Great Wheat Discussions at COFS
A huge thanks goes out to all our dealers, growers and industry partners who stopped by the C&M booth last week at the farm show. The Wheat Team always has a blast at the show answering those burning wheat questions. The bread knives celebrating our 45th anniversary were a hit once again. As we are quickly approaching harvest and wheat planting, some common questions and concerns arose talking to folks from across the province.
The number one concern was soybeans slow to mature and getting timely wheat planted. A lot of soybeans are slowly reaching maturity. Some areas are just starting edible beans and some early season soybeans. However, the traditional “wheat bean” maturity are slowly coming along. Many are looking at end of September into early October to start harvesting. Some growers were contemplating pre-harvesting their soybeans to “hurry” them along to gain a day or two harvest. This can certainly be done but depending on the soybeans you are growing, the pre-harvest interval and what products you are allowed to use will vary. Please consult with your agronomist prior to spraying.
Another question we got asked several times was broadcasting wheat into standing soybeans. The Wheat Team recommends setting the wheat crop up for the highest yield potential and often this is achieved seeding with a drill with some form of seed placed phosphorus. However, we do realize broadcasting wheat into standing soybeans has been done successfully in the past. Most doing this aim to broadcast a rate that is 25-50% higher than their drilled rate and most will blend with fertilizer. If using treated seed, be very cautious with treated seed ending up in the soybean sample (that is a big no no). Timing leaf drop is key with this practice.
In years past some areas have been blessed with a September harvest and timely wheat planting however, this year most of the wheat in the province will be planted in October, weather permitting. October wheat can still be great wheat but there are Four Factors to focus on.
1) 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”. If seeding later err on the deeper side. 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”. Proper spreading of previous crop residue is extremely important to allow for uniform seed placement.
2) Planting Date & Seeding Rate
Year in and year out, the yield gain from early planted wheat proves to be great. September planting should be the goal for many growers; however, many will not have the luxury of September planting this year. Keep a close eye on the map below; the seeding rate for the Optimum Planting Date is 1.6 Million seeds per acre and the optimum planting date is specific for your area. 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. If you are planting on a heavy clay soil, aiming for a rate that is 10-15% higher off the bat is a good place to start. If you get pushed later in the fall, please don’t be afraid to increase the seeding rates. Many had great success from higher seeding rates in November of 2021.
As an example, if a grower near London had the chance to plant on Sept 16, the target population would be 1.4 million. If the seed tag indicated a seed size of 11,500 seeds per pound, this would lead to a seeding rate of 122 lbs/ac.
( Calculation: 1,400,000 / 11,500 = 122 )
Or if the same grower was not able to plant this seed until Oct 14, the new target would be 1.8mil, and seeding rate would be increased to 157 lbs/ac.
( Calculation: 1,800,000 / 11,500 = 157 )
Seeding Rates ** NEW TOOL ** visit seedingrate.ca for interactive tool.
3) Proper Seed Source
We encourage growers to use a certified seed source, allowing for the greatest chance of success. It is tested up to five times for germination and purity, comes free of weeds and disease and has professionally applied seed treatments helping to ensure every seed is viable. 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. Wheat producers are buying guaranteed performance, and investing in the system that generates genetic advancement. Furthermore, 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.
4) 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. The value of seed placed phosphorus goes up tremendously if planting later in the fall.