Farming 101: Planting Wheat
Wheat is the world’s oldest and most widely grown and consumed cereal crop, accounting for nearly three-quarters of all grain products in the United States, despite the fact that only half of the 2.4 billion bushels grown by farmers in 42 states each year are used.
Spring wheat, which is sometimes dormant seeded in late November or early December, needs a good root system and the beginnings of shoots before the cold weather sets in. A good spring wheat stand at the southern end of spring wheat country is 1.2 to 1.4 million plants per acre.
Winter wheat is typically planted from the end of September to the middle of October. No-till seeding, which involves drilling the seed directly into the untilled crop residue, is becoming more popular. For proper germination, temperatures must be below 80 degrees Fahrenheit and soil moisture levels must be favorable.
Seed and inputs
Many crop threats thrive in warmer, wetter climates, so treatments are more commonly used in southern winter wheat crops. Some producers clean their own seed rather than buying commercial seed; great care must be taken to ensure proper cleaning and sorting. Winter wheat producers usually split nitrogen application, with half applied in the spring and half applied in the fall.
Ready to roll
Once you’ve got your inputs in place, Duncan recommends checking for good moisture, setting the drill, and starting planting. Don’t go by the first 50 feet of crop until you’ve planted at least 100 feet.
What is the growing season for wheat?
Long-season (winter) wheat varieties are sown first in midu2013late April through midu2013May (south-western and north-western Victoria), followed by midseason wheat varieties in Mayu2013June.
How tall does winter wheat grow?
Winter wheat forage can grow up to 4 feet tall, with test yields ranging from 2.2 to 4.1 tons of forage per acre. When harvested for hay at the late-boot or early-heading stages, field tests show a protein content of 14.2% on a dry-matter basis.
What month do farmers plant wheat?
Spring wheat can be planted while the soil is still cool in late summer or early autumn for an overwintered crop.
How tall do wheat fields get?
Wheat grows to be 3-4 feet tall, isn’t overly large, is beautiful, and you can harvest it and turn it into flour in the fall or use it for fall decoration, such as making your own wheat wreath. All you need to plant it are wheat berries, which are wheat seeds.
Is growing wheat illegal?
Commercial wheat operations, which rely heavily on commercial pesticides and fertilizers for production, are often very traumatic to otherwise fertile land, making it illegal to grow wheat at home.
What is the life cycle of wheat?
Germination, seedling establishment and leaf production, tillering and head differentiation, stem and head growth, head emergence and flowering, grain filling and maturity are the divisions of the wheat growth cycle. Figure 2: Germinating wheat kernels showing radicle, seminal roots, and coleoptile.
How many times can wheat be harvested?
It is a Rabi crop that is sown in the winter and harvested in the spring, so the seeds are sown in the winter from October to December, and it takes 7-8 months for a wheat crop to mature before it can be harvested from February to May.
Is winter wheat easy to grow?
Winter wheat matures more slowly than some cereals, so there’s no need to kill it off in the early spring and risk soil compaction during the wet season. Winter wheat grasses are also easier to grow than cover crops like clover, as they germinate and establish much more quickly.
Does wheat grow back every year?
Perennial wheat is generally a weak perennial, as current lines of the crop only regrow two times; researchers are working on developing stronger perennials that will regrow multiple times. Perennial wheat is planted at the same time as annual wheat, and the plants grow similarly at first.
What happens to wheat after it is harvested?
The harvested grain is sold to a local grain elevator at market price, after which it is sold to flour millers for domestic consumption or loaded onto ships bound for overseas markets. Flour mills grind the grain into various types of flour, such as whole wheat, all-purpose, and bread flour.
How far apart should wheat be planted?
Spring wheat can be planted while the soil is still cool by broadcasting seed into cultivated soil at a spacing of 3 inches (7 cm) apart and one-half inch (1 cm) deep. No thinning is required. When growing wheat with other cover crops, increase spacing to 8 inches (20 cm).
What time of year do farmers spread manure?
Spreading is most common in late winter before summer planting and late summer/early autumn after harvest, but it can also take place at other times of the year if the weather permits.
Does wheat need a lot of water?
Wheat requires 12 to 15 inches (31 to 38 centimeters) of water to produce a good crop, and it thrives in temperatures ranging from 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 24 degrees Celsius), but not too hot, as well as plenty of sunlight, especially when the grains are filling.
How do you know when wheat is ready to harvest?
Some wheat plants are harvested in the summer, while others are harvested in the fall. When the wheat plant reaches its final stage of growth, meaning it is dry enough and no green is visible, it is ready to be harvested with a combine, which combines reaping, threshing, and winnowing.
What do farmers do with wheat stalks?
Many farmers are turning to reduced tillage to build soil organic matter and promote water quality. They may work stalks into the ground, chop them for livestock, let cattle graze them in the field, or leave them completely undisturbed, allowing corn residue to cover the field.