Wheat. Types of soil and fertilizer.
Although wheat can grow in poor lands, it prefers rich soils. The best land for growing wheat is the loose one, provided with good drainage to avoid fungus growth. Avoid the soil where water stagnation occurs, too compacted soils or those that prevent the normal development of roots.
Wheat does not support sandy and peaty soils or those with a high acidity. The ideal soil is neutral or alkaline with a pH between 5.5 and 7.
Among the possible necessary fertilizers we would have the following:
- Nitrogen: A suitable nitrogen level is essential for the development of the plant. Nitrogen is necessary for the formation of proteins of the plants. Between all these, chlorophyll is one of the most important. The lack of this component is manifested in yellowing in times of growth of the reeds.
Traditionally, the nitrogen was incorporated into the soil through crop rotation of wheat with legumes, which meant no need to add it.
At present, for soils which have not been previously planted with legumes, you should provide additional quantities of nitrate in a typical proportion of 30 kg per ha. Sometimes you will need an analysis of soil nitrogen levels to avoid its excess. This could lead to a too high plant density with the consequent possibility of disease due to lack of aeration.
- Phosphorus: This is another element that can not be neglected if we want the plant to grow well and bear abundant fruits. It is appropriate to apply it in the form of soluble phosphorus pentoxide (P2O5) when the plant starts to grow well in spring. Coinciding with the first application of nitrogen in the form of a compound fertilizer NPK (nitrogen phosphorus (P2 O5) and potassium (K2 0)
- Potassium is necessary for the proper functioning of the leaf. Without adequate potassium they are not able to open wide the stomata for the transpiration and gas exchange with the atmosphere. Signs of a lack of potassium are the appearance of chlorosis, burning of dry leaves or bending of the ends of the leaves . Without adequate levels of this mineral, grain is little filled , because this mineral is necessary for a good balance between carbohydrates and proteins. Potassium can produce a better hay and a heavier grain . Sandy soils, which have been subjected to irrigated crop rotations are often the most deficient. It is applied in the form of potassium chloride along with the seed or near to it.
- Sulphur: It can be applied when symptoms of deficiency such as yellowing of the plant with adequate levels of nitrogen, growing in sandy or low organic material.
- Other elements that could be necessary are magnesium or calcium.
Wheat. Plagues and diseases.
The main plagues that affect it are:
Aphids (Aphidae): These are insects that suck the sap through their tubular mouths . Among all, we have, for example, the cereal aphid (Schizaphis graminum). Besides stealing the sap, the secretions of these animals are used by many fungi to thrive. Treatment may include the use of appropriate insecticide or the use of alternative methods such as using insects that eat them.
Bugs (Scutelleridae) The most famous and dangerous of all is the Green Bug (Eurygaster integriceps) which feeds on the stem in the early stages of wheat formation, which can cause stunting of the wheat, deformities in the grain or underdevelopment.
The worst of this plague is the ability of adults to introduce their toxins in the grain which produces a change in the chemical composition, preventing the formation of gluten and therefore making it not suitable for bread flour. It was found that with only 1% of the grains affected it can ruin all the rest.
This type of bugs usually hibernates in the fields or forests near wheat fields, when these have been collected. They return to them in the spring to put their eggs. When the counts show a percentage of 10 adults/m2, you should spray the crop to eliminate and prevent it from spreading.
The plague affects many regions of central Europe, having been widely reported in countries such as Hungary and Romania. It also appears frequently in the Middle East.
Locust (Lacusta migratoria). It is a pest in some African and Asian countries which devours entire plantations. There is no treatment for it.
Wheat stem sawfly (Cephus cinctus) is a common pest in some countries. The damage is produced by the wasp larvae that feed inside the stems until they kill the plant. The solution is to use pest-resistant species. It is necessary to break either infected cultures to prevent its spread. The organic solution planted passes the edges of the fields with plant species that attract the insect, like the grass Bromus inermis. This pest is very common in the plains of southern Canada and northern United States, affecting only those varieties with a later development.
The main diseases that affect the wheat are:
- Dwarf Bunt of Wheat. (Tilletia controversa) is a fungal disease that affects the winter wheat. Affected plants have a less than healthy development. When you look at the spikes you find that many of the grains have been replaced by dusty black spore masses. The plants have a characteristic smell like stale fish.
Infection occurs during the winter crops covered by snow. The highly resistant spores that can survive and more than 10 years inactive. To prevent infection it is convenient to use summer varieties are not affected by the fungus or winter varieties resistant to disease. Proper treatment of seeds can help prevent infection.
- Coal wheat. (Ustilago nuda) It is another fungal disease with symptoms similar to the blight. The infection comes from within the grain because the fungus enters the endosperm during grain formation, so that, when originating new plants, are infected.
The treatment involves the use of an appropriate fungicide if the plant is infected. Prevention of this disease is achieved using guaranteed seeds have been treated previously.
- Septoria: There are two types of septoria of wheat produced by two types of fungi in the genus Septoria (Septoria nodorum / Septoria tritici). The first produces lesions on leaves in the form of lenticular spots surrounded by a green line. Rarely the infection affects the stems that bend and break. In the case of S. tritici symptoms manifest in the form of gray-green lesions on leaves.
These infections occur during periods of abundant moisture and warm climates and can be caused by several reasons: windblown spores by rain or by planting seeds that were already infected. The treatment involves the use of appropriate fungicides, while the use of resistant varieties is the most effective prevention method, along with other practices such as crop rotation, deep plowing and abundant land
- Powdery mildew (Blumeria graminis): This type of fungus produces a gray-white on the upper leaves, beginning in the form of circular spots, is being expanded to produce larger areas of brown that eventually destroy the leaves. Another feature of this disease is its ability to produce large plants sprouting new stems without reaching born cause seeds.
This infection peaks in the early spring when the temperature lies above 20 º C and moisture is abundant. As the heat increases or decreases its virulence temperature decreases while its activity may continue between 10 and 22 º C. Similarly the presence of too much nitrogen in the soil, along with the use of semi dwarf varieties.
Fungicide use, especially for winter varieties, and nitrogen control can help prevent excessive development of this disease.
- Fusarium is a type of disease caused by Fusarium fungi among which we can point out the following: Fusarium graminearum, Fusarium nivale and Fusarium culmorum.
In addition to the corresponding damage to the plant resulting in lower production, one must consider that it is a fungus that produces mycotoxins which are toxic to animals and people.
This type of fungi, that affects so much to the wheat as to rice, barley, corn or rye, and many wild plants developed especially with hot conditions and humidity, being the ideal temperature of 15 ° to 20 ° C and humidity above 90%.
The treatment involves the use of appropriate fungicides, along with the selection of more resistant species, the practice of deep plowing or constant crop rotation with species non susceptible to infection are the best ways to control this disease.
More information on wheat in the listing above