Rome Ethredge retired county agent and outgoing Grains Specialist sent us a few reminders on wheat production this week that I thought I would pass along:
The optimum window for wheat planting for grain in Georgia is typically within one week before or after the average first frost date for a given area. 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 two applications of N fertilizer in the spring.
We want to plant about 35 seeds per square foot. Wheat varieties vary between 10,000 and 18,000 seeds per pound. This difference can impact the actual seeding rate if a grower seeds wheat in bushels per acre. As a general rule 2 bushels per acre are often planted but if seed are smaller or larger this could be off.
It’s better to check your seeds per foot of row. When planting with a drill on 7.5 inch row widths each linear foot of row should contain 20-25 seeds. This provides enough seed to achieve the target number of live plants per acre for high yield. If planting date is delayed or if there are problems with the seed or other issues where getting a good stand is risky, seeding rates should be increased by 15-20%.
Calibrating a drill can be done by catching seed from the down spout that leads to disk openers. First, measure off a known distance that you can calibrate to an acre. Remove the rubber tubes that lead to the disk openers. Use individual plastic bags or small bottles to catch seed from several tubes as you travel the known distance. Then count the number of seed or weigh the amount of seed captured. Then determine if you captured the appropriate amount for the desired seeding rate by distance or by determining the amount by weight needed to get the amount of seed by pounds. You will have to know the number of seeds per pound to determine the amount by weight. Plant about 1.5 inches deep.
Drilling wheat is better than broadcasting and disking it in. Some research shows an 8% yield difference.
Here’s the link to the 2019 UGA Wheat Production Guide. https://grains.caes.uga.edu/wheat.html