Tips For Growing Small Grains

Spring is here and it looks like it is going to be moving fast. Isaac Popp, a Crop Advisor at Centra Sota’s Little Falls location shared some insights on growing small grains. These tips will help ensure a successful growing season.

Getting seed in the ground
Most spring seeding dates are determined by weather. With that being said University standards say the optimum seeding rate in Centra Sota’s geography is around the second week of April. When asked about the optimal planting populations for small grains Isaac mentions it is different depending on the type of small grains and seeding rates should be as follows:
-Wheat: 1.5 bushel/ acre
-Rye: 1 bushel/ acre
-Oats: 2.5 bushel/ acre

Nitrogen is the most influential nutrient for small grain crops. Fertilizer rates and recommendations are created based on expected yield and goals. Fertilizer applications will influence grain yields the most between the five leaf and heading stages.

Weeds and Pests
When asked when weeds should be addressed in small grains Isaac said Bison is the most common herbicide spayed on small grains and according to the label it should be applied before the plant is either at the 8-leaf stage or 4 inches in height.

When inquiring about insects that are typically problematic, Isaac recommends keeping an eye out for Armyworms, as they are the most common insect in small grains. It is important to scout regularly and apply insecticide if local thresholds are reached.

The most common diseases are Bacterial Leaf Streak (BLS) and Black Chaff. BLS can be identified by brown lines on the leaves. Black Chaff can be identified by seeing darkened glumes (shell where the grain is formed). According to Isaac these are the two most common diseases in small grains, but there are several other diseases that may occur. To have these diseases identified, contact a Centra Sota Crop Advisor who can also help create a plan for treatment.

When speaking to Isaac about fungicide he said it should be sprayed before the flag leaf emerges. Spraying once is usually most cost effective unless the field has a history of disease issues, then a different management plan will need to be developed.

When asked if there are other ways to manage disease, Isaac conveys that good tillage practices can go a long way. This tillage can help decrease the frequency and severity of diseases.
If you have any questions about small grains or would like to put together a management plan click the button below to get in contact with your local Centra Sota Crop Advisor.

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