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Agronomists outline eight pack of tips for winter wheat

Sept. 13, 2012 | 0 comments

Producers have seen record or near record high average yields for winter wheat in most areas of Wisconsin two months ago and heading into the planting period for a new crop.

Extension Service small grains specialist Shawn Conley and outreach specialist John Gaska have issued an advisory highlighting eight recommendations for establishing that crop.

Start by reviewing the results of the Extension Service's 2012 winter wheat trials involving dozens of private and public varieties at four site, Conley and Gaska advise.

The data, which includes two years of yields and test weights plus individual variety traits pertaining to disease and insect resistance, plant height, and lodging potential, can be found on the www.coolbean.info web site or at county Extension Service offices.

Planting new seed rather than one's own saved seed is the best way to assure high quality and germination, not to mention observing legal agreements that accompany the seed purchases from some companies, Conley and Gaska indicate.

They note that 85 percent germination is a minimum goal and suggest that anyone who can legally plant saved seed have it cleaned and germination tested first along with giving it a fungicide treatment.

Wheat should be planted at a depth of one inch at rates of 1.3 to 1.5 million seeds per acre or the equivalent of 30 to 35 seeds per square foot, the agronomists state. Depending on the variety and kernel size, the planting rate could range from between 74 and 119 pounds per acre, they point out.

From north to south in Wisconsin, the ideal planting dates for winter wheat are between September 15 and October, Conley and Gaska advise.

They note that the planting rate should be increased after October 1 to compensate for the probable reduced tillering in the fall and remind growers that, depending on the county, September 30 to October 10 are the last planting dates for which full coverage can be maintained on crop insurance.

Research continues to show that the best winter wheat crops tend to follow soybeans with previous crops of corn silage, corn for grain, and wheat following in order, Conley and Gaska report.

In addition to being aware of the influence of crop rotation, they suggest planting two or more varieties of winter wheat as a form of protection against the unpredictable environmental conditions.

In the wake of the 2012 drought, check the labels on herbicides applied to a previous crop for any restrictions on the timing for or type of a followup crop, Conley and Gaska emphasize.

If the wheat will follow a corn crop this year, conduct a pre-plant nitrogen test to determine how much residual nitrogen might still be available because it wasn't used by the corn, they conclude.

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