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: 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...
Growers frequently celebrate the presence of wildlife in their alfalfa and grain fields, providing valuable habitat as well as economic returns.
But sometimes it's just too much of a good thing.
The sight of thousands of geese foraging in agricultural fields is spectacular and a natural wonder, until they start devastating your crop. This winter, snow and Ross's geese have been eating farmers out of house and home in the Sacramento valley, devastating wheat, cover crops, and alfalfa fields.
Millions of Guests Arriving for Dinner. Geese foraging by the tens of thousands are capable of consuming 30 acres of crops in just a few hours. They strip leaves and stems of alfalfa...
Weather patterns are highly variable across the state of California. They change from year to year and across locations. While parts of the state may be experiencing drought conditions this year (Figure 1), each location can have dramatically different weather. For growers and agronomists, location-specific weather information is essential to understand plant growth and water use. It is also important for planning field management activities such as fertilization and irrigation.
We have created a new interactive website where users can access their location-specific precipitation and temperature data: