Itís been six days since weíve looked at our field. Everything appears to be doing fine. There are a couple things we need to be watching for at this time. We need to watch for foliar (leaf) diseases and kernel development.
Iíve got two leaves in my hand. The one on the right is the flag leaf and the one on the left is a leaf that is two below the flag leaf. The first thing you notice is the flag leaf is very healthy compared to the leaf on the left. The tip of the left leaf is turning yellow, but thatís normal for this time of year. Look behind my hand at the leaves on the bottom of the plants. They are turning yellow too. We say those leaves are senescing or dying slowly. But Iím looking for foliar diseases, so Iím trying to find unusual spots on the leaf. And if you look closely, you can see a few spots. Thatís a disease called leaf rust. They are small orange spots or pustules. There arenít very many so far, but when they become visible on the flag leaf, weíve got trouble. Why you ask? Do you remember when I said that the most important leaf for the plant and kernel growth is the flag leaf? Well, if you donít remember, the flag leaf is very important because nutrients that it produces move directly into the grain or kernels! If it is damaged because of diseases, it could hurt how well kernels form. And if it is damaged early when kernels are developing the more damage it will cause.
|Letís look at a wheat head from our row. Everything looks good from the outside. The spikelets seem to be getting bigger. Letís look inside a floret to see a kernel.|
|When we pull the lemma and palea back we can see that the kernel is really getting big. It still has that whitish-green color. Letís take some kernels out to get a better look.|
|Here are two kernels that are about 7 days old and they are 5 mm long. They are still angular or they look like a triangle to me. If you want to see if there is anything inside them click here.|
|Here are two kernels that are 10 days old. You can really tell they are wheat kernels now. They have lost that triangle appearance. They have reached full length at about 7 mm. But they arenít very plump yet, in fact, they are skinny. There canít be much inside. What do you think? If you want to see whatís inside click here.|