The 2021 wheat crop has the chance of being very good in overall production as well as a very profitable crop this year with the commodity price.
To start, the warmer/drier than normal fall allowed the wheat to be planted and emerge in a timely fashion, as well as put on some very decent growth prior to winter.
After breaking dormancy in late March, the wheat crop seemed to take off and not look back. Nutrient applications that were made prior to the wheat breaking dormancy provided excellent nutrition for the crop to push through cold, wet, and stressful conditions in April. The frost that occurred in mid-April did not seem to really affect the crop other than causing some cosmetic damage on the tips of leaves.
There were not a lot of disease or pest issues early, although now we are finding some striped rust and barley yellow dwarf virus, but it sure has not been very widespread. Protecting the crop now until harvest is critical to preserving its optimum yield. Fungicide applications will help suppress this disease and protect the crop to the onset of future diseases.
And lastly, a key to ensuring that you reap every bushel that you produce out of the field, the optimum harvest moisture for wheat is between 18 and 20 percent. Now, harvesting wheat with this moisture content can have its additional drying and handling challenges, but the reward is a higher yield with a higher income. And harvesting a week or two earlier can have its benefits as well when planting double-crop soybeans behind the wheat. When it comes to planting soybeans, earlier is better. As soon as you harvest the wheat, spray any weeds present and plant the soybeans quickly.
Bryan Fairfull is the Agronomy Marketing Manager for M&M Service Company, based out of Carlinville, IL. Dan Niemeier is a Crop Specialist for M&M Service Company and is based out of Marine, IL.