Spring Wheat Planting Date Report


The localvore movement has revived otherwise historical crops in Vermont, including small-scale grain production. As the demand for local organic wheat has risen over the last few years, University of Vermont Extension has developing best agronomic practices for wheat production in a Northeastern climate. In an organic system, weed management can be one of the biggest challenges. One strategy to manage weeds is to modify planting dates. Early planting dates can establish a crop prior to weed flushes while a late planted crop can help avoid some weed species. Planting date can also have an overall impact on both grain yield and quality. Certain crop varieties may also have characteristics (i.e. height) that can help to compete against weed populations. However, some varieties may respond better to earlier or later planting dates. Another struggle that Northeastern wheat farmers face is disease, most notably, Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), caused predominantly by Fusarium graminearum. This disease can cause yield loss, low test weight, low seed germination, and will produce mycotoxins. The primary mycotoxin produced by FHB is a vomitoxin called deoxynivalenol (DON). Spores are usually transmitted by air currents and can infect plants at flowering through grain fill. One of the goals of this project was to evaluate if planting date will have an effect on the susceptible time period of flowering through grain fill, and in turn if it will influence mycotoxin presence and other quality factors in the harvested grain

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