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: 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...