R/W 0.3
Average 0.3

First hollow stem nearing

First hollow stem occurs just prior to jointing and is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture. Given the warm forecast for the next two weeks, it is likely that we will start seeing first hollow stem in Oklahoma wheat fields. 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 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

Wheat disease update – 10 February 2016

Wheat disease updates are written by Dr. Bob Hunger, OSU Extension Plant Pathologist

Since my last report, I don’t believe a lot has changed with the disease situation.  Similar to what I indicated in mid-December, I have continued to find small pustules of powdery mildew and a few scattered leaf rust pustules in rank wheat around Stillwater.  The temperature and weather has been such that these two foliar diseases (powdery mildew and leaf rust) have been able to persist but have not increased in the wheat around Stillwater.  This seems to be the case for southwestern and south central OK as well.

Gary Strickland (Extn Educator & SWREC Dry-land Cropping Systems Specialist; Jackson/Greer Cnty in SW OK) indicated wheat in SW OK is quite a ways behind the rest of the state and mostly is just now establishing a solid root system.  He had sent us a sample last week in which he expected a root rot to be involved, but we were not able to confirm any root rot pathogens.  Gary also indicated that he has confirmed Hessian fly at damaging levels in at least a few fields in Jackson Cnty.  He is going out in the next few days to scout additional fields.  Aaron Henson (Extn Educator; Tillman Cnty in southern OK) indicated wheat in his area varies from quite small to well-established with the majority of the wheat not yet jointing.  He is aware of the earlier reports of scattered stripe rust showing in south-central OK, but has not heard anything to indicate increase in incidence or severity.  For additional information regarding early season foliar wheat diseases and possible control with an early fungicide application please see:

Also around Stillwater, I am beginning to see symptoms indicative of wheat soil-borne mosaic/wheat spindle streak mosaic in areas such as my WSBM/WSSM screening nursery.  At this point, it is somewhat difficult to differentiate between symptoms of WSBM/WSSM and discoloration resulting from cold.  The photo below shows the contrast between a variety susceptible to WSBM/WSSM and a resistant variety, but was taken about 2-3 weeks later than today.  Thus, over the next month as temperature rises and wheat greens up, symptoms will become more striking.  However, nearly 100% of varieties planted across Oklahoma are resistant to both these viruses, so this disease complex has not caused a problem to wheat in Oklahoma (or other states) for many years.  For more information on the WSBM/WSSM complex, go to: https://www.youtube.com/user/OSUWheat/videos and watch the video on “Wheat Soilborne Mosaic Virus and Wheat Spindle Streak Mosaic Virus.”

Wheat soilborne mosaic virus can cause yellowing in the spring in susceptible varieties such as the one on the left.

Wheat soilborne mosaic virus can cause yellowing in the spring in susceptible varieties such as the one on the left.

Powdery mildew

Powdery mildew

Wheat stripe rust

Wheat stripe rust

Wheat leaf rust

Wheat leaf rust

Mature Hessian fly larvae are brown in color and often referred to as flaxseed. Tillers with larvae will not recover and will eventually die and slough off.

Mature Hessian fly larvae are brown in color and often referred to as flaxseed. Tillers with larvae will not recover and will eventually die and slough off.

Is this the year for split fungicide application?

The stripe rust epidemic of 2015 is still fresh on the minds of many wheat farmers. Reports of active stripe rust on wheat in southern Oklahoma has producers now wondering if we are in for a repeat in 2016. While it is too early to tell if environmental conditions will favor a stripe rust outbreak in 2016, having active rust on wheat in the area satisfies at least one of the requirements for an epidemic. Most Oklahoma wheat producers will still be best advised to monitor the situation and make the fungicide decision based on yield potential and likelihood of infection when the flag leaf is emerging. Those with fields already showing heavy infection of foliar disease, however, might also benefit from a two-pass fungicide system. A few talking points and items to consider for those considering a two-pass system are posted below. A fact sheet on the topic of split application of fungicides can be found at www.wheat.okstate.edu

When to apply – The first pass in a two-pass fungicide system should be applied just after jointing. Please note that this is well after topdress nitrogen should be applied. For this and other reasons (see Dr. Arnall’s blog), tank mixing fungicides with nitrogen is generally not a good practice. Remember that the purpose of the early fungicide application is to keep disease in check until you come back with a flag leaf application in April. Going too early can result in too large of a gap between applications and enough time for disease to re-establish. Going too late can reduce the return on investment. Timing is everything with fungicides.

How much to apply – Back in the day, the discussion around split fungicide application centered on half rates for the first application. This recommendation was because of cost savings rather than disease management. The availability of low-cost, generic fungicides, though, has changed our philosophy, and a full rate of a low cost fungicide is the standard for split applications.

Which product to choose – Product choice is at the discretion of the consumer. If you are considering how to best spend your season-long fungicide budget, however, I would strongly recommend saving your “best” and perhaps most expensive product for the flag leaf application.

Watch season-long restrictions – As always, please read labels carefully and make note of season-long application restrictions. You don’t want an early fungicide application to remove the ability to apply your preferred product at flag leaf.

Wheat stripe rust

Wheat stripe rust

This overhead shot of the 2015 Chickasha intensive and standard wheat variety trials illustrates the severity of stripe rust in the region. The intensively managed trials on the left was treated with a fungicide just prior to heading. The standard trial on the right has the exact same varieties but no fungicide. The "middle" replication between the two studies is a border of Ruby Lee that is 1/2 treated 1/2 non treated.

This overhead shot of the 2015 Chickasha intensive and standard wheat variety trials illustrates the severity of stripe rust in the region. The intensively managed trials on the left was treated with a fungicide just prior to heading. The standard trial on the right has the exact same varieties but no fungicide. The “middle” replication between the two studies is a border of Ruby Lee that is 1/2 treated 1/2 non treated.

Spring-planted oat for forage

Spring-planted oat has been a “go to” forage crop for southern Great Plains beef producers for years. It is a good option when winter wheat was not planted in the fall due to wet conditions, or, as is the case this year, when wheat failed to emerge due to drought. Forage production potential for spring-planted oat is around 1,500 to 2,00 lb/ac, but you will need about 60 – 75 lb/ac of nitrogen to make this type of yield. Dr. Daren Redfern and I wrote a fact sheet detailing spring oat production for hay and it can be found by clicking here or going to www.wheat.okstate.edu under “wheat management” then “seeding”. I will provide the Cliff’s Notes version below.

Spring oat can provide an alternate hay or forage source in the spring

Spring oat can provide an alternate hay or forage source in the spring

Seed — Plant 80 – 100 lb/ac of good quality seed that has a germination of no less than 85%. There aren’t many options regarding varieties, so you will likely be limited to whatever seed is available in your area. The key is not to cut back on seeding rate, regardless of variety.

Seedbed — Sow oat seed at approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inches deep. Most producers will fare better with a conventionally-tilled seedbed. You are planting seed at a time of year when the ground is already marginal regarding temperature. Conventionally-tilled seedbeds warm more quickly, which should speed germination. There is one exception to the conventional till recommendation. If you are sowing into a stale seedbed or a failed wheat crop that is very thin, no-till should be okay. Just avoid situations where excessive residue will keep the soil cold.

Grazing — Oat plants should have a minimum of six inches of growth prior to grazing. Unlike fall-seeded cereals, you should not expect a large amount of tillering. A good stand of spring oat can provide a 750 lb animal approximately 60 days of grazing when stocked at 1.5 animals per acre

Hay — Oat should be cut for hay at early heading.

Don’t let armyworms waylay your wheat or canola

By Tom Royer, Extension Entomologist

Heath Sanders could not have made a more prophetic statement for this Extension Entomologist than when he said: “we learn something new about canola every year”. I have learned something new every year that I have been working with canola, and this year is starting to confirm his “prophesy” once again.

This has been a banner year for fall armyworms. They built up populations early, and migrated into Oklahoma earlier than “normal”, attacking sorghum and pasture grasses. Now, they are ready to attack wheat (once it emerges) and possibly, are marching in to graze on newly emerged canola. Dr. Angela Post, OSU Extension Weeds specialist reported that there were caterpillars that appeared to be either beet armyworm or fall armyworms attacking canola. We are getting confirmation on their identity, but regardless, producers need to be vigilant and protect their fields.

I have already discussed their management in wheat http://entoplp.okstate.edu/pddl/pddl/2015/PA14-41.pdf, but now need to alert canola producers about them attacking seedling canola and eliminating stand.

Look for “window pane” damage in young canola plants and/or cut plants. At this time, with canola so small, armyworm and cutworm caterpillars cannot be allowed the chance to reduce stand. The suggested treatment threshold is 1 or more armyworms per row-foot.

Look for window pane damage in young canola plants. Treatment threshold is one or more worms per foot of row.

Look for window pane damage in young canola plants. Treatment threshold is one or more worms per foot of row.

Consult CR-7194 Management of Insect and Mite Pests of Small Grains and CR-7667 Management of Insect and Mite Pests in Canola for specific insecticides that are registered for control. Keep in mind that beet and fall armyworms can sometimes be difficult to control, so vigilance is needed by follow-up scouting following an application to make sure control is achieved.

How to make $100,000 in a day

No, this blog post is not about a get rich quick scheme, but there is a way for the average wheat farmer in the southern Great Plains to add $50,000 to $100,000 to the bottom line in a single day. Many soil tests I have pulled have shown as much as 50 to 90 lb/ac of NO3-N in the top 18 inches of soil. Ninety pounds of N equates to about $45 of N fertilizer, and this knowledge could save a 2,500 acre wheat farmer in excess of $100,000 in fertilizer cost. Soil testing is laborious, but the potential economic returns for spending a day or two soil sampling are outstanding.

There is still time to soil sample. Soil samples only take a few days to process once they are in the OSU lab. It is not unusual for transit time to the lab to the slowest part of the process, so if you need a fast turnaround a trip to drop samples in the Ag Hall basement in Stillwater will help (plus you have probably been wanting cheese fries). If you have already applied pre-plant fertilizer or sown wheat, there is still time to assess soil N availability and uptake via the N-Rich Strip. In its simplest form, the N-rich strip is an area where N is not limiting. Either by visual assessment or with the assistance of an optical sensor, you can use the N-rich strip to determine your top dress N requirement, but you must create the N-rich strip this fall.

Soil testing is not always easy, but it is time well spent. My high school shop teacher would have labeled me a "Primitive Pete" for this photo.

Soil testing is not always easy, but it is time well spent. My high school shop teacher would have labeled me a “Primitive Pete” for this photo.

The bottom line is that a day of soil testing or putting out N-rich strips is well worth your time investment. On another note, how would you like to make money and improve your health at the same time? I have a multi-level marketing opportunity that I can get you in on the ground floor, but don’t tell anyone else. I can only make this deal for you and only today. There will be a small “buy in” fee that you will need to pay cash up front, though.

Partial funding for the research included in this blog post was provided by USDA Project No.2012-02355 through the National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Regional Approaches for Adaptation to and Mitigation of Climate Variability and Change

Q & A regarding PVP seed laws

Stories about seed law violations and fines have sprung up occasionally in the farm press over the past few years. These stories have tended to focus on the “penalty” part of the law and the magnitude of the fines rather than how the law protects Oklahoma farmers’ investments in wheat variety development and the provisions in the law that allow farmers to save seed for replanting. The purpose of this article is to answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the PVP law.

What is PVP?
The Plant Variety Protection Act (PVP or PVPA) is a federal seed law designed to protect the intellectual property of plant breeders, seed producers, and those who have funded variety development (in our case OSU and Oklahoma Taxpayers). The PVP law that you read about in the news today was enacted in 1994 and was an amendment to a law originally passed in 1970. The law prohibits the sale of farmer-saved seed without the variety owner’s permission. This protection lasts for 20 years for most crops. The ‘Title V’ you sometimes see tacked on to the end of PVP, refers to an amendment to the federal seed act stating that the variety can only be sold as a class of certified seed and by variety name.

Can I save seed from PVP-protected varieties?
Yes. You can save seed from PVP-protected varieties to plant on land you own or rent. You just cannot sell or trade the seed for planting purposes. A comparable example is an audio cd. You can make extra copies of an audio cd for your own use, such as an extra copy for the truck, without creating any problems. However, if you placed copies of the latest Sturgill Simpson cd for sale on Ebay, you would likely be contacted by the owners of the music regarding your unauthorized sale of their intellectual property.

Can I save seed of Clearfield varieties?
No, because Clearfield varieties are protected by a utility patent which protects a specific gene within the cultivar. Other examples of crop seed with genes protected by a utility patent include Roundup Ready, Bollgard, and Liberty Link. Wheat farmers will likely be seeing greater use of utility patents in the future but to my knowledge Clearfield varieties are the only hard wheat cultivars currently protected by a utility patent.

What about selling variety not stated (VNS) seed?
Not allowed. As indicated earlier, Title V of the federal seed act states that PVP-protected varieties can only be sold by variety name as a certified class of seed. This is one of several “ways-around-the-law” type questions that I am frequently asked at meetings and the answer is almost always no, you cannot do that. Other examples of violations would include: selling feed wheat, trading seed, giving seed away, and selling the standing crop of a PVP-protected variety and saving the seed.

The law just applies to the seller, right?
No. If there is a violation, then all parties involved can be included in the lawsuit. This includes the buyer, seller, seed conditioners, and even the entity spreading/planting the seed for the farmer.

How do I know if a variety is protected?
Certified seed of a protected variety will be clearly marked as such on the seed tag or the bulk label. The OSU Wheat Variety Comparison Chart indicates which varieties are PVP-protected and can be found at www.wheat.okstate.edu under Variety Testing, then under Variety Characteristics. Most varieties are now PVP-protected.

OSU is a public institution, why are they PVP-protecting varieties?
First and foremost, OSU acquires PVP-protection for new wheat cultivars to protect our (OSU, farmers, and taxpayers) collective investment in variety development. It takes 10 – 15 years to develop a wheat variety and this is not a cheap process. Without PVP protection others could reproduce an OSU wheat variety and profit from its sale without any benefit returned to farmers or OSU. PVP-protection ensures that when you buy an OSU variety, you are getting exactly the variety you are paying for and OSU has ensured quality-control standards through the certification process. It also ensures that a portion of the purchase price is returned to OSU for re-investment in the wheat breeding program where it is used to develop well-adapted varieties and ensure that the public sector remains competitive in wheat variety development.

Where can I find more information?
I am an agronomist, not a lawyer, so this article was meant to only hit the high points. A complete copy of the law (45 pages) can be found with a Google search of ‘plant variety protection act’. Texas AgriLife Extension also has a good summary of the law that can be found with a Google search for ‘plant variety protection act TAMU’.