The first rule of planting winter wheat is to start early. If you didn’t (and, with a late soybean harvest, that’s reasonable to expect), the next rule of planting winter wheat is to start now. That’s because the earlier in the ideal seeding window winter wheat gets in the ground, the more likely that crop can reach maximum yields.
What’s more, as planting dates get later, reaching that maximum yield target can get more expensive to balance the risk of later planting. That’s because, as Peter Johnson, cereal specialist with OMAF and MRA, explains in this Wheat School episode, the seeding rate should climb every five days that planting is delayed. Right now, in the ideal window to plant, around a million and a half seeds per acre is a great choice. But as we move later in the year, Johnson says farmers should be looking at adding 100,000 seeds/acre for every five days to compensate for wetter and colder weather and the decreased number of days to freeze up. In the video below, Johnson further discusses this, plus how deep seed should be planted, and if that changes with the calendar, too.
As planting dates move later, should you abandon wheat as an option? Absolutely not! Just because you’ve missed the ideal window, doesn’t mean later planting can’t also result in a healthy, high yielding crop, it just may mean altering your management strategy to account for the less than ideal conditions.
If you cannot see the embedded video, click here.