2012 Michigan wheat season summary

Observing and noting the lessons offered by each passing wheat season can be a helpful reference in the future.

This has been a particularly interesting year for students of wheat production. Overview of the 2012 Wheat Season is a document that attempts to summarize this past production cycle and may be of interest.

In seasons such as 2012, with its unusual twists and turns, growers might consider writing their own season summation, or at least jotting down some of their lessons or observations. For this writer, a few items of note come to mind from 2012.

  • Wheat in the tillering stage can be killed in the spring when temperatures approach single digits.
  • Early in the season, under very cold temperatures, wheat can be very sensitive to liquid nitrogen fertilizer.
  • Wheat has considerable ability to adapt to temperature stress. This was particularly evident when temperatures dipped well below 24 degrees Fahrenheit at the end of April. While wheat should have been seriously damaged by all written accounts, it was largely unscathed except some tiller losses. The best explanation is that wheat adapted itself to cold during the preceding 10 days, which had unusually cold temperatures.
  • Abundant sunshine and dry air are very effective in suppressing diseases. In a year such as this, the use of fungicides, particularly prior to boot stage, can be reduced when growing varieties having reasonably good resistance against foliar diseases.
  • Armyworms are a critter that bears attention every season. Disciplined scouting is still the best management practice when deciding whether an insecticide application is necessary.
  • There are new varieties that are clearly out-performing more traditional varieties, particularly in fields where growers are pushing for higher yields (see Michigan Wheat Performance Trials).

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