Winter wheat planting is under way

Published: Oct. 19, 2016 at 5:21 PM MDT
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Some farmers have already begun planting winter wheat and barley, while others will plant those once they're done harvesting the sugar beets and potatoes. The rain over the past few days have also kept some farmers out of the field.

“This rainy weather that we've gotten has prevented farmers from getting out to the fields at all. So the wheat and barley planting will be delayed a little bit, said Don Morishita, Superintendent of Kimberley Research and Extension Center at the University Of Idaho, and a Professor of Weed Science.

Don says the rule of thumb for planting winter wheat and barley is to be done by the end of October, but that's also dependent on the weather.

"You know if it stays warm we'll, the grains will either, the wheat or the barley will become, come up and get established and do just fine over the winter,” said Don.

Farmers also have to take precautions to reduce their risk of barley yellow dwarf virus, which Don says is a primary disease of concern to cereal growers.

“This delaying of the planting is one way of helping that,” said Don. “One thing that we always advise farmers not to do is not to plant their winter grain too early in the season while there's still other grasses out that are green that are serving as hosts to these aphids, the insects that carry the virus."

Don also says getting a good killing frost will take care of most of the aphids, but the Magic Valley hasn't gotten a good frost yet. He has another solution for farmers.

"The growth of some of these winter annual weeds like cheat grass or dryer’s woad serves as an excellent host, alternate host for these aphids. So it's a good idea to manage those too,” said Don.