April 5, 1999 | By: Ellen Brightwell

Want to know how to increase your wheat crop profits?

Then you'll want to attend the University of Kentucky Wheat Field Day May 19 in Princeton. Agricultural scientists will give you bushels of information on maximizing profits and no-till wheat production during wagon tours of research plots at the Research and Education Center and research walking tours at Trevor and Donnie Gilkey's farm adjacent to the REC.

The wheat field day will be from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (CDT). The Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association will provide lunch following the event. Field day participants can receive three hours of Certified Crop Advisor credit.

Tours at the REC will include long-term research on no-till wheat, making no-till wheat production profitable, residue management, spring insect control, and potential wheat herbicide injury to double-crop soybeans. Tours at the Gilkey farm will focus on no-till and conventional variety trials, no-till drill performance, fertility, seeding rates, fungicide control of head scab, and weed management and ryegrass control in wheat.

"Long-term research indicates no-till wheat can be successful. In our six-year trial, the no-till yields have averaged about five bushels an acre less than conventional wheat due to freezes in late winter or early spring," said Lloyd Murdock, Extension agronomist with the UK College of Agriculture.

"You can produce no-till wheat with yields comparable to conventional wheat by following seeding rate, planting and herbicide recommendations," he added. "Even with the

occasional small yield penalty, no-till has several advantages to growers. It reduces the time and money spent on tillage when you're busy harvesting corn and soybeans. No-till also allows timely planting and reduces equipment expenses."

In another part of the six-year research project, Murdock planted no-till soybeans the first year behind no-till and conventional wheat treatments and corn the second year after these wheat treatments.

"Our soybean yields increased about four percent and corn yields improved more than six percent, compared to results of conventional wheat," he said. "Increases in soybean and corn yields more than compensated for the small drop in no-till wheat yields."

Another field day tour will focus on performance of wheat varieties in no-tillage and conventional tillage production systems, according to Dave Van Sanford, UK wheat breeder.

"As we continue to learn about what factors affect the success of no-till wheat, it's natural to wonder if the varieties that perform well under conventional tillage also perform well

under no tillage. And if so, what are the characteristics of these varieties?," he said.

Growers on this tour also will pass by every entry in the variety trial and receive a summary of each one's characteristics.

On another tour, growers will see the results of various seeding rates for conventional and no-till wheat, according to Jim Herbek, Extension agronomist.

"We want to determine what is the best seeding rate from both a yield and economical standpoint," he said. "The ultimate goal is to use a rate that's sufficient to produce a stand that gives us optimum yields. From an economical standpoint, we want to see if we can save seed costs by lowering the seeding rate and still achieve a stand that produces optimal yields."

In a residue management study, Herbek is looking at how corn residue management

practices affect no-till wheat production. These practices include mowing corn residue versus planting directly into the residue; using two different mowers to shred residue; different ways to plant wheat seed into non-mowed residue; normal versus higher seeding rates; and planting no-till wheat behind different corn hybrid maturities.

"When you're trying to manage weeds in wheat, it's important to target herbicides to the specific weeds and to time the application for maximum effectiveness. For example, use a fall application for cool season annuals like ryegrass and certain broadleaf weeds and a spring application for wild garlic," said Jim Martin, Extension agronomist. "Another important decision is how to manage nitrogen fertilizer around your herbicide applications."

For more information on the wheat field day, contact Dottie Call, coordinator of the Wheat Science Group, at (502) 365-7541, Ext. 234, or via e-mail to dcall@ca.uky.edu.

Sources: Lloyd Murdock (502) 365-7541 Ext. 207

Dave Van Sanford (606) 257-5811

Jim Herbek (502) 365-7541 Ext. 205

Jim Martin (502) 365-7541, Ext. 203

Contact: 

Writer: Ellen Brightwell
(606) 257-1376