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Tale of two fields; Best of times, worst of times for wheat

Staff writer

Dusty Bina figures he has some of the best-looking winter wheat in the area and some that’s not so good-looking.

Wheat in a field he planted early in the first half of September near 280th and Zebulon Rds. is looking good and green. A rain right after planting helped a lot.

But he also has wheat that looks spotty.

“Some might not come up till spring,” he said.

He planted about 300 acres of wheat, and 200 acres will be grazed.

As of last week, extension agent Rickey Roberts had worried about winter wheat not coming up because of lack of moisture.

“To be honest, I wasn’t sure that we had enough moisture there to get the wheat up, but we have,” he said.

Roberts spent last week in Indianapolis at a national FFA convention.

“All the wheat that I had seen up prior to leaving town was planted in ground that didn’t have a growing crop in it,” Roberts said. “More of it has come up than I thought would, and that’s a very good thing.”

Winter wheat is planted in the fall. It goes dormant during winter.

“As the soils warm back up in the spring, then that wheat will take off and grow, and we’ll harvest that crop in late June,” Roberts said.

Right now, winter wheat doesn’t need a lot of moisture, he said.

“But what my fear is, when is it going to turn cold? If it’s a dry, cold soil, then that can kill a wheat crop, too,” Roberts said. “Before winter gets here, I wish we could get some moisture because that essentially will protect the roots of that wheat crop.”

Moisture, he said, acts like a blanket.

“It helps to insulate the roots,” he said. “It’s what keeps the winter from killing the wheat. If it stays warm, and that wheat tries to grow, then it’s going to want moisture to grow. I can’t imagine we have moisture for that right now.”

That means sprouted wheat could die.

Roberts remains hopeful.

Last modified Nov. 3, 2022

 

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