The wheat fields have really taken off in the last two weeks. After an ugly winter, they’re looking thick and green and most fields have started jointing. Here’s a photo of a field planted into cotton stubble. A week ago the cotton stalks were still clearly visible, but this field is growing fast.
Here is a split stem (below) showing the first joint and the tiny grain head to the left of it.
When pulled away from the rest of the stem, this little grain head doesn’t look like much.
Here is another grain head (below) from a field that was planted a little earlier. This one looks more recognizable.
The flag leaf will be out on the wheat in the picture above pretty soon.
Ideally, all your nitrogen should be out by the time the plants start to joint because that is the time when they’re really going to be using it. Some fields are getting that final shot now. There aren’t many pests to be concerned about yet. Aphids have been very light this year as well as disease pressure. A little powdery mildew is starting to show up, but we don’t need to be too concerned until the flag leaves emerge.
Once the flag leaves emerge, the threshold we’ll use is 20% of the leaf area is infected on the leaf just below the flag leaf and cool, wet weather is predicted to continue. If the weather turns hot and dry, we probably won’t have to worry about powdery mildew at all. Take a look back at this post from last spring for some more in depth info on powdery mildew.
For more info on wheat production, take a look at the 2016 Clemson Wheat Cheat Sheet.