Friday, July 7, 2017 now Hosting All Updates

Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist and Director, Grain and Forage Center of Excellence, University of Kentucky

Timely articles and posts from your friends on the University of Kentucky Grains Extension Team are now available at That website is mobile-first, meaning that it is designed for access from smart phones and tablets. At that site, we also include our more recent and relevant grains extension publications. is a partnership between the University of Kentucky, The Kentucky Corn Growers Association, the Kentucky Soybean Board and the Kentucky Small Grains Growers Association. In addition to publications and posts from University of Kentucky Extension folks, you are likely to see some posts and updates relevant to the partner organizations. We hope you have enjoyed getting updates from the Grain Crops Update blog. We hope you will enjoy even more. Thanks.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017


Colette Laurent, UK Grain Crops Coordinator
The annual UK WHEAT FIELD DAY is slated for Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at the UK Research Farm in Princeton. (1205 Hopkinsville St., Princeton, KY 42445).  Registration will begin at 8:00 am (CDT) and the trailers will load at 8:45 (CDT). The tour will conclude with a lunch sponsored by the Kentucky Small Grain Growers Association.
Approved Credits include CCA: (1NM, 1CM, 1PM) and  Pesticide Hours: 1 General, 1 Specific (Category 1A, 10, 12).


Wheat Variety Trials (Walk Through)  
¨Dr. Dave Van Sanford ¨Bill Bruening
UAV Use in Wheat Production 
¨Dr. Tim Stombaugh ¨Peterson Farm 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Fungicide application for protection against scab – what do I do when I can’t hit the “perfect” timing?

Carl A. Bradley, Extension Plant Pathologist, University of Kentucky

Just like the porridge in the “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” story, there is a “just right” timing for when to apply a fungicide for protection against Fusarium head blight (a.k.a. scab) of wheat. That “just right” timing is the Feekes 10.5.1 growth stage (beginning flowering), when anthers are just beginning to extrude from the middle part of the wheat head. Unfortunately, not all main stems and tillers will be at this stage at the exact same time, but when 50% of the wheat heads are at this Feekes 10.5.1 growth stage, that is considered the “just right” timing for applying a fungicide for protection against Fusarium head blight.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


 Greg Halich, Extension Economist, University of Kentucky

A severe freeze in mid-March has likely damaged much of the wheat crop in Kentucky. The extent and severity of the damage will be better known one to two weeks after the freeze when baseline estimates can be made. Normally, producers would have three options to deal with wheat stands that have been damaged at this stage:
1) Stay the course, harvest the wheat and then double-crop soybeans.
2) Terminate the wheat stand and plant corn.
3) Terminate the wheat stand and plant full-season soybeans.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2017 Corn Planting Recommendations

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Chad Lee, Extension Agronomist, University of Kentucky

Corn planting for much of Kentucky is quickly approaching. Given the mild winter, average soil temperatures across Kentucky for the month of March are approximately 51°F. This is similar to last year’s average soil temperature of 52°F for the same period (March 1 to 25). However, it is several degrees warmer than the 10-year average of 48°F.

There are several things to consider before planting Kentucky’s 2017 corn crop:

1. The risk of the last spring freeze ranges from April 2 to April 29 in most years (50% probability; Table 1).

Friday, March 24, 2017

2017 UK Wheat Field School - EMERGENCY FREEZE EVENT Sessions Available Online

Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Specialist, University of Kentucky

Photo credit: Katie Pratt, UK Agricultural Communications

Video footage from the Wheat Field School – EMERGENCY FREEZE EVENT TRAINING is now available online. The training held on Tuesday March 21, 2017 at the UKREC in Princeton was broadcast live and recorded on Zoom. Click on the links below to view recorded sessions.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Varietal Differences in Freeze Damage

Dave Van Sanford, Wheat Breeding and Genetics, University of Kentucky and Bill Bruening, Small Grain Variety Testing, University of Kentucky
The wheat varieties we grow in KY will respond differently to the extremely low temperatures we have experienced over the past few days. Several traits come into play but the most important thing
for the grower to consider at this point is growth habit, which can range from completely prostrate to very upright.

Most of the wheat varieties grown in KY develop at a rate that is determined by heat units accumulated, which we commonly refer to as Growing Degree Days (GDD). These varieties were pushed by the unusually warm temperatures we experienced in February, so that many of them had reached jointing (Feekes 6) or beyond when the severe freezes began. A much smaller percentage of our wheat varieties are held back by sensitivity to daylength. These daylength sensitive varieties will not joint until they reach a daylength threshold – i.e. a minimum no. of hours of daylight. Such sensitive varieties remain prostrate in their growth habit until the threshold is reached and thus the growing point remains near the soil surface and is much more protected than the growing point in an upright variety at jointing or beyond.

Estimated Yield Potential for KY’s Freeze Damaged Wheat

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Bill Bruening, Small Grain Variety Testing, University of Kentucky
Dave Van Sanford, Wheat Breeding and Genetics, University of Kentucky
Lloyd Murdock, Emeritus Extension Soil Specialist, University of Kentucky

After several nights with temperatures near or below 24°F the jointed stems of KY’s wheat crop are probably terminated by cold temperatures. We now have to decide what to do with our freeze damaged wheat crop.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Scientist, University of Kentucky

The University of Kentucky Wheat Science Group will hold a Wheat Field School – EMERGENCY
WHEAT FREEZE EVENT at the UKREC in Princeton KY. This free program consist of a series of
short information sessions as well as a hands-on training to assess wheat damage in the field. UK specialists suggest that participants attending the meeting in Princeton bring whole plant wheat samples from their farm to assess and compare to non-damaged wheat.

Topics include: Wheat Freeze Overview, Economic Considerations, Chemical Residues and Future Implications, Nitrogen Contribution to Corn if Wheat is Terminated, Livestock Feeding Potential if Grain is Not Harvested, Plant Dissection for Freeze Damage Demo, Question and Answer Session, Hands-On Wheat Freeze Assessment.

For more information please click here or call Kelsey Mehl: 270-365-7541 ext. 200 or Colette Laurent: 270-365-7541 ext 264.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Assessing Winter Wheat Freeze Damage

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Last night temperatures dipped below 24°F for several hours throughout Kentucky. Winter wheat at the jointing (Feekes 6) growth stage, was likely damaged by these cold temperatures.

To assess wheat freeze damage:

1. Wait until high temperatures are at least 40°F for 5 to 7 days. According to the projected weather forecast, most of the state will have high temperatures greater than 40°F the next 7 days. Assess freeze damage next Tuesday or Wednesday. Any earlier than the middle of next week may provide an inaccurate estimate of damage.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017 Revenue Protection Insurance Projected Prices for Corn and Soybeans and Safety-Net Decisions

Todd Davis, Extension Economist, University of Kentucky
The projected prices for Revenue Protection (RP) crop insurance is established using the December 2017 corn and November 2017 soybeans futures contracts closing prices for the month of February.
Figure 1. 
2017 and Previous Years Corn Revenue Guarantee 
($/Acre) Compared to Total Variable Costs (Red line) 
and Total Variable Costs plus Rent (Black Line) at a 
150 bushel/Acre APH Yield
The 2017 projected prices for corn and soybeans are $3.96 and $10.19 per bushel, respectively. The
revenue guarantee provided by RP insurance for varying coverage levels are compared to the budgeted cost of production and the cost of production plus cash rent to analyze the risk protection provided by RP insurance.

The rainbow of colored columns in Figure 1 and Figure 2 represent the RP insurance revenue guarantees provided for the 2013 (dark blue), 2014 (dark red), 2015 (green), 2016 (orange), and 2017 (light blue) crop years. The multi-year comparison illustrates how the crop insurance safety net has declined over the last five years as ending stocks for corn and soybeans have rebuilt after the 2012 drought. The red line is the 2017 budgeted per acre input costs, and the black line is the input costs plus budgeted cash rent. The corn and soybean APH yields are 150 and 55 bushels/acre, respectively, for Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Freezing Temperatures Overnight May Damage Winter Wheat at Advanced Growth Stages in KY

Figure 1. Wheat heads showing freeze
damage at heading (Feekes 10.5)
Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Last night temperatures dipped to or below 24°F for several hours at many locations throughout Kentucky (Table 1). For winter wheat that has reached the jointing (Feekes 6) growth stage, damage (Figure 1) can occur to the developing wheat head, which is above the soil surface at jointing, when temperatures are 24°F or below for at least 2 hours.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Wheat: Earlier Aphid Occurrences May Be a Consequence of the 2017’s Warm Winter

Raul VillanuevaExtension Entomologist, University of Kentucky 
Figure 1. Pictures of the bird cherry oat aphid and
 a winged English grain aphid found in wheat fields
 in February 2017. (Photo credits Yaziri Gonzales).
In Kentucky there is a complex of aphid species that feeds on wheat. The bird cherry oat, the English
grain (Fig.1), the greenbug, and the corn aphids are the most important species. Their role as vectors of plant viruses, particularly Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus (BYDV), branded them as the key pest on
wheat grain production. These aphid species overwinter as nymphs, and can be active when temperatures are above 45⁰ F. It is known that BYDV infections are more damaging when they occur in early growth stages of the wheat plant. Thus, aphids have more opportunities to infect young plants under this climatological circumstances.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winter Wheat at Advanced Growth Stages due to Warm Winter in KY

Carrie Knott, Extension Agronomist-Princeton, University of Kentucky
Lloyd Murdock, Emeritus Extension Soil Specialist, University of Kentucky
Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Specialist-Princeton, University of Kentucky

Table 1. Wheat plants at jointing (Feekes 6).
Unseasonably warm temperatures in KY since wheat planting (October 15, 2016) may become a major challenge to wheat yield and profitability this year. Since Oct 15, 2016, KY has accumulated about 2000 GDD growing degree days (GDD) or heat units. In most years, only about 1500 GDD are accumulated by mid-February, while 2000 GDD are typically accumulated around the end of March in KY.

These extraordinarily warm days and large number of GDD have resulted in wheat crops that are at a more advanced growth stage for this time of year. Typically, most of KY wheat in mid-February is beginning to break dormancy and initiate active growth: Feekes 3, Green-up. However, there are several reports in KY that wheat is jointing (Feekes 6; Figures 1 & 2).

This is very concerning because at jointing (Feekes 6) the growing point (developing wheat head) is above the soil surface and is vulnerable to damage, including freeze damage. The risk of freeze damage is quite high because throughout KY there is still at least a 6 to 9 week window that a freeze typically occurs (Table 1).
Figure 2. Wheat plant at jointing with dissected wheat head. 

Table 1. Probabilities for the date of the last spring freeze (32°F) in Kentucky based upon data from 1981 to 2010 (Arguez et al., 2010 provided by S. Foster, State Climatologist for Kentucky). Probabilities that the last spring freeze will occur on or after the date listed. For example, for 90% probability the last spring freeze will occur on or later than the date listed 90% of the time (nine out of ten years), while at the 10% probability level the last spring freeze will occur on or later than the dates listed 10% of the time (one out of ten years).

Kentucky Location
Date of Last Spring Freeze (32°F or less) in Kentucky by Probability Level
Bowling Green
Nolan River Lake


• For wheat crops that have not received any nitrogen, consider a single nitrogen application as late as Feekes 6 or 7 growth stage. Delaying nitrogen application may reduce plant growth and the risk of freeze damage.
    o Research in KY has shown that with sufficient tillers, nitrogen application can be delayed as late
       as Feekes 6 or 7 with little or no yield reduction.
    o Normally nitrogen is applied by Feekes 5 or 6 to maximize yield. With the accelerated growth
       this year, delaying nitrogen application until Feekes 6 or 7 could retard wheat development and
       provide additional freeze protection, depending on when a freeze occurs.
    o Yield will be reduced if nitrogen application is delayed beyond Feekes 7, such as delays due to
       weather or field conditions.
• For wheat crops at jointing, Feekes 6, that have already received nitrogen applications, there is nothing that will protect the crop from freeze damage. The best approach is to consider delaying the second nitrogen application until Feekes 6 or 7, potentially reducing the severity of freeze damage.
• Freeze injury occurs when temperatures fall to 24°F or below for 2 or more hours at the jointing growth stage: Feekes 6.
• If freezing temperatures remain above 24°F there is only a slight risk of freeze damage.
• In Western KY, the wheat crop does not appear to be as advanced as other areas of the state. Last fall there was a considerable drought that may have resulted in ‘dormant’ wheat in the fall (due to lack of water) when other areas of the state wheat was actively growing. These areas will likely be most profitable following ‘normal’ wheat management recommendations.
• Be prepared to scout fields much earlier than usual for insects and plant diseases. The warm winter temperatures have also resulted in greater insect populations in KY, specifically cereal aphid species, which may increase the incidence of barley yellow dwarf virus.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Kentucky Yield Contest Images are Available

Images from the Kentucky Yield Contests are available online. Feel free to download your images. University of Kentucky photographer Steve Patton took the images with professional equipment. The images are a service of the university. There are two pages of images. The first page begins with images taken during the conference. The contest winners are taken roughly in order of plaques presented during the banquet. If you don't see your images on the first page, click on the second page (bottom right corner of the screen). In case the link above does not work, you can copy and paste this address into your browser:

The state winner images and links to all photos are also linked here.

The Kentucky Commodity Conference was held January 19, 2017 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. The awards banquet honored those who served with distinction, the top CCA for Kentucky, and the yield contest winners for wheat, soybean and corn in 2016. Lists for all the state contest winners are available at:

Friday, February 3, 2017

Register for the UK WHEAT PRODUCTION FIELD SCHOOL: Hands-On Training

Edwin Ritchey, Extension Soil Specialists, University of Kentucky

The UK Wheat Science Group with support from the Kentucky Small Grain Growers' Association will offer three hands-on training sessions on managing wheat in Kentucky - GREEN-UP (March 8th) - PRIOR TO FLOWERING (April 26th) - PRE-PLANT (TBA).
These trainings are directed towards crop advisors and farm managers who provide agronomic guidance for wheat production. The sessions will be held on the UKREC Farm (1205 Hopkinsville Street in Princeton, KY) from 9am - 3:00pm CST (Lunch is included). Class size is limited to 30 people per training. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED - see links below.  

Educational credits for the March 8th “GREEN-UP training” have been approved for the following: Pesticide Credits: 3 General Hours & 1 Specific Hours (Cat 1A, 10, 12) CCA Credits: 2.5 SW, 1 PM, 2.5 CM

Monday, January 30, 2017

Poultry Litter Forum in Owensboro

For those that were not able to join us for the poultry litter forum "Managing Poultry Litter Lessons From The Delmarva and Ohio Valley", it can be viewed at the link below. This was part of the AgExpo in Owensboro on January 25th, 2017 and was sponsored by the Kentucky Soybean Board and Kentucky Corn Growers Association. Thank you both for supporting this effort and special thanks to the producers on the panel for sharing their stories.

Poultry Litter Forum Video

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

2017 UK Wheat Science Service Award

Don Halcomb was the 2017 UK Wheat Science Service Award recipient. Sam Halcomb accepted the award for Don at the 2017 UK Winter Wheat meeting in Hopkinsville.

Conducting research trials in grower’s fields is an essential component of agricultural research. Don has hosted numerous on-farm research projects ranging from soil fertility to Ag Engineering, including two decades of continuous wheat breeding and variety trials. He has also hosted multiple small grains research field days at his farm.

He has consistently challenged the research group to find innovative solutions to current and future issues to ensure that KY remains a progressive leader in Ag. The UK Wheat Science group has received much recognition for implementing many of Don’s forward thinking ideas and direction for high impact research.
As a leader of agriculture in the state, Don has been an advocate for UK Ag research and has been instrumental in the success of this group as well as UK Ag as a whole.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

UK forum to discuss poultry litter BMPs

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Jan. 17, 2017) – Producers face challenges and opportunities when applying poultry litter to cropland. The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture Food and Environment will host a forum to help producers learn best management practices to apply poultry litter.

The forum, titled Poultry Litter Lessons from the Delmarva and the Ohio Valley, will begin at 1:30 p.m. CST Jan. 25 at the Owensboro Convention Center and again at 9:30 a.m. CST Jan. 26 at the Christian County Extension office. They are sponsored by the Kentucky Soybean Promotion Board and the Kentucky Corn Promotion Council.

The forums will feature Kentucky producers who use poultry litter as well as two producers who face strict environmental regulations like those in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“The management practices a producer uses will determine the economic, agronomic and environmental impact that poultry litter has on their operation,” said Jordan Shockley, UK agricultural economist. “We hope the producer panel generates audience participation and discussion on ways Kentucky producers can best use poultry litter in their operations.”

For more information on the program, contact Shockley at; Edwin Ritchey, UK soil extension specialist, at; Clint Hardy, Daviess County agriculture and natural resources extension agent, at; or Jay Stone, Christian County agriculture and natural resources extension agent, at

Writer: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774

UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment through its land-grant mission, reaches across the commonwealth with teaching, research and extension to enhance the lives of Kentuckians.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Yield Penalty from Second Year Soybean

John Grove, Agronomic Soil Scientist and Director, Research and Education Center, University of Kentucky

Growers are considering planting soybean after soybean, especially full season soybean after full season soybean, over some acreage in 2017. Many growers have little experience with second year full season soybean, having kept with their existing crop rotations. Other growers, experiencing problems like soybean cyst nematode in some fields, have avoided soybean after soybean on all acres they manage. I observed two extension agricultural economics presentations modeling profit/loss to different crop rotation options, and where second year soybean yield loss relative to first year soybean was set at either 5 or 10 %, in the absence of field data.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Dicamba Products Receive Approval for Use in RR2Xtend Soybean

J.D. Green , Extension Weed Scientist, University of Kentucky

Two dicamba formulations, XtendiMaxTM (Monsanto) and EngeniaTM (BASF), received federal EPA approval in December for use with RoundupReady2Xtend soybean. In addition to federal registration, a pesticide must also be registered and approved within a state before it can be sold. The XtendiMaxTM product received state approval in early January for applications in Kentucky. The EngeniaTM product is still pending state approval, but is anticipated in the near future. These products can be applied before or immediately after planting Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Soybeans or as an in-crop application from emergence (cracking) up to and including the beginning bloom (R1 growth stage of soybeans). The RoundupReady2 Xtend soybean technology provides another tool for targeting weeds that have developed resistance to other herbicide chemistries, but should be combined with other herbicide options and weed management tools for best herbicide resistance management. Because of the chemical characteristics of dicamba, good stewardship by applicators will be required to lessen the potential for off-target movement and damage to sensitive crops and other plants.