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How late can you seed winter wheat?

Agriculture.com Staff 10/18/2006 @ 9:15am

With harvest running late and producers expressing increased interest in planting winter wheat, many have asked about how late they can plant winter wheat without penalizing yields.

Winter wheat can be seeded up until about February 15 in southeast Nebraska and about March 15 in northwest Nebraska and still give the seed time to vernalize. Four to six weeks of freezing temperatures at night are required for vernalization. Some varieties have shorter vernalization requirements. Yields decrease with late seedings after the suggested seeding date.

How much depends on the fall? With higher-than-normal temperatures, you can seed later and not give up any yield. Also, late seedings may not produce sufficient growth to reduce wind erosion and in some cases water erosion. This usually is not a problem with no-till.

In a Kansas State University study where the wheat emerged in the spring rather than the fall due to drought, the spring-emerged wheat yield was reduced by 47%. In this case, practices weren't adjusted for the late seeding. Seeding rate was not increased, seed-applied starter fertilizer was not used, and it wasn't planted in narrow rows. Also, there is a difference in varieties and how they respond to late planting.

With harvest running late and producers expressing increased interest in planting winter wheat, many have asked about how late they can plant winter wheat without penalizing yields.

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