More than 100 farmers from six counties in the southern end of North Carolina saw some of the best looking wheat in the state and got updates on statewide research from small grain specialists at North Carolina State University during a recent field day.

The field day, held at Wilton Shooter and Sons farm near Rowland, N.C., featured wheat weed management tips, an update on wheat diseases and fungicide options, wheat variety performance, and management strategies for high yields on sandy Coastal Plain soils.

Veteran North Carolina State University Weed Scientist Alan York kicked the meeting off with an update on wheat weed and grass management.

“The broadleaf story is pretty simple. Most folks use Harmony Extra — it’s a little broader spectrum than dicambas or 2,4D-containing herbicides. Harmony is a little easier on the wheat, and it has become the standard for wheat growers in North Carolina,” York says.

“Ryegrass control is a whole different story, he notes. In the Piedmont area of North Carolina, ryegrass has been a particularly troublesome problem. We don’t see it as much in the southeastern end of the state, but we’re getting there,” York says.

“More and more people are planting no-till wheat, and I can’t over-emphasize that they need to start clean, regardless of which grass is the problem. It just helps if you start clean, so most times they need a burn-down herbicide.

“Typically, growers with corn in the rotation don’t have a big problem with ryegrass in wheat. However, in fields with continuous wheat and double-crop beans, that’s a good recipe for ryegrass problems.

“Research in North Carolina indicates one ryegrass plant per square yard reduces yield one third of one percent. With the price of wheat, infestations at 10 plants or so every square yard provides enough economic incentive to treat,” York says.