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When to plant wheat?


With the optimum wheat planting window right around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at our wheat planting recommendations.

The following information can be found in the 2013-2014 Wheat Production guide at

The optimum window for wheat planting in Georgia is typically one week before the average first frost date for a given area and one week after.

Planting during the appropriate time for your area will allow wheat to develop enough tillers prior to January or early February which reduces the likelihood of needing to apply two applications of N fertilizer in the spring. Fall produced tillers will have stronger root systems, larger heads with better capacity for high test weight and consequently tolerate more stress.

You can find the first frost date for your area using the Georgia Weather net at

Below is the first frost date data for the Dawson area:

From Sept-1 to Dec-31 First Frost Date Frost Temperature (┬░F)
2012 Nov 25 25.0
2011 Nov 12 26.3
2010 Nov 8 31.5
2009 Dec 5 29.7
2008 Oct 29 29.1
2007 Nov 8 29.7
2006 Nov 13 31.6
2005 Nov 18 31.6
2004 Dec 14 30.4
2003 Nov 25 29.1
2002 Nov 18 31.2
2001 Oct 29 31.1
2000 Nov 15 31.9


Planting date is a critical component of successful wheat production. Planting too early or too late reduces yield potential. Always plant late maturing varieties first since these varieties most often have the longest vernalization requirements. Recognize though that some medium maturing varieties may have also have long vernalization requirements which makes them less suitable for late planting.

Vernalization requirement varies widely with variety. In order for wheat to vernalize, temperatures must be low and remain that way for a specific length of time. In the absence of cold weather wheat waits until enough heat units are accumulated before heading. This delay in heading usually results in wheat filling the grain during a hot and dry time of the year such as May or early June.

If planting late in the season, choose an early maturing variety because they have, in general, very little vernalization requirements. This ensures the crop will vernalize properly even in a mild or warm winter. Caution should be taken to avoid planting these types of varieties too early in the season. Due to their short season growing abilities, these varieties may enter the jointing and heading phase too quickly and therefore be subject to severe winter kill or damage from late spring freezes.

If you have any questions, contact your local extension agent for more information.