• Aug 31, 2015

3 Ways to Enhance Winter Wheat Production

wheat field
Winter wheat offers benefits that include higher yield potential than spring wheat, and minimized wind and water erosion over the winter. To help farmers achieve the best results with their winter wheat investment, Jason Hanson, regional agronomist, WinField, offers the following suggestions.

1. Manage weeds
Before seeding, remove any grasses that could host yield-limiting insects. Hanson calls this “breaking the green bridge.” A glyphosate-based herbicide is one option to successfully “break the green bridge” prior to seeding.

2. Identify nutrient needs
Some winter wheat may be seeded into fields formerly designated as prevented planting acres. “Most farmers can expect good moisture levels on those fields, but soil fertility must be assessed,” says Hanson. Since yield goals are higher for winter wheat than for spring wheat, available nitrogen is a critical factor. “Raising 90-bushel wheat requires optimum nitrogen supplies throughout the season. Soil testing helps farmers fine-tune applications,” Hanson notes.

3. Nourish and protect
Seed treatments are an effective and convenient way to protect young crops, yet many farmers skip this important step, deceived by warm planting weather and rapid emergence. Hanson says seed treatments promote strong stand establishment, robust root systems and bigger crowns that will protect wheat over winter.
For even better results, Hanson recommends adding a plant growth regulator to seed treatments.
After seeding, Hanson recommends treating fields with a starter fertilizer, particularly if soil tests reveal nutrient-depleted soils. “Starter fertilizer applications help with winter hardiness, promoting a bigger crown and protecting crops until spring.”