What is in this article?:
- Variety selection is possibly the most important decision a wheat grower can make to achieve a high-quality crop with high yields.
- Site selection can make or break a small grains planting. Rainfall drainage should be the number one consideration.
- Yield and protein content are the most important factors in determining wheat profitability.
California Alfalfa and Grains Symposium speakers, from left: Steve Wright, UCCE Farm Advisor; Lee Jackson, UCCE Specialist Emeritus Lee Jackson; Kent Brittan, UCCE Farm Advisor; and Steve Orloff, UCCE Farm Advisor.
Steve Wright, UCCE farm advisor in Tulare and Kings counties, discussed weed challenges in wheat. Wright said wheat fields almost always require herbicide treatment.
Weeds are controlled at a minimal cost with herbicides and assist with an overall weed management plan in rotation with other crops. Care must be taken with neighboring crops at the time of application.
Herbicides replace tillage since tillage is not possible during the growing season. Crop rotation is critical for broadleaf and grassy weed control.
Wright shared his latest herbicide trial findings.
“One of the most effective herbicides for broadleaf weed control is Express plus MCPA which is less injurious to grains and has a wider window of application,” Wright said.
Many herbicides on the market, when used as a tank combination, usually provide the most effective weed control in wheat since most fields have different weed spectrums.
Among those include MCPA which Wright says can be applied as early as the 4th or 5th leaf stage at tiller initiation. The herbicide 2,4-D is best applied when the plant is well tillered.
The contact herbicide Buctril works well as a tank mix with Puma and other products. Puma and Osprey require separate applications for broadleaf and grass weeds, except for Buctril.
“The product Express is a new player in town and does an outstanding job on most broadleaves,” Wright said. “Express works a little slower; taking up to three weeks to kill weeds.”
Express can be tank mixed with several broadleaf herbicides to widen the weed spectrum or hasten the weed kill.
Wright called Axial an excellent grass herbicide which provides good control of wild oats and Italian ryegrass, plus canarygrass suppression. Axial works best when weeds are small and before canopy development. The application timing also depends on which broadleaf weeds are present, and which broadleaf herbicide is in the tank mix.
“Growers tell me a tank mix of Axial, Express, and MCPA have created the cleanest fields they have ever seen,” Wright said.