The wheat here in Kansas has been looking pretty good this year. The second year wheat looks awesome with the better than average growing conditions that we have had and even our double crop wheat looks better than what we have been seeing the last few years.
Maybe you have some wheat out in your fields, maybe you don’t. Many producers didn’t plant as much as usual this year due to low commodity prices and the high inputs that good wheat requires. If you do happen to have some out there though, definitely be happy that it looks as good as it does, but remember that it still needs to be taken care of.
You probably don’t have to work too hard to remember all the issues we had with last year’s wheat crop (which is probably why we have less wheat out there this year). Many of those issues could repeat this year, but we have a chance to address them this coming spring. With the lush growth of the wheat and all the moisture we’ve gotten, we could see a lot of disease issue, like powdery mildew and rust, pop up quite early in the season. An early season fungicide application would not only head those issues off at the gate, but is also an economical investment in the health of your plants as it costs less to piggyback the application on your nitrogen/herbicide application rather than wait for an airplane to do it in the spring.
Speaking of herbicides and nitrogen, though your wheat may look pretty right now, don’t give into the temptation to cut back on your programs. I am well aware that your margins are thin, but remember especially the weed issues we faced last year and consider especially how many acres you planted back into soybean stubble. Remember all those weeds that you had out there at harvest? Maintaining a strong herbicide program will help you address any weed issues that might carry over from last, and help you keep the weeds that are bound to pop up this season in check from the get-go.
If you don’t have any wheat in your fields, the themes still remain the same for your crops. Wheat or not, we’re setting up to have a better moisture profile than we’ve seen in quite a while, which increases our potential. Be careful not to undercut this rare and awesome potential by skimping on an important input.
I’m certain that many of you have sat down with whoever you get financial advice from and decided to keep things tighter this year than in years past. With commodity prices where they are, the cash isn’t exactly flowing in and I know that cost-cutting might very well be in the plans. Whatever you decide to do to make your operation work, be mindful that what you can save right now can cost you in the long run, particularly when we have the potential that this season is presenting us with.