The State Climate Office has just released it’s temperature and moisture projections through November, just in time to help wheat growers make some key decisions! Don’t ask me to interpret water temperatures in the Pacific and how that plays into an La Nina or an El Nino, but give me a long term projection on temperature and moisture, and I can use that to my advantage!
In short, temperatures are supposed to be above normal through November, while moisture is supposed to be below normal. So, how might you use this information to improve wheat profitability? Here’s how!
1. Long, warm falls allow us to plant fewer seed since there is a long season to make tillers. That’s a plus since we can save some on seed cost. Last year had a similar temperature forecast, allowing us to cut seeding rate to 1.35 million seed/acre, saving on our original planned seeding rate of 1.5 million seed/acre. At 1.35 million seed, we made a 74 bushel crop.
2. Knowing that we are going to be drier than normal, gives me some pause on lowering seeding rate very far, since germination might be impacted.
3. Knowing that it is projected to be drier and warmer than normal also creates concern about the use of liquid N as my nitrogen source. A possible solution is the use of a nitrogen extender to keep applied N in the field as long as possible. Since volatilization is a concern, I would strongly considering the addition of something that can slow this process. Agrotain and Instinct are two such products. You’re local distributor may have his own brand as well.
Here is a plan to consider.
A. Use the temperature to your advantage and plant 1.4 -1.45 million seed (32-33 seed every 19″ of drill row if using a 7.5″ drill).
B. On fields with high P and K levels, apply 35-40 units nitrogen using liquid N (11-13 gallons) as the single fertilizer source while adding N stabilizer to that application to buy approx. 2 weeks of additional time before the N starts to volatilize.
This plan takes into account temperature effect on tiller formation, moisture effect on seed germination and N stability, and the projected end price of wheat next June. It gives you the chance to make a good wheat crop, while minimizing some expense.
(Source – http://www.farms.com/news/increase-profitability-in-wheat-using-long-term-weather-forecasts-113080.aspx)