Variety Selection

The best way to minimize the threat of leaf rust and stripe rust is to plant several resistant varieties of soft red winter wheat. Rust races change from year to year, and planting multiple resistant varieties is a time-proven strategy to protect your investment. In the event of a rust race change, it is not likely that all of our locally adapted varieties will become susceptible at the same time. Planting multiple varieties of differing maturities will also hedge your risk from other environmental variables such as a late spring freeze.

Timely Planting

Thirty years of local research has shown the best time to plant wheat for grain in Northeast Texas is October 25 to November 10. Earlier planting exposes the crop to more damage from foliar diseases, and increases the risk to infestations of Hessian fly and aphids. Mid to late November planting will reduce threats from foliar diseases and insects, but it shortens the tillering time and can potentially reduce yields.

Fertility

Manage wheat for high yields. Sixty to eighty bushel wheat is a realistic goal in Northeast Texas, and the required amount of N, P and K to achieve these levels is warranted. Nitrogen fertilization should be timed to provide the greatest amount of nitrogen to the plants just prior to jointing in the spring. Excessive fall nitrogen is detrimental, unless grazing is the primary objective because it encourages early foliar disease development. Phosphorus is more efficient applied in the row, and we can produce more wheat with less fertilizer by placing the phosphate in the row at planting.