Focusing on these fall points can help you get a SERIOUS wheat crop
As with all crops, proper planting is a crucial step to creating the highest possible yields. Please review these focus areas to ensure your wheat crop gets the “Serious Start” that is needs.
Equipment properly tuned and calibrated
Ensuring equipment is well maintained and calibrated correctly is imperative for high management crop production. When targeting a specific seeding rate based on calendar date and seed size, it is important that the drill is seeding at the intended rate. You do not want the drill seeding too much or too little. Also, make sure disc openers are sharp and measure no less than the manufactures specifications for proper no-till operations. Target a depth of 1.0 to 1.5”. A worn out disc opener will not penetrate hard soil or cut residue properly. This will create issues with seed placement and residue “hair-pinning”.
Seed Placed Phosphorous
Seed placed phosphorous has proven to be an integral part to high management wheat production year after year. Having phosphorous in the row is the most efficient use of the nutrient. The wheat crop has the highest demand for phosphorous in the first 30 days of growth. Seed place phosphorous allows for early plant vigor and greater winter survivability. Yield response to seed placed phosphorous is anywhere from 5-20bu/ac. Not all seed drills are equipped with a separate compartment for dry fertilizer or with liquid tanks. A cost-effective way to get phosphorous with the seed is mixing MAP and wheat seed together. For instance, 50lbs/ac MAP and 125lbs/ac of seed would get seeded at 175lbs/ac in the same compartment. Be careful not to go with too high of a rate of MAP as some drills are limited as to how much product they can put out.
Once again, the yield gain from Early Planted Wheat proved greatly in 2017 crop. September planting should be the goal for many growers. Earlier planting allows the plants to get a head start allowing for greater nutrient uptake and sunlight interception. And then there comes 2017… Even with the recent summer like stretch of weather just experienced, the planting window for winter wheat will likely happen two to three weeks later than preferred in most regions. The window for “Early Planting” is near closed in Area 2 and 3. As we now progress in to the “Normal Planting” timeframe, seeding rates should be maintained at the optimum rates. Also, the plant vigor boost that comes from proper seed treatment and seed placed fertilizer become exponentially greater as we trend to the cooler part of the fall.
Proper Seed Source
Using certified seed source allows for the greatest chance of success. Certified seed comes free of weeds and disease. It has professionally applied seed treatments helping to ensure every seed viable. Certified seed also allows for seeding rates to be set precisely, because there is a known number of seed per pound. Allowing growers to use the latest genetics, certified seed will help maximize yield potential. With certified seed, growers are buying guarantees.
Seeding rate is one task that gets overlooked by many producers. Some growers use the “standard” 150lbs/ac because that is what they have always done. Although more is perceived to be better, more can actually negatively impact yield as lodging risk increases. Matching seeding rates to calendar date and planting conditions is step one. Growers should aim for 1.6M seeds/ac at the optimum date for their region. (More info in OMAF Pub 811 Agronomy Guide). If planting before the optimum date, reduce rates by 100,000 seeds/ac/week. If planting past the optimum planting date, increase by 100,000 seeds/ac/week. With new varieties on the marketplace, some offer small seed size which allows for seed savings because you will only need 120lbs/ac or less to get the desired final stand.
Harvest and Residue Management is also very important in the previous crop. Please refer to information in attached Article from Alex.