May 5, 2000 | By: Ellen Brightwell

No-till production, weed control and new crop opportunities are among the sessions scheduled during a Wheat Field Day May 18. It will begin at 9 a.m. (CDT) on Henry and Joe Sanger's farm near Hickman in Fulton County.

No-till wheat performs comparably to tilled wheat based on long-term research using a cropping system of corn, wheat and double-cropped soybeans, according to Jim Herbek, Extension grains specialist at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton.

"Although no-till wheat has slightly lower yields in the long term, the reduced tillage appears to have positive effects on corn and soybean yields," Herbek said. "Our research is starting to show better corn and soybean yields in the no-till wheat system than in the tilled system. We're also looking at the long-term effects no-till and tilled have in this cropping system, such as the physical and chemical characteristics of soil."

In another session, Jim Martin will give an update on research to assess the effectiveness of pre-harvest herbicide applications on the viability of Italian annual ryegrass seed.

"The spread of ryegrass often is attributed to the scattering of weed seed by combines during harvest. Since ryegrass matures slightly later then wheat, we wanted to see if using a herbicide after wheat seed matured but before the ryegrass seed matured might help limit the viability of ryegrass," explained Martin, an Extension weed specialist at the Research and Education Center.

"Although Roundup Ultra might help manage selected weeds, it's unlikely to reduce the viability of Italian ryegrass seed.," he said. "Ryegrass seed germination ranged from 91 to 97 percent. The pre-harvest application appeared to be relatively safe to wheat when applied according to label directions."

In another session, field day participants will receive an update on the New Crop Opportunity Center from Larry Grabau, professor of agronomy.

Grabau said the center will be a interdisciplinary effort of several university departments. Scientists will focus on developing new opportunities for grain crops Kentucky farmers already grow. These projects could include insect control recommendations for high-oil corn; developing a high-quality soybean variety or food uses, and improving soft white winter wheat, which Kentucky growers currently are selling at a solid premium. Other projects will focus on profitability for several value-added grain crops such as market premiums, grain yields, production expenses and/or risks, and various cooperative marketing strategies.

Other field day topics will be on market classes of wheat not normally grown in Kentucky, no-till and tilled variety trials, insect control and grain conditioning for stored wheat.

People attending the field day can receive two and one-half hours of Certified Crop Advisor credit. The Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association will provide lunch.

To reach the Sanger farm from the south (state line) take Highway 94 east for about seven miles. Look for field day signs. From the east side of Hickman on Highways 94 or 125, take highway 1099 south to bypass Hickman. At the intersection of highways 1009 and 94, take highway 94 west for about four miles. Look for field day signs.

For more information, contact Lincoln Martin, Fulton County agent for agriculture and natural resources, at (270) 236-2351 or e-mail at or Dottie Call, Wheat Science Group coordinator, at (270) 365-7541, Ext. 234 or e-mail to Note: No product endorsement is implied, nor discrimination against similar materials intended, by the mention of a brand name in this article.