By OMAFRA FIELD CROP TEAM
Winter wheat harvest is quickly approaching so as we get prepared here are a few quick reminders to help us get through what will hopefully be a great harvest!
Watch for Pre-harvest Intervals (PHI)
With armyworm, as well as other insects being monitored in many areas through to harvest, and with the potential need for control if thresholds are met and/or if head clipping occurs, it is important to know the PHI of the products you are applying. Please ensure you are reviewing all labels and abiding by the PHI stated on product labels. For those considering pre-harvest desiccation, ensure the crop has reached physiological maturity before making those applications. This can be indicated by the peduncle changing colour from green to gold.
When deciding on which fields to harvest first, soft white winter wheat fields should be at the top of the list. Soft white wheat is much more prone to pre-harvest sprouting and delaying harvest, especially when rain is in the forecast, can have a negative impact on quality quickly. Soft red wheat is not as prone to pre-harvest sprouting and hard red winter wheat is the most tolerant.
Any fields showing signs of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) should also be targeted for harvest first to help delay further disease development. FHB can continue to develop when moisture levels are high (>19%). If you find yourself in a field with high levels of FHB consider taking the crop off at a higher moisture and drying it to reduce further quality reductions. However, much like 2016, the conditions during the flowering period this year have been dry and with very low levels of FHB being reported to date, so FHB is not expected to be a concern.
Higher management and storms in specific areas have created lodging issues in some fields (Figure 1). As a result, there will be some extra attention needed during combine prep and harvest to help get that crop off the field. A relatively inexpensive option to consider is grain lifters which help lift the crop above the cutter bar. Knife and reel adjustment can also help ease harvest in these scenarios but always refer to the operator’s manual for the suggested settings. Lastly, harvesting the grain in a direction so that the lodged grain is tilted towards the header can also be an effective means of harvesting a lodged crop.
Figure 1. Lodged winter wheat field that will require some combine and in-field adjustments to get the crop successfully harvested.
Everyone is reminded to keep safety top of mind. The current forecast shows warm temperatures with minimal rainfall for the next two weeks. With many areas being low on rainfall already, fire can be a risk at harvest. Before heading to the field ensure that all equipment is fitted with working fire extinguishers, that everything is in good working order (wires and hoses checked for damage) and that all crop debris, residue, etc. is removed from any heat source to help reduce risk.
COVID19 protocols are also important as we get into wheat harvest. Before delivering any grain to an elevator ensure you are aware of your grain elevator facility’s expectations. Some requirements may include, but are not limited to, social distancing, staying in your vehicles and/or wearing a mask. There may also be different rules between municipalities and counties, so be aware when travelling around, i.e. hauling grain across counties to different end users.
Weather Data June 22 – 28, 2020