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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

October 24, 2018 - 9:48am -- Anonymous

Frequent rain events and wet fields have delayed corn and soybean harvest this year.  In the case of soybean harvest, winter wheat was the next scheduled crop in the rotation.  The issue is that from a yield potential perspective, the best time to plant winter wheat is the ten-day period starting after the fly-free-safe date, which in Wayne County is September 26.  Wheat planting that is delayed outside of that time frame has an increased risk of reduced fall growth, and reduced winter hardiness.  This adds up to a reduced yield potential.  Of course, our fall weather influences the degree of that risk, but according to the Ohio Agronomy Guide as winter wheat is planted more than 28 days beyond the fly-free-safe date, yield potential begins to decline dramatically from 77% of full yield at 28 days to about 30% at 40 days beyond.  In a recent OSU Extension CORN newsletter article, Laura Lindsey, Extension small grain and soybean production specialist, offered the following advice regarding a delayed winter wheat planting:

“There is still time to plant wheat, but the window is closing. Wheat planted 3-4 weeks after the fly-free-safe date can achieve the same yield as earlier planted wheat if freezing weather does not occur until late November or early December. However, as we enter three to four weeks after the fly-free-safe date, growers should plant at a higher seeding rate than the regularly recommended rate of 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre for 7.5-inch rows (that is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal sized seed) to compensate for fewer tiller development. Instead, plant at a rate of 1.6 to 2.0 million seed per acre. The number of seeds per pound and germination rate are important for determining the correct seeding rate and drill calibration. There are fewer seeds per pound of large seeds than per pound of small seeds. The number of seeds per pound can be found on the seed bag. Additionally, late planting also means plants will be smaller than normal when entering dormancy, have smaller and more shallow root systems than normal making them more susceptible to heaving next March. The best heaving control is to get the seed placed between 1.0 and 1.5 inches deep when planting and to plant no-till.  These two practices combined will reduce heaving potential by more than 95 percent.”