The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Ag

September 21, 2013

History says control volunteer wheat

ENID, Okla. — As I am writing this article, it is raining outside.

With this recent wet weather in much of northwest Oklahoma, volunteer wheat will begin to emerge and grow rapidly. Wet soil conditions may keep producers out of the fields for extended periods of time, making it even more difficult to control volunteer wheat. To protect this year’s wheat crop, the volunteer wheat has to be controlled.

As I learned last year viewing wheat fields in May, the wheat curl mite, which continues its life cycle in volunteer wheat and which vectors wheat streak mosaic virus, can travel at least one-half mile to infect a new stand of wheat. In my 20 years as an area agronomist, I had never seen as much wheat streak as what I witnessed last spring.

This comment was echoed by former Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service area agronomist Dale Fain, who spent 30 years in that position. That is 50 years of wheat production history saying we have to control volunteer wheat.

The most important threat from volunteer wheat is the wheat streak mosaic virus complex. These viral diseases cause stunting and yellow streaking leaves. In most cases, infections can be traced to a nearby field of volunteer wheat, although there are some likely other hosts of the mites that transmit the virus. Other hosts can be corn, millet and many other annual grasses, such as yellow foxtail or even prairie cupgrass.

Volunteer wheat and the other grass hosts harbor the wheat curl mite during the summer months. These tiny, white, cigar-shaped mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye. The mite uses wind currents to move from host to host and can do so for up to one-half mile.

Along with volunteer wheat hosting the wheat curl mite, it also will harbor Hessian flies, which may cause the wheat plant to lodge at harvest; aphids, which could be vectoring barley yellow dwarf; or even chinch bugs, which feed on developing wheat as it emerges.

Last but not least, volunteer wheat uses soil moisture that is a valuable asset for good growth and development of the 2014 harvested wheat crop.

At this point, a producer has two choices to control volunteer wheat. You will need to choose between tillage or herbicide options. Both are good at controlling volunteer wheat.

The send-home message from this article is producers must control volunteer wheat for two weeks to ensure protection from the discussed pests. That does not mean tilling or spraying a herbicide to kill volunteer 14 days before you plant. It means a producer must have the volunteer wheat dead 14 days prior to planting a wheat crop.

If you need some additional thoughts on controlling volunteer wheat, contact your OCES ag educator. They can provide you with additional thoughts and recommendations for volunteer wheat.

Gribble is Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service northwest area agronomist.

1
Text Only
Ag
  • Trent Milacek web.jpg Despite poor harvest, wheat price falls

    I grew up and currently reside on our family farm southwest of Waukomis.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Master Gardener logocmyk.jpg Gardeners share their favorites

    Annuals only last one season, but they are important because of the great variety of flowers that keep the garden colorful throughout the summer.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Conservation workshop set

    The workshop will be 6 p.m. at the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service Center, 316 E. Oxford.

    July 26, 2014

  • Jeff Bedwell Consider safety of forage beforehand

    Drought conditions of the past three to four years and in particular the past eight months had hay/forage inventories at critically low levels. The most recent period ranked as the third-driest period in recorded history. Not unlike the farmers and ranchers of other times of drought, ag producers now have been very resourceful to not only replace hay supplies that have dwindled but also add much-needed revenue to farm income.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Right to Farm web 1.jpg Ag industry seeks right to farm

    The emerging battle could have lasting repercussions for the nation’s food supply and for the millions of people worldwide who depend on U.S. agricultural exports. It’s also possible the right-to-farm idea could sputter as a merely symbolic gesture that carries little practical effect beyond driving up voter turnout in local elections.

    July 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • farm - Burlington FFA web.jpg Burlington students attend camp

    More than 1,600 FFA members from 289 Oklahoma FFA chapters attended one of four three and one-half day sessions from June 29-July 12.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Oklahoma's Dirty Dozen poster 150dpi_W.jpg Poster targets invasive plants

    They all have more than four letters, but they are certainly bad words in the state of Oklahoma.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • farm - Rick Nelson web.jpg Simple steps can prevent fungus infection

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Help plants survive the summer heat

    The July hot weather has arrived, and Oklahoma State University has some suggestions for helping with our gardening needs this month.

    July 12, 2014

  • farm - 4-H_W_W.jpg State 4-H honors volunteers

    A group of dedicated parents and volunteers with Oklahoma 4-H Youth Development Program gathered recently in Stillwater for learning, sharing of ideas and recognition of dedication to Oklahoma’s youth.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
Facebook