Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Grower Question - European Intensive Management for High-Yielding Wheat

A Middleton, ID grower had inquired about a possibility of adopting European wheat management practices for improved efficiency of production and utilized in areas of very high wheat yield potential.

Here are summarized results from "Intensive Wheat Management Evaluation" in Illinois
by Tom Doerge
Agronomy Research Scientist
The primary objectives of this study were to evaluate intensive wheat management with respect to 1) overall profitability and 2) the relative importance of the various crop inputs that comprise this management system.
Evaluated factors:
Planting depth, Seeding rate, Drill calibration, Fall fertilizer, Spring N fertilizer, Insecticide, Herbicide, Fungicide
Results1. Does intensive management of wheat increase grain yield?
Yes. Based on the research from 2002 and 2003, intensive wheat management strategies increased grain yield by an average of 19 and 12 bu/ac compared with the low and medium level of wheat management.
2. Did all wheat varieties respond similarly to the intensive wheat management practices?
The size of yield increase was influenced by wheat variety, location and year.
3. Were fungicide applications necessary for management
of wheat diseases?

Fungicide (Headline®) applications reduced Septoria leaf and glume blotch, tan spot, and leaf and stripe rust but not head scab (Fusarium head blight). In general, selecting
wheat varieties with host resistance/tolerance in combination with fungicide application was the most effective control for common wheat diseases.
4. Were insecticide applications beneficial?
All of the research trials required the application of a foliar insecticide (Warrior®) for control of aphid populations. Insecticide applications reduced both damage from aphid feeding and from the aphid-vectored barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV).
5. Did the various management inputs influence grain
The management practices studied had no significant effect on test weight, kernel protein content, kernel weight, or falling numbers.

6. What input impacted grain yield the most?
In general, the factor most influencing yield was insecticide application. The second most influential factor was wheat variety.
7. What input provided the greatest and most consistent economic returns?
 The profitability of a fungicide application varied by year and split N treatments were only profitable when the cost of application was low.
8. Does intensive wheat management create greater profits?
The cost of implementing intensive wheat management strategies ranged from $30 to 40/ac. Given the average yield increase of 12 bu/ac for those studies, a grower would need to sell wheat at $3.33/bu or higher to be profitable.

®Headline is a registered trademark of BASF.
®Warrior is a registered trademark of Syngenta.

Photo credit: Phil Needham
An excellent and uniform stand of wheat is the first step in improving wheat yields. Timely fungicide applications are most effective with a uniform crop. Fargo, ND.

Improving stand uniformity, utilization of tram lines, and proper timing of inputs are listed as the key points to be followed for successful implementation of intensive management in wheat.

Tram lines:  unseeded strips placed within wheat fields at seeding time that allow row-crop spraying equipment to make passes through the fields without running over the wheat.

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