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GCC Insight: Pre-Plant Preparations


Wheat Top Dress and Chemical Applications

With wheat harvest being months away, it's easy to put that subject out of sight, out of mind, but the slower season is the right time to put together a plan to save headaches down the road, says Garden City Co-op Sales Manager and Agronomist, Ryan Kennedy.  He states that right now, the wheat crop is looking good with a high end potential of returning some good yields this summer.  But keeping on top of Nitrogen needs and weed and pest pressure are key.  

"Most fields have good stands and a full moisture profile.  With a big rain event, we may have moved some Nitrogen deeper in the profile and want to make sure we have plenty available once the wheat breaks dormancy," states Kennedy.  "I have also noticed several fields in the area with moderate to high levels of winter annuals coming on which will need to be treated."  

Kennedy says that herbicide options seem endless but when choosing a product, always follow label directions to avoid injury to the crop.  

Wheat mites are something to also be looking for, though Kennedy says they generally prefer drier years, so with ample moisture this year, we could see mite pressure on the decline this season.  Mites will generally start to show by mid to late March, depending on the temperatures.  

Alfalfa Applications

Now is the time to spray alfalfa - while it is still dormant.  Any time between now and the end of February and then following that up with in-season applications for summer annuals.  Make sure to watch for cutworm as we start to get into spring and warm up.  

Pre-Plant Preventative Applications for Kochia and Pigweed

Whether you're in strip till or no till, it's important to put down a preventative for Kochia to stay ahead of major Kochia and Pigweed problems.  30-45 days before pigweeds begin to emerge there are some options available and overlapping residual herbicides seems to be the most effective way to prevent problems.  Kennedy states that taking advantage of cooler temperatures is in your favor with these herbicides.  "Keep in mind that Herbicides soil life is much longer in cooler temperatures and these products can hang around to keep you clean to planting and beyond."  Kennedy advises to follow this up with a pre-emerge or early post residual herbicide to stay ahead of some of our most glyphosate-resistant weeds.  

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