How late is too late to plant wheat?

By Matt Reese

In the soggy battle with wet weather this fall, Jake Culler in Ashland County (a featured farmer in Between the Rows) said they did not start planting most of their wheat until Nov. 4. Although it is well past the recommended time for planting wheat, the Cullers are hoping to get another 60 or 70 acres in this week to maintain their rotation and produce straw for their dairy.

“Wheat planted this late will likely not tiller well enough going in to winter and as such will likely suffer severe winter-kill,” said Pierce Paul, OSU Extension plant pathologist. “However, if you are lucky and Mother Nature cooperates, weather conditions in November and early December may be mild enough to allow the crop to emerge and develop a few tillers before going into dormancy. In addition, some growth and tiller development may also occur in early spring, again if the weather cooperates.”

To compensate for low tiller development, Paul recommends that any wheat planted this late should be planted at higher-than-normal seeding rates of 2 to 2.2 million seeds per acre.

“There is little research data from Ohio on the effect of seeding rates higher than 2 million seeds per acre on yield, so it is difficult to say what to expect. But even at a very high seeding rate, the success of a November-planted wheat crop will depend on the weather,” Paul said. “So as you prepare to seed your November wheat, be prepared for relatively poor stands and lower-than-normal yields. Remember, if the crop looks very bad in the spring, you can always replace it with corn or soybean. However, Mother Nature may just surprise us. There have been previous reports of November-planted wheat in Ohio yielding more than 60 bushels per acre.”

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One comment

  1. My grandfather used to raise potatos which alot of the time they were finishing harvest about this time. They alway planted wheat in the potato ground and had a very good stand. Though he did raise his rates to 150 pounds per acre. I did sow my wheat at this rate this year.

    Jeff Kaufman
    Kaufman Farms

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