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Warm winter temperatures adding to woes of Louisiana wheat farmers

Growers need to find resistant varieties, prepare to spray to combat surge in wheat diseases.

Dr. Boyd Padgett is doing double duty these days as director of the LSU AgCenter’s Central Region office in Alexandria and as the Extension wheat specialist for Louisiana’s wheat producers.

That has put him in the center of efforts to help growers address a number of issues – warm winter temperatures and poor vernalization, multiple wheat diseases, including Fusarium head blight, and low returns.

“I went to the FSA office to try to find out how many acres of wheat we have this year,” Dr. Padgett told producers, industry representatives and parish Extension agents attending the LSU AgCenter’s Wheat and Oat Field Day. “What do you think the number was?

“It was lower than last year, and last year’s was 40,000 acres. That was the lowest it’s been in 37 years. This year’s total: 16,000 acres.”

Dr. Padgett said the unusually warm temperatures this past winter put some wheat varieties 30 days ahead of schedule while others that didn’t vernalize will never catch up.

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