There’s nothing growers can do at this point about the corn part of the equation, but getting the most yield and most profit out of their double-crop beans is going to be directly related to how well they manage their wheat crop.

Most of the fertilization strategy has already been carried out on wheat, but there is an important spring application that growers shouldn’t miss, according Randy Weisz, small grains specialist at North Carolina State University.

Nitrogen management is one of the most important keys to successful small grain production. It is also one of the easiest management strategies to misuse, resulting in yield reductions and environmental damage.

“To achieve optimum yields, follow the correct nitrogen guidelines for applications in the fall, winter, late January to early February, and at Growth Stage 30, which usually occurs in March in the Upper Southeast,” Weisz says.

“If at the end of January or in the first week of February, wheat looks thick and green, it is likely well on its way to producing a high yielding crop.

“Wheat in this category should have about 100 well-developed tillers per square foot and should not have any nitrogen applied until Growth Stage 30, again sometime in March,” he adds.

Getting wheat planted on time and keeping it growing and healthy until springtime is an ongoing challenge.

Last year’s record warm winter created myriad problems for wheat and set the crop up for some significant yield losses from two freezes that hit the area in April.

The warm winter weather was also one of the reasons for outbreaks of wheat diseases, some of which don’t usually occur in the region. In general, the formula for high yields on wheat in the Southeast is: Resistance plus fungicides equals yield.

Finding the right balance between planting a wheat variety with resistance to multiple diseases and one with highest yield potential is an ongoing challenge.

The best balance between the two is fungicides. The use of these materials in wheat has grown exponentially with the rising value of the crop.

The first key to maximizing fungicide efficacy and value on wheat is to know the diseases that commonly infect the crop.

Growers have three basic options of fungicides: triazoles, strobilurins and a combination of the two. Some work on some diseases and not on others and some are simply not labeled for all the diseases that annually plague wheat in the Upper Southeast.

Head scab, or more technically correct, fusarium head blight, can be one of the most devastating diseases of wheat.