A wheat crop looks different depending on where you look at it from. We want growers to continue to be successful not only in their current year, but for the years and obstacles to follow. In order to build upon the triumphs and challenges of the season, we look to the experts who have experienced the highs and lows alongside growers across the nation. Our Innovation Specialists have their fingers on the pulse of everything that happens in the field, from the Northern Plains to the Pacific Northwest. At the end of June, we spoke with Bethany Erickson, an Innovation Specialist that oversees territory in south central North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, to see if she could share a few highlights from the current season and tips growers can act upon to improve crop inputs for future success.
Grain that gets noticed
Despite the heavy impact of wet weather and delayed planting that hit corn and soybean growers across the nation, wheat growers had something to celebrate in the cooler temperatures and rain that came in May and early June. Bethany Erickson, a BASF Innovation Specialist that operates from North Dakota, said, “We've been pretty cool lately and we've gotten some rain, and so wheat is looking phenomenal. I would say it’s the best-looking crop we have in my area.”
This year’s great crop is due in part to the attention to detail growers in the area are paying to nutrient management. Depending on the area, some farmers are utilizing variable rates when applying fertilizer. By looking for high-yielding areas, and applying more fertilizer, growers in the region have been proven to be more productive.
“I have growers that are utilizing Environmentally Smart Nitrogen (ESN) within an encapsulated nitrogen. Last year, we saw benefits with that nitrogen releasing at flag leaf timing, which is critical for that plant to get at that stage.”
Productivity with varieties and fungicides
Erickson reported that growers are also going in with more productive varieties. Growers have been more conscientious about the great return of fungicides with specific varieties that they’re placing on their fields.
Depending on the operation and variety used, Erickson has conducted trials and encouraged those growers to use applications at flag leaf timing.
“I had a grower last year that had a yield untreated at flag leaf with 93 bushels, which is amazing, right? He then applied Nexicor™ Xemium® Brand Fungicide at flag leaf and got 102 bushels an acre, and that was pretty awesome. In another area, it was 79 bushels when we looked at untreated. When we looked at it treated, it was 85 bushels. So that was really exciting to see.”
“We have growers that are proactive and more aggressive in really wanting to increase their yields. And they're the ones that say, "You know what? I spend a lot of money on my crop already, and putting in this seed, and I want to make sure that I'm protecting it." So, I know that they're the growers that are saying, "I'm putting down a flag leaf application.""