Spring wheat growth and development guide
Spring wheat goes through a series of growth stages that are described by several staging schemes, the most comprehensive of which is the Zadoks system. Understanding spring wheat growth and development is critical to achieving maximum productivity.
Winter vs. spring wheat
Exposure to temperatures in the 38 to 46 degree Fahrenheit range promotes winter wheat development, whereas spring wheat types do not require cold temperatures for normal development. When grown properly in Minnesota, both types head in the late spring or early summer and mature by mid- to late-summer.
The two-digit code system
The first digit of this two-digit code refers to the main stage of development, which starts with germination and ends with kernel ripening (stage 9). The second digit of this two-digit code, which ranges from 0 to 9, subdivides each main growth stage. For example, a 75 refers to the medium milk stage of kernel development.
The second digit in seedling growth, principal growth stage 1, refers to the number of emerged leaves; a leaf must be at least 50% emerged to be counted; do not count tiller leaves. The seedling stage identifying the leaf numbers is useful for herbicide application.
Tillering stage and beyond
The Feekes-Large system, which numerically identifies stages such as tillering, jointing, and ripening but lacks the more detailed attributes of the Zadoks and Haun systems, has been widely used but is becoming less popular.
The first true leaf pushes through the tip of the coleoptile as it emerges from the soil (Figure 3). Leaves produce at a rate of about one every four to five days, and growth occurs in three distinct phases spanning about four weeks under normal conditions.
The first phase, also known as the “watery ripe” and “milk” stages, determines the number of cells in the endosperm. As the kernel matures, its consistency hardens and its green color fades.
Factors affecting yield
According to the International Grains Council (GMC), adverse environmental conditions during any of a kernel’s growth periods can reduce the rate of dry matter accumulation and decrease yield; the longer the adverse condition lasts and the earlier it occurs during grain filling, the greater the effect on yield.
The removal of leaf blades early in grain development (at flowering) consistently reduced grain weight more than leaf removal two weeks later. Photosynthates (products of photosynthesis) produced by the plant during grain filling account for 70 to 90 percent of final grain yield. Maintaining green and functional upper leaf blades, sheaths, and heads during grain filling is important.
What time of year is wheat ready to harvest?
It’s planted in the fall, usually between October and December, and grows over the winter to be harvested in the spring or early summer; it takes about seven to eight months to mature, and it makes a lovely golden contrast in spring gardens.
How do you determine the growth stage of wheat?
Wheat growth can be divided into several stages: germination/emergence, tillering, stem elongation, boot, heading/flowering, and grain-fill/ripening. Several different systems have been developed to identify wheat growth stages, with the Feekes scale and the Zadoks scale being the most popular.
How long does it take for wheat to maturity?
Warm-season wheat can mature in as little as 30 days, while overwintered wheat can take up to nine months to mature. Once the grains have turned brown, cut the stalks to just above the ground.
How far north can wheat grow?
Wheat Belt, a section of the North American Great Plains where wheat is the dominant crop, stretches 1,500 miles (2,400 km) north-south from central Alberta, Canada, to central Texas, United States. It is divided into winter wheat and spring wheat areas.
Why is growing wheat illegal?
To artificially inflate commercial wheat prices, a law was enacted in the 1930s prohibiting US citizens from growing wheat at home unless the crop was properly documented and the associated fees were paid on an annual basis (surprise surprise).
What happens if you harvest wheat too soon?
Wheat Yields Wheat seeded too early in the fall uses more soil water in the fall, which can lead to more freeze injury in the spring because drier soils cool down more quickly.
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 stages of wheat are there?
Germination/emergence, tillering, stem elongation, boot, heading/flowering, and grain-fill/ripening are the various stages of wheat development.
What should be the seed rate for sowing wheat?
Seed rate: For medium-sized grain varieties, a seed rate of 100 kg/ha is recommended; for bold seeded varieties, a seed rate of 125 kg/ha is recommended; and for late sown wheat, a seed rate of 125-150 kg/ha is recommended. Spacing: For irrigated timely sown wheat, a spacing of 22.5 cm is recommended; for irrigated late sowing wheat, a spacing of 15-18 cm is recommended.
What is the easiest grain to grow?
Corn is one of the easiest grains to grow and harvest, requiring less effort than wheat or barley.
What is the best row spacing for wheat?
Wide row yield losses will have the greatest impact on profitability on farms where wheat accounts for a large percentage of total annual crop area and yield expectations are often high; in these cases, 25 cm rows are recommended; however, if a spacing wider than 25 cm is required, 37.5 cm should be preferred over 50 cm.
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.
Who is the largest wheat producer in the world?
China is the world’s leading wheat producer, with 134,250 thousand tonnes produced in 2020, accounting for 20.66% of global wheat production, with the top five countries (India, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, and Canada) accounting for 63.46%.
What is the difference between the winter wheat belt and the spring wheat belt?
The Winter Wheat Belt includes parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Nebraska, and Colorado in the United States, while the Spring Wheat Belt includes parts of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota, as well as Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba in Canada.