Adding a winter cereal in the rotation can have beneficial impacts on everything from spring planting workloads, to harvest, to soil health and ground-nesting birds.
But having success with winter cereals and winter wheat requires a little planning and some winter luck. To delve in to stubble choice, seeding timing, seeds per acre, fertility and more, this episode of The Agronomists features Monica Klaas with Ducks Unlimited, and Peter “Wheat Pete” Johnson with RealAgriculture.
This episode of The Agronomists is brought to you by ADAMA Canada, Wheat Pete’s Word, and the Wheat School!
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- Let’s dive in: when is TOO early for winter cereals to go in the ground?
- The standard answer: it depends, but also there are examples of some farmers putting a winter cereal in-between canola in June, if you can believe it
- The goal is to have wheat going in to fall no larger than 5-leaf stage, with maybe two tillers
- The yield penalty to going in too early is far less than the yield penalty of going in too late
- That’s especially true if the weather turns against you and seed bed conditions deteriorate
- Too early is not the worst evil, Monica says
- From a Western Canadian perspective, winter cereals go in anywhere from the 15th of August to the crop insurance deadlines
- Getting creative on getting seed in the ground in a timely fashion
- Someone try planting between canola or sunnies and let us know how it goes, please
- Seeding rate: do you adjust based on timing?
- In the west, err to the side of more seeds/acre
- Why? Because lodging
- What about PGRs?
- They have a place, but genetics and weather trump PGR usefulness; not a silver bullet
- Got rich ground? Go easy on the seeding rate, potentially
- What about seed-placed phosphorus? Clip time!
- CLIP 1: Boost yields with seed-placed phosphorus
- Vitamin P not just Pilsner and Saskatchewan
- Remember to soil test! And to keep salt-effect in mind, when choosing a P rate with the seed
- Seed-bed utilization (row spacing and rates) matters
- Gerard has a very nice drill, Pete
- What about nitrogen?
- In the east, zero or the wee bit with the phos is all you need, then go on very early in spring
- In the west, some in the fall, especially if protected, may be warranted
- What about stubble choice?
- Pea stubble can cause issues with seeding depth, but it will feed the wheat
- Canola stubble is great, but can be late
- Soybeans don’t leave much behind
- Try flax!
- Hybrid rye vs. winter rye vs. winter wheat: what about hardiness?
- Remember: there are several good reasons to grow a winter cereal!