RealAg LIVE! with Jeremy Boychyn on early scouting of wheat and barley

(Jeremy Boychyn/Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions)

Early season scouting is underway for some winter wheat crops, plus early emerged wheat and barley. That early scouting brings up questions like what happens to wheat or barley if it gets nipped by frost? What insects are a concern for this growing season?

Jeremy Boychyn, agronomy extension specialist with Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions, joins us for today’s RealAg LIVE! to answer those questions and more.

RealAg LIVE! streams every weekday at 3 pm E on Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter!


  • There was a much welcomed rain over the weekend in most parts of Alberta
  • Enough to get crops germinating?
  • Wheat’s starting to come up, but what happens if it gets nipped by frost?
  • Germination issues? Fertility issues? Yellow banding across the leaves. Usually an indication of frost. Inch to an inch and a half band; should grow out of it, no problem
  • Seed in the dust, bins will bust? Perhaps a nip of frost can provide that little bit of stress that up-regulates genes that respond to stress
  • Check on those water-soaked leaves that had frost bands on them, if the crown is mushy, that’s a concern
  • Any difference in frost tolerance between Wheat and Barley?
  • Evaluating winter wheat:┬áleaf colour is NOT an indication of whether or not your winter wheat will survive. Check out this Wheat School for more on that
  • Can’t always have an agronomist with you checking your fields; what makes a good photo set to send to your agronomist? Where in the field is the issue? Close to edges or more in the centre of the field? Is the pattern irregular and “natural” or more “man-made”
  • Dig up some plants, get multiple examples of the symptoms. Not every disease or issue looks the same on every plant, throughout an issue’s timeline
  • Maybe make sure the photos you take are clear/well-lit
  • Wireworms. Patches of damaged plants can be as small as one to two feet, you have to scout for them. Don’t ignore those small patches either
  • Scout for them at about two to three leaf stage. No threshold exists, yet
  • Wheat midge populations this year will be helped by May rains; expect heavy pressure at head emergence. Scouting will be important at heading
  • Wheat stem sawfly is also something to watch for
  • Prairie Pest Monitoring Network is always a good resource. Check out their new website here
  • Jeremy already received an update from PPMN today on flea beetles. Timely information!
  • Prairie Crop Disease Monitoring Network, another great resource
  • Rolling cereals? Aim for right after seeding up to the two to three leaf stage

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