Checking seed depth. Photo credit: John Rowehl
Several times I’ve heard a farmers recollection of the year they planted wheat around Thanksgiving that turned out to be the best crop they’d ever had. Well, maybe, but I wouldn’t count on it. Of course you wouldn’t plan it that way but if your corn and soybean harvest is running later than normal (whatever THAT is), and you are planting wheat after the optimum dates, here are some tips to help compensate for that later planting.
Increase seeding rate. Our Agronomy Guide recommends increasing you seeding rate by 10 percent for every week that is later than two weeks beyond the Hessian Fly free date.
Manage heavy crop residue. Uniform distribution of stalks or stems across the field is important as the preceding crop is harvested. At any time, seeding rates may need to be further increased by an additional 10-15 percent to compensate.
Uniform distribution of crop residue. Photo by John Rowehl.
Insure proper seed depth. Check that the seed is being placed at the proper depth (1 to 1.5 inches) below the surface of the soil, not the residue, to achieve good seed-to-soil contact and proper crown development. Shallow-planted wheat is more prone to winter injury because the crowns are at or near the soil surface.
Fertilize according to soil test levels. Availability of potassium and especially phosphorus is very important. Phosphorus deficient plants do not tiller well and are more susceptible to winterkill. Here’s where good soil test records come in handy. If test levels are optimum or less, fertilize with recommended rates.
In fields not receiving manure or without much residual nitrogen, apply some additional nitrogen in the fall. Normally a rate of 10- 20 lbs. of N/Ac. is recommended. Under late planting conditions, some research has shown that up to 40 lbs./ac. helps accelerate growth and stimulate tillering.
See Eleventh Hour Reminders for Wheat Planting – Part 1