The same weather system that held down the summer hurricane season might help keep Texas, Oklahoma and other wheat-producing states wetter than normal this winter, according to an Associated Press story. That would certainly be great news for areas that barely saw any dryland wheat production across the Texas Panhandle and other areas.
Big rains, some of which caused major flooding, have been seen in drought-stricken parts of the southern production area. That will help make planting more pleasant for many waiting on moisture. Mississippi State University warns growers that planting too early in the Midsouth and other regions can make wheat more susceptible to weed pressure, as well as insects that can vector diseases that can stunt growth.
While planting is well under way or even completed over much of the Great Plains, it’s still a week or so away for the Midsouth. For example, Mississippi’s planting dates usually range from Oct. 15 all the way to Dec. 10.
Wheat planted too early can certainly hurt wheat leading into dormancy for the winter and for plants emerging into spring growth. That makes control of weeds in a well-planned program essential. And if growers plant wheat earlier for grazing stocker cattle, even closer attention may be needed to watch for weed problems.
In a recent Delta Farm Press story, Jason Kelley, University of Arkansas Extension wheat and feed grains agronomist, points out that the planting window for wheat opens in October. But it could be slowed by wet weather, as growers work to take advantage of any sunshine in their efforts to harvest soybeans, rice and corn before they can think about winter wheat.
“There are probably six to seven weeks that we can plant wheat,” says Kelley. “Right now, they’ve got soybeans and rice on their minds, but here in two to three weeks when we get into the prime planting window and the ground dries out, they’ll be out there.”