“Also, make applications when the crop needs them, not when it’s convenient.”

Edwards said plant nutrition is a “field-by-field” process. “Apply the bulk of the crop’s nitrogen needs as a topdress. Soil test and lime as needed.”

He said a spinner fertilizer truck may result in streaking and he prefers an air truck.

“Yield potential for a wheat crop is locked in with all the building factors,” Edwards said. After topdressing, yield potential is set and growers turn to protecting yield.

Weed control is a key factor in preserving yield potential. “Identify weed species; identify and monitor problem weed locations and spray weeds when they are small,” Edwards recommended. “Also, rotate crops and chemistry.”

He said checking for insects requires a grower or consultant to get into the crop. “You can’t do it standing up,” he said. “I support integrated pest management but I would err on the side of caution. Also, move quickly when insect pests reach threshold. Seed treatments provide a benefit.”

Rotation is a crucial factor in disease management, he said. “Also, plant disease-free seed and plant during the optimal planting window. Use a fungicide when justified by yield potential.”

Edwards said managing straw at harvest is the first step in protecting the next crop. “Spread straw uniformly,” he recommended.

He said wheat producers should “experiment, evaluate and adjust,” production practices to develop an intensive management system.

“And the key to the system is footstep in the field.”