Wheat is getting another look

Ohio wheat getting more consideration for planting on some farms this fall due to the challenging markets for corn,  though wheat is a mainstay of the rotation for Ron Foor, of Fayette County, who grows seed wheat for Seed Consultants, Inc. Foor turned in a yield of more than 123 bushels in the Seed Consultants, Inc. 2014 Project 150 Wheat Yield Contest with SC 1324.

“One of the biggest things that I feel helps us is that we always work our ground. We don’t no-till it in. We have a 30-foot head and we get a lot of chaff in the windrow and it is hard to get good seed to soil contact. We disk it and plant it and we always get good emergence with that. We have had strips in the field where it didn’t grow right when we no-tilled,” Foor said. “We have a heavy Landoll disk and it’ll go in pretty deep and mix the trash up pretty well. We need good seed to soil contact. It is a Tilloll and we just go over it one time and plant it that way after soybeans.”

Ron Foor

Ron Foor

All of the wheat goes in after soybeans and timely planting is important.

“We go as soon as we can after the fly free date. Last year we planted around Oct. 10. Last winter really was not all that bad for us,” he said. “We had a good crop. We had some concern with the chemicals not working right early on because of too much rain but we had a great stand and a great stooling (tillering) over the winter. We put on 300 pounds of fertilizer, 7-24-24, in the fall and we work it in the ground before planting. We worry about the cold weather, but there is nothing we can do about it and we never really have had problems with cold weather.”

After the extreme cold during the winter months, spring struggled to warm up and nitrogen applications were challenging.

“We couldn’t get our N on like we normally do because it was wet, so we put on urea with an airplane. We were concerned about that but they did an excellent job in late March,” Foor said. “We put on Quilt at flagleaf and put on insecticide at the same time. We did not put on anything for head scab. We had a little bit but not much. The Quilt paid because we ran into powdery mildew. There were some insect problems getting started so we added that to our Quilt application. We do the same amount of wheat each year to stick with our crop rotation and we need the straw. We provide a horse farm with small square bales.”

After the straw is baled, double-crop soybeans are planted.

“This year the double-crop beans are needing rain. I think they’ll pay for themselves this year, but we have had years where the double-crops yield the same as the first crop,” he said.

With planting time coming soon, Foor said that they would shoot for a seeding rate of around 1.4 million.

“This year’s wheat was thick and it was starting to go down a little,” Foor said. “We plant with an air seeder and we try to get as close as we can to that population with our John Deere 1990.”

According to Ohio State University Extension, ideal wheat seeding rates are between 1.2 and 1.6 million seeds per acre.  For drills with 7.5-inch row spacing, this is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal seed size. The actual seeding rate has little effect on yield when wheat is planted in a timely manner, but high seeding rates (above 30 seeds per foot of row) can increase lodging. Seeding rates should be increased, however, if the crop is planted well after the fly-safe date. Seed size (the number of seeds per pound) and germination rates are critical for determining the proper seeding rate and drill calibrated, according to OSU Extension specialists.

Seeds should be uniformly planted between an inch and 1.5 inches deep, especially in later plantings. Shallow planting is the main cause of low tiller numbers and poor over-winter survival due to heaving and freezing injury, according to OSU Extension.

“Wheat works well in our rotation. It helps keep the soil loose,” Foor said. “Wheat is not a bad crop but you need good wheat to make it a good crop.”

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