Checking Wheat Fields

We plant Hard Red Winter Wheat.  As “winter wheat” implies, the wheat was planted last fall, was dormant over the winter, and is now starting to grow.  In the United States, there are several types of wheat grown – Hard Red Winter Wheat, Soft Red Winter Wheat, Soft White Wheat, Dark Northern Spring (sometimes called Hard Red Spring), Durum, and Hard White Wheat.  The “hard” wheats are generally used in bread making and the “soft” wheats are used in pastas and baked goods.  In a broad generalization – Hard Red Winter wheat is generally grown in the Plains states, Soft Red Winter wheat is grown Missouri and east, Soft White Wheat in the Pacific Northwest, Dark Northern/Hard Red Spring and Durum grown in the northern region IE Dakotas and Montana.

Normally we would harvest wheat in late June or early July, but this year with the unseasonably warm spring we are about 3 weeks ahead of schedule.  Our wheat is in the “jointing” stage, and it is very vulnerable to damage if we should get a freeze in the next few weeks.  We can get freezing overnight temperatures through April, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed.  In 2007, there was an Easter freeze, and it was devastating to a large amount of the Kansas wheat crop.

Although we live in Kansas, and normally when you hear “Kansas” you might think KU basketball or “wheat state” — where we live in northeast Kansas, the conditions are really more suited for corn and soybean crops.  It’s actually been a few years since we’ve had any wheat.

We recently checked some of our wheat fields.

 

This is what the wheat looks like right now.  As you can see it looks like thick, tall grass.  Soon there will be a “head” that will emerge which will have the wheat kernels.

This is my handsome husband looking at the wheat.  As you can see it’s a little less than knee high right now.

With farming it’s about watching, observing, and adjusting to any problems.  And there are always problems to manage.  Some problems that we indentified are aphid insects and some rust is showing up.  We’ll need to make a decision if the aphids are bad enough that they need to be sprayed for.  Overall, since it was such a mild winter in our area, we anticipate that this year there will be more insect infestation.

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