Recommended Wheat Seeding Rates for Kansas

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Source: Jim Shroyer, Extension Agronomy State Leader, Kansas State University

The basic recommended wheat seeding rates for Kansas, in terms of pounds per acre, are:

Basic Recommended Seeding Rates for Kansas

Precipitation Zone

Pounds/acre

Less than 20

50-60

20-30

60-75

More than 30

75-90

Irrigated

90-120

Early planting for grazing

90-120


Recommended Seeding Rates When Planting Directly After Sorghum

Precipitation Zone

Pounds/acre

Less than 20

75-90

20-30

90-120

More than 30

90-120


There are a few conditions under which producers may need to adjust these basic seeding rate recommendations, such as:

  • Planting later than the recommended dates. When wheat is planted later than the recommended dates, it typically produces fewer productive fall tillers and a less developed secondary root system in the fall. This often results in lower grain yields unless the producer compensates by using a higher seeding rate. By November 1, seeding rates should be increased by 50 percent (to a maximum of 120 lbs/acre). By mid to late November, seeding rates should be 90 lbs per acre in western Kansas and 120 lbs/acre in central and eastern Kansas. 
  • No-till planting into heavy residue. In general, when planting no-till, producers should increase their seeding rate by about 15 lbs/acre. This is especially true during the first few years of no-tilling, until the producer becomes more familiar with any adjustments needed on the drill to get good seed-soil contact and uniform seeding depth under no-till conditions. However, it is common to see longtime no-tillers to use seeding rates similar to conventional-till planted wheat.
  • Varieties with unusually large or small seed. The basic seeding rate recommendation applies to most varieties, and results in roughly the same number of seeds per acre regardless of the variety. Some varieties, such as Overley, have unusually large seed. In these cases, seeding rates should be increased by about 10-20 percent to compensate. The higher end of that range of increase should be used for varieties that do not tiller well, such as Overley. Likewise, some varieties, such as Bond CL, have unusually small seed. Seeding rates of these varieties can be decreased by about 10-20 percent. Seed size can be measured in terms of the number of seeds per pound. The "normal" range is about 14-16,000 seeds per pound. I use 15,000 seeds per pound when I don’t know the seed count and I want to calculate seeds planted per acre. 
  • Planting under adverse seedbed conditions. This is not recommended, but may be necessary at times for any number of reasons. If soils are too wet, too dry, or too cold, producers should increase seeding rates by 10-20 percent or more, up to a maximum of 90 lbs/acre in western Kansas and 120 lbs/acre in central and eastern Kansas. 
  • Planting poor quality seed. This is not recommended, of course. But if good quality seed cannot be found for various reasons, producers may have to use lesser quality seed. In this situation, the seed should always be tested for germination first. If the germination rate is less than 85 percent, seeding rates should be increased accordingly to compensate.

What if more than one of these factors applies? Should producers just add up all the suggested increases in seeding rates? No. If that were the case, the recommended seeding rate might be a high as 200 lbs/acre, which is clearly absurd. The maximum rate producers should use, under any conditions, is about 120 lbs/acre.


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