State's dry soils sprout winter wheat concerns
With the ideal time for planting winter wheat approaching in the coming days and weeks, farmers are facing another cropping challenge - putting the seed into dry soil.
How to deal with that risk was recently reviewed in an advisory by University of Wisconsin Extension Service small grains agronomist Shawn Conley.
Because of the shortage of moisture, Conley recommends no-till or limited tillage before planting the new winter wheat crop.
He also suggests a planting depth of one inch and no deeper than 1.5 inches and advises a seed fungicide treatment as a standard practice.
Regarding the seeding date, Conley cites research from the winter wheat trial plots at Lancaster and Arlington, which shows much better success with a mid-September planting than a mid-October planting.
Those differences have been as high as 30-50 percentage points in the winter survival of plants and 20-30 bushels per acre on yields.
Conley reminds winter wheat growers who obtain crop insurance to double check on the planting date deadline which applies in their county.
In a related development, crop insurance is now available for winter wheat growers in Richland, Vernon, Lincoln, and Oneida counties.