RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson is all smiles these days as the warm fall continues to give farmers an opportunity to plant winter wheat into optimum growing conditions.
But with bean and soybean harvest progressing rapidly, Johnson says farmers have to be mindful of seeding rates to ensure they’re not creating headaches down the road. “If you plant ultra early and then get a nice warm, open fall and all those seeds you put in the ground just tiller like crazy … you will have a thick mat on the ground and all kinds of fall disease and that relates to less yield potential next spring.” In this situation, snow cover could also lead to significant snow mould issues.
Wheat Pete has been advising farmers planting early in warm conditions to cut their seeding rate back to 900,000 or 1 million seeds per acre.
About 600 heads per square metre are needed, says Johnson, to have strong yield potential. “If you seed 1.5 million, that’s 300 heads per square metre with just main heads. When it’s early and you get all those tillers, you have to cut it back and let the plant tiller.
“On seeding rate, do yourself a favour, cut it back early, bump it up late,” he says in this Wheat School episode, noting the optimum seeding rate is right at 1.5 million seeds per acre. Looking across the province, he defines late as any crop planted after October 25.