Dry conditions this year have generated common questions from growers such as “when should I irrigate to maximize yield?” and “will I be able to take this crop to seed?” Many of the principles that dictate irrigation strategies in wheat are similar to those of other crops. Understanding wheat's growth stages can help growers develop a strategy for drought years.
Relative to many crops, small grains are considered plastic, or flexible, in their growth habit and yield potential. This means that the crop adjusts its growth to the scarcity or abundance of resources (water and nutrients) encountered during the season. The impacts of stress on crop yield are not...
- Author: Allison Krill-Brown
Please see the attached announcement for a Virtual Organic Wheat Field Day to be held 5/21/21 from 9-10AM.
- Author: Mark Lundy
Please join us on May 12th from 1PM - 4:30PM for the 2021 UC Small Grains/Alfalfa-Forages Virtual Field Day!
Learn about UC research and extension activities related to water, nutrient, soil, weed and pest management. Stay up to date on UC breeding and variety development work (the full AGENDA is available here).
Continuing education units (CEUs) will be available. Registration is required to receive CEUs. There is no charge to attend the meeting. We hope to see you there!
- Author: Konrad Mathesius
- Author: Gabriele Maier
- Author: Josh Davy
- Editor: Mark Lundy
Looking a little dry out there?
Dry conditions mean it's good to be cautious about nitrate toxicity in forage crops, particularly small grain hay, grasses, and anything weedy! Nitrates can harm or even kill animals. Growers should test forages and stay vigilant.
Why are dry years more of a concern for nitrate toxicity? Drought conditions in California this year are the worst they've been in decades. Many growers are considering cutting their grain fields for hay, however, that may cause some concerns for ruminant livestock if forage nitrate (NO3) levels are not monitored closely since drought stress can cause nitrate accumulation in forage...
- Author: Konrad Mathesius
- Contributor: Thomas Getts
- Contributor: José Luiz Carvalho de Souza Dias
- Editor: Brad Hanson
Concerns about a growing resistance to herbicides
In Mediterranean or arid climates, particularly in areas with marginal soils, crop rotations are often limited to a narrow range of hay, pasture, a handful of winter legumes, or rainy-season grasses. Arid conditions and weathered soils drove Australia's rainfed grain growers to adopt no-till strategies earlier than their counterparts in California. While beneficial from a water use perspective, successful no-till systems depend on herbicides to control weeds that were traditionally kept in check with tillage.
Dependence on herbicides alone in these systems has resulted in weeds with resistance to multiple modes of action. In Australia, there is one...