Increase Wheat Seeding Rate If Late Planting Becomes a Concern
The following is from the October 6, 2009 issue of the OSU CORN newsletter. The article is written by: Pierce Paul, Jim Beuerlein, Edwin Lentz, and Dennis Mills.
The prospect of a late soybean harvest again this year already has some Ohio wheat growers concerned about having to plant wheat later than recommended (Hessian Fly Safe date; between September 22 for northern counties and October 5 for the southern-most counties). Ideally, all the wheat should be planted by the second week of October in order to ensure adequate tiller development before winter dormancy. Due to late soybean harvest, growers in some areas will more than likely be planting wheat well into October. Wheat planted late is at greater risk for poor stand establishment (fewer tillers per foot of row), increased winter kill, and spring heaving. However, this all depends of the weather conditions during the fall and early winter. In any given year, if warmer-than-usual conditions occur during late fall-early winter (freezing weather delayed until early December), even wheat planted as late as the first week of November may still do fairly well.
If late planting becomes an issue, growers should plant at a higher seeding rate than the regularly recommended rate of 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre for 7.5-inch rows (that is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal sized seed) to compensate for fewer tiller development in late-planted wheat (during the third and fourth week after the fly-safe date). Plant at a rate of 1.6 to 2.0 million seed per acre instead of the normal seeding rate. The number of seeds per pound and germination rate are important for determining the correct seeding rate and drill calibration. There are fewer seeds per pound of large seeds than per pound of small seeds. The number of seeds per pound can be found on the seed bag. Additionally, late planting also means plants will be smaller than normal when entering dormancy, have smaller and more shallow root systems than normal making them more susceptible to heaving next March. The best heaving control is to place the seed between 1.0 and 1.5 inches deep and to plant no-till. These two practices combined will reduce heaving potential by more than 95 percent. Also, do not increase your fall N rate in an attempt to get more tiller development or larger plants. The recommended 20 to 30 pounds of N will be adequate even at the later planting date. Larger N rates will most likely be lost and not benefit the crop.
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