Evaluating wheat stand this spring
According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, 70 percent of the winter wheat in Ohio was rated excellent or good condition going into the winter. The other 29 percent was rated fair and only 1 percent fell into the poor category. What is the winter wheat condition as we enter green-up? Some areas of Ohio may have experienced heaving this winter (of which late planted wheat is more susceptible). Other areas of Ohio experienced very wet conditions where wheat may have been drowned out.
Fields should not be evaluated until completely green from warmer temperatures for at least 10 to 14 days. Stand evaluations will be more accurate when made during weather periods that promote growth. Yield potential is reduced if tiller numbers fall below 25 per square foot after green up. Pick about 10 to 15 spots in the field and count the number of plants per foot of row. A stand with an average of about 12 plants per foot of row may still result in a good population of head-bearing tillers per acre. For those fields with tillers, 15 tillers per square foot is considered minimum for an economic crop. The number of tillers per square foot is equal to the number of tillers in 19.2 inches of 7 inch wide rows or 14.5 inches of 10 inch wide rows. Our studies have shown that under adequate weather conditions, tillering may compensate for relatively poor initial stand establishment.