Dry soils, poor emergence may require replanting wheat
Before replanting, producers should dig through the soil crust to determine why the seed did not emerge, Shroyer said. The most common causes of emergence problems are dry soils, crusting, poor quality seed, seedling rot diseases and wireworms.
“If dry soils are the cause of the problem, which is the most likely situation this year, you should dig up some seed and check its condition. If the seeds are still hard and viable, or have just a very short stub of coleoptile emerging from the seed, there is no need to replant. Just leave the field alone and wait for rain,” he explained.
“But if the seed has partially germinated and the coleoptile stalled out before emerging, it’s unlikely that seed is still viable and replanting is advisable.”
Where crusting is the cause of the emergence problem, producers also should do some digging to evaluate the condition of the seeds or seedlings he added.
“If the seed is still viable, it could still emerge if conditions improve. For example, sometimes a light rain on crusted soil will soften the crust so seedlings can emerge. Otherwise, a rotary hoe will break up the crust, allowing them to emerge,” he said.
If the coleoptiles have become bent or crinkled due to the crusting, however, they will most likely have reached their full length already and will not be able to elongate any further to emerge through the soil surface if conditions improve, Shroyer said. In that case, replanting will be necessary.
Finally, if there has been adequate moisture and no crusting, but little or no emergence, poor quality seed, seedling rot diseases, or soil insects are possible causes of the problem, Shroyer said. In this case, the field will need to be replanted with good quality, treated seed, he said