Planting wheat following drought-stricken corn

Planting wheat following corn may be a reasonable rotation this 2012 season, but excessive nitrogen levels and Fusarium head scab are two potential risks.

Some growers may be inclined to sow wheat following corn this upcoming season. While this is never a preferred rotation, drought-stressed corn that will be harvested early does provide an opportunity to plant wheat relatively early. However, there are a couple precautions growers may want to consider.

Avoid excessive nitrogen

Particularly in fields where corn and other high nitrogen crops experienced limited growth due to drought, there may be an abundance of residual fertilizer and soil nitrogen. While experience is limited in Michigan, growers may do well to avoid fertilizer nitrogen use this fall where wheat is being planted relatively early and follows an injured corn crop. However, if planting wheat relatively late, growers might consider using 10 to 20 pounds per acre.

Reduce risk of Fusarium head scab

Planting wheat following either combined or chopped corn increases the chance of having significant levels of head scab next year. However, growers can lessen the chance of this disease by plowing under corn residue, selecting a soft red variety having some tolerance to the disease, and using Caramba or Prosaro fungicide at early flowering.       

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