SEED CALCULATOR ❌
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SEED CALCULATOR ❌
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Winter-types seed from late summer to early fall in Zone 3 to 7, a few weeks earlier than a rye or wheat grain crop, and from fall to early winter in Zone 8 and warmer. If you are considering harvesting as a grain crop, you should wait until the Hessian fly-free date, however. If cover crop planting is delayed, consider sowing rye instead. Plant at a high rate if seeding late, when over seeding into soybeans at the leaf yellowing stage, when planting into a dry seedbed or when you require a thick, weed-suppressing stand. Seed at a low to medium rate when soil moisture is plentiful.
Spring-types, however, do not require exposure to cold temperatures for normal development and can be planted in spring. Both winter- and spring-types, when properly grown in Minnesota, head in the late spring or early summer and mature by mid- to late-summer.
When selecting a locally adapted variety for use as a cover crop, you may not need premium seed. A Maryland study of 25 wheat cultivars showed no major differences in overall biomass production at maturity.
You needn’t spring fertilize a winter wheat stand being grown as a cover crop rather than a grain crop. That would defeat the primary purpose scavenging nitrogen of growing a small grain cover crop. As with any over wintering small grain crop, however, you will want to ensure the wheat stand doesn’t adversely affect soil moisture or nutrient availability for the following crop.
Mixed Seeding or Nurse Crop. Winter wheat works well in mixtures with other small grains or with legumes such as hairy vetch. It is an excellent nurse crop for frost seeding red clover or sweetclover, if rainfall is sufficient. In the Corn Belt, the legume is usually sown in winter, before wheat’s vegetative growth resumes. If frost seeding, use the full seeding rates for both species, according to recent work in Iowa. If you sow sweetclover in fall with winter wheat, it could outgrow the wheat. If you want a grain option, that could make harvest difficult.
Optimum temperatures for wheat, 70-75°F, maximum temperatures 85-90°F, minimum temperatures 30-35°F. Winter wheat is a very drought tolerant crop but high temperatures greater than 85˚F during the grain-filling period, under dry conditions reduce yields somewhat because of the shorter grain-filling period.
Winter wheat plants with a good crown root system and two or more tillers can tolerate the cold temperatures better than less developed plants. Also, plants that had time to cold harden properly as a result of temperatures that gradually declined are less susceptible to winter injury.
Wheat is less likely than rye or barley to become a weed problem in a rotation, but is a little more susceptible than rye or oats to insects and disease. Managed as a cover crop, wheat rarely poses an insect or disease risk. Diseases can be more of a problem the earlier wheat is planted in fall, especially if you farm in a humid area.
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Photo: Dennis Turner
Although typically grown as a cash grain, winter wheat can provide most of the cover crop benefits of other cereal crops, as well as a grazing option prior to spring tiller elongation. It’s less likely than barley or rye to become a weed and is easier to kill. Wheat also is slower to mature than some cereals, so ...
Although typically grown as a cash grain, winter wheat can provide most of the cover crop benefits of other cereal crops, as well as a grazing option prior to spring tiller elongation. It’s less likely than barley or rye to become a weed and is easier to kill. Wheat also is slower to mature than some cereals, so there is no rush to kill it early in spring and risk compacting soil in wet conditions. It is increasingly grown instead of rye because it is cheaper and easier to manage in spring.
Whether grown as a cover crop or for grain, winter wheat adds rotation options for under seeding a legume for forage or nitrogen. It works well in no-till or reduced-tillage systems, and for weed control in potatoes grown with irrigation in semiarid regions. Winter wheat can also be grown as a cash crop or a cover crop, although you should manage each differently. It provides a cash-grain option while also opening a spot for a winter annual legume in a corn>soybean or similar rotation.
Weed suppressor. As a fall-sown cereal, wheat competes well with most weeds once it is established. Its rapid spring growth also helps choke weeds, especially with an under seeded legume competing for light and surface nutrients.
Soil builder and organic matter source. Wheat is a plentiful source of straw and stubble. Wheat’s fine root system also improves topsoil tilth. Although it generally produces less than rye or barley, the residue can be easier to manage and incorporate.
Our variety is Yamhill. It is standard height, beardless, cold tolerant winter variety released in 1969. Adapted to the winter wheat growing areas of western Oregon, Northern California and Washington, it tolerates wet soils better than most varieties. Strong winter dormancy, so fall or winter planting is preferred. Good milling and baking quality with fair yield makes Yamhill an adequate grain variety but is superior for wheat hay or forage as both quantity and quality under a wide range of weather and moisture conditions are very good. Grows to 50 to 54" in good conditions.Tags: Specialty: Cover Crop, Specialty: Cool Climate, Specialty: Drought Tolerant, Season: Spring Fall Winter.
Cultivation of wheat began to spread beyond the Fertile Crescent after about 8000 BCE. Archaeological analysis of wild emmer indicates that it was first cultivated in the southern Levant with finds dating back as far as 9600 BCE. Genetic analysis of wild einkorn wheat suggests that it was first grown in the Karacadag Mountains in southeastern Turkey. The cultivation of emmer reached Greece, Cyprus and India by 6500 BCE, Egypt shortly after 6000 BCE, and Germany and Spain by 5000 BCE. "The early Egyptians were developers of bread and the use of the oven and developed baking into one of the first large-scale food production industries." By 3000 BCE, wheat had reached England and Scandinavia. A millennium later it reached China.
There are six wheat classifications: 1) hard red winter, 2) hard red spring, 3) soft red winter, 4) durum (hard), 5) hard white, and 6) soft white wheat. The hard wheats have the most amount of gluten and are used for making bread, rolls and all-purpose flour. The soft wheats are used for making flat bread, cakes, pastries, crackers, muffins, and biscuits. A high percentage of wheat production in the EU is used as animal feed, often surplus to human requirements or low-quality wheat.