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Testing dormant wheat for life

By Ron Meyer
Golden Plains Area Extension Agent, Agronomy

According to Crop Watch, to determine if wheat plants are alive before active growth begins in the spring:

--Remove the top 3 inches of soil containing the plant crown.

--Thaw the samples and warm to room temperature.

--Remove soil from the roots and wash with cool water to remove attached soil.

--Cut off fall growth to within 1 inch above the crown and roots below the crown.

--Rinse the crowns with cool water.

--Place 10 wet crowns in a labeled plastic bag, inflate the bag and tie shut.

--Place the bags in a lighted room, but not in direct sunlight.

--Check the crowns in two days rinse with cool water and re-inflate the bag.

--After four days, the crown should show about two inches of grows.

--Plants that are not growing after six days should be considered dead when estimating survival.

--Some plants may grow poorly and develop molds. Molds live on dead or injured plants.

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