Winter wheat seeding date can majorly affect yields
click image to zoomFigure 1. Recommended planting dates for Nebraska winter wheat. Winter wheat yield is affected by production practices, pest management, fertility and weather. One of the production practices having a major impact on yield is seeding date (Table 1). Wheat seeded early uses more soil water in the fall, leaving less in the profile for yield production.
One research study showed a 50 bu/ac yield difference in the same field between a low-lying area with sufficient moisture and the rest of the plot where moisture was limited. Also, early planted wheat will face insect, weed, and disease pressures for a longer period in the fall. A grower who started seeding a field too early saw his yield double on the rest of the field where seeding was delayed a week due to rain.
The recommended seeding dates for Nebraska's winter wheat vary substantially from one end of the state to the other — from September 1 in the extreme northwest to October 1 in the southeast tip — and have been proven and verified through years of research and farmer experience. Some years an earlier seeding may have an advantage and some years a later date may have an advantage, but in the long term, the suggested seeding dates will give the highest average yield.
How Seeding Date Affects Tiller Development
Date of seeding greatly affects development of tillers in winter wheat, the source of as much as 70% of the grain yield in a normal year. Seeding during the optimum period enables wheat to form sufficient but not excessive tillers. Early seeding results in too many fall tillers, which may compete with each other, become diseased, and deplete soil moisture so that grain yields are low. Late seeding gives plants little time to develop tillers, resulting in an inadequate numbers of spikes (heads) for high yields the following spring.
Senescence and death may eliminate excessive tillers that form during the fall. Conversely, if too few tillers develop during fall, additional tillers may form during spring; however, the yield potential may differ between tillers that develop during fall and those that develop during spring.
Tillering also enables the plant to adapt to different conditions. Few tillers develop when moisture, nutrition, and other conditions are poor, whereas numerous tillers form when conditions are favorable. More tillers leads to increased yield potential. The recommended seeding date represents a goal for seeding completion. As farm size and the number of acres increase for individual farmers, so does the length of time needed to complete seeding. The goal should be to have all the wheat planted by the ideal date. Plan your field order for planting accordingly. For example, plant higher elevation fields and those containing sandy soil first and leave lower fields and those with higher clay content until last.
- U.S. farmers seen cutting fertilizer use as crop prices slide
- Newly revised “Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide” released
- Automated imaging system looks underground to improve crops
- Understand and adapt to different communication styles
- Take That, Red Baron
- FCC aims to offer high-speed internet to rural America
- East-West Seed signs marketing collaboration with Monsanto
- How much corn can the ethanol industry use?
- USDA releases 2012 cash rents data report
- Commentary: Government wants farmers to quit farming
- Economist: Taxing P could reduce risk of algal blooms
- Resistant weeds not controlled by fall residuals