News Release Distributed 11/13/13
BATON ROUGE, La. – Farmers have planted most of Louisiana’s wheat crop. With ideal weather recently, they’ve been able to plant quickly.
“We’ve had good conditions,” said LSU AgCenter wheat specialist Josh Lofton. “The rain has played with us nicely. We’ve had some showers that helped with germination, but not enough to kick us out of the field for long periods of time.”
Lofton said planting is around 80 percent complete. He estimates Louisiana will have about 250,000 acres of wheat – about the same planted last year. Wheat prices are down slightly, and acreage could have been lower, but Lofton said because of the good weather, farmers kept planting more acres than expected.
He said the Hessian fly, a destructive pest of wheat, could be a problem for growers who planted early.
“If growers have gone in and kind of jumped the gun a little bit, that’s something they need to start looking out for,” he said.
Rust disease was a problem on the previous wheat crop.
“Those areas that are prone to rust need to start thinking about foliar fungicides to kind of help lock that in check,” Lofton said.
The LSU AgCenter has helped develop varieties less susceptible to rust, but growers can also use chemicals to control the disease.
Lofton stressed the importance of keeping fields weed-free during the growing season. He said warm temperatures or rainfall that would help the wheat grow also would help the weeds.
Some rainfall is good for germination and growth, but a relatively dry winter and spring would be beneficial to the crop.