Really, the heads are up.
That's not the only thing that was up this weekend. So was a cropduster, who sprayed our wheat fields with fungicide Sunday morning. We were on our way to church, so I didn't have time to stay and watch for very long. The pilot probably didn't need an audience anyway.
The fungicide provides good protection against leaf rust and stripe rust, which decrease yield. It's a preventative measure - applied before there's a problem - rather than a curative application.
It's kind of a calculated risk: Will the cost of the fungicide pay off with a better crop? Only time will tell. After some calculations, Randy thinks if the fungicide saves 2 bushels of wheat per acre, it will pay for itself.
A foliar fungicide application will not make a 40-bushel crop into a 60-bushel crop, but it will prevent a 60-bushel crop from being reduced to a 40-bushel crop by foliar disease.
Bob Hunger, an Oklahoma State University wheat disease specialist,
and Jeff Edwards, an OSU Extension wheat specialist
Believe me, farmers and their families want a safe and affordable food supply, too. We buy bags of flour at the store. We buy that loaf of wheat bread and feed it to our families.
freeze damage. Weather, hail and disease could conspire against us, too. But, as usual, my farmer is a glass-half-full kind of guy. So, he's betting that the investment will pay off.
(For larger photos of the cropduster, click on the photos.)