Wheat harvest--a pleasant surprise for some
There are exceptions to almost every rule, but generally, farmers in the Golden Belt were pleasantly surprised with wheat harvest. Test weights and yields were better than expected.
Planting date, cropping sequence and not skimping on fertilizer were big factors where the wheat wasn't good. I don't think it was a case locally of there being big differences in rainfall or snow between areas because there was too big of an area where the wheat was good. It was more of a situation of how each individual farmer held the moisture with his tillage and planting practices. In farming, timing is everything. This is true whether you are a no-tiller or conventional.
We basically had two crops this year. We had the September planted wheat and then the November planted wheat. Some even got planted after that. Some years, the late planted wheat does better. This was not the case this time around. Normally we like to plant wheat in October but not much got planted that month because the soil was too wet, especially on the no-till. There was some October planted where the ground had been tilled and dried out faster.
Every few years the no-till wheat doesn't fair as well as the minimum or conventional tillage. However, no-till makes up for it on the fall crops. Wheat that was continuous cropped, immediately after wheat, milo or soybeans did not get through the winter or late spring very good. There seemed to be more winter-kill and spring stand loss after the late March and early April cold snaps. The crown seems to sit up higher on top of the residue on some no-till fields leaving it more exposed and possibly it dries out more.
One of the biggest factors in wheat test weight and yield is the weather conditions during the grain fill period in May and early June. You may not remember now that has turned hot, but we had a lot of days with 75 and 80 degree high temperatures. Just like Europe where they grow the 100 bushels per acre. A lot of people thought our stands were thin due to the lack of tillers from the really dry winter and up and down early sporing temperatures. However, good grain fill made up for that.
Considering the wet conditions last fall and the Barley Yellow Dwarf epidemic, we were really blessed in this area. Best of all, most of our wheat in Barton County missed the hail this year.
Tomato fruit set
Tomatoes are growing vigorously now. However, the end of spring and the onset of hot, dry weather leads to several problems in tomatoes. Tomatoes that grow vigorously early often drop some blossoms during the transition to summer weather. Don't worry.
New blooms will develop rapidly to replace those that fall off. Also, plants may be subject to leaf curl where the leaves roll up from the edges. This is a short-term condition that develops as the tomato is trying to reduce its leaf surface to allow the roots to develop. Also, the onset of fruit usually means that plants are subject to foliar blight diseases when the first fruit start to enlarge. With little rain and dry conditions, blight will not be as prevalent as it would be in humid, rainy weather. Treat lower leaves with a fungicide when leaf spots or leaf yellowing first starts to develop. The oldest leaves closest to the ground will be the first to show symptoms.
Maneb, mancozeb or products containing them as active ingredients, as well as chlorothalonil or products containing it work best for control (Ortho Vegetable Disease Control, Ortho Liquid Fungicide, Fertilome Liquid Fungicide, Daconil, and others are common brands).
Rain and fruit tree sprays
Fruit gardeners often worry about the effects of rain on their pesticide sprays. As a general rule, up to one inch of rain does not reduce effectiveness. From one to two inches of rain, the residue is reduced by half. In such cases, reduce by half the amount of time between sprays. Consider all effective residue gone if more than 2 inches of rain is received. Reapply immediately.