After years of battling growing conditions that are too dry, western Kansas wheat producers are now seeing poor emergence in some fields because of last month's heavy rains.
Jeanne Falk-Jones, K-State extension agronomist based in Colby, said the hard rain events caused some fields to crust, making it hard for the wheat plant's fragile coleoptile to break through the soil surface.
She says other fields had rain wash soil into freshly planted furrows and bury the seed much deeper than the producer intended, making those plants slower to emerge.
Producers may need to evaluate the stand
"Even though we have topsoil moisture this fall, we are still seeing some establishment problems," Falk-Jones said. "It's certainly not something we see in every field, but there are a number of producers in the Colby area scouting fields and trying to make decisions about replanting. More often than not, if the wheat was already up when the rains came, it's probably OK, but if that seed is trying to break through a crust or is too deep, producers may need to evaluate the stand."
In a recent update from K-State's Agronomy Department, Extension Agronomist Jim Shroyer noted that if a producer is finding young plants that have not emerged and have a coleoptile that is crinkled, it is a sure sign the plants could not break through the crusted topsoil. In the event that seed has been placed too deep - either by planting or by sifting soil - producers will find plants with scrunched coleoptiles and the plant's first leaf under the soil surface.