Wet Feet In Wheat

Wet Feet In Wheat

October 25, 2021

With wheat forward contracting over eight dollars a bushel there has been a big push to get soybeans harvested and wheat planted but wet soil conditions have prevented both. Optimum planting dates for wheat in the London Middlesex area is September 26th to 30th. Heavy and consistent rain fall has pushed soybean harvest back into late October and now farmer have to decide if it’s still worth it to try planting wheat.

Harvesting in wet soil conditions cuts ruts into the field creating heavy compaction below them hindering root development. Deep tillage can help with this if the soil dries out but deep tillage on wet soil will make compaction worse having a negative effect on the wheat being planted.

For every week a farmer is trying to plant wheat after optimum planting dates the grower should increase seeding rate by 200,000 seeds per acre. The 14 day forecast is calling for more rain and a low drying index and crop insurance cut off for planting wheat is November 6th. Grower will have to decide if it’s worth planting wheat into less than ideal planting conditions.

Wheat should be planted at a one inch planting depth and needs 80 growing degree days to germinate and 50 to emerge. The most important thing is that the seed germinates. If the seed germinates and roots develop the crop will survive the winter. So growers should feel confident that they can still plant wheat into the first week of November and have a successful stand next spring.

Planting condition will most likely be wet until then making waterlogging a major problem. Waterlogging (when there is too much water in a plants root zone) for 24-48 hours will have a negative effect on yield. Yield loss is greater in the early growth stages.

Planting wheat this year will not be planted in to optimum conditions but that doesn’t mean it won’t pay. If growers have lighter soil with good drainage and can plant wheat before November 6th should still be able to produce a decent crop. The chances of it being a record yield is low but eight dollar a bushel is a really attractive price.

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