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Sponsored: 15 Tips for Successfully Growing Soft Red Winter Wheat in the Midwest

Are you getting ready to plant wheat? To help farmers across the Midwest prepare, Beck's Field Agronomist Chad Kalaher put together 15 tips for successfully growing soft red winter wheat. 

1. Variety Selection. Select varieties that are best suited for your operation’s needs, whether that’s based on maturity for harvest timing and soybean double-cropping, straw and/or grain yield, management level, or a combination of these needs.

In addition, maturity and harvest timing may be important for timely manure management, summer drainage tile projects, or timely cover-crop seeding. Utilize data from universities, third-party testing services, seed companies, and local performance-based product recommendations from your Beck’s representative to help select the best varieties available. University of Illinois research from 2013 and 2014 shows a 20 percent difference in grain yield just by selecting top-performing wheat varieties.

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2. Soil Test. A soil test prior to planting will help determine the need to correct pH and the potential yield response of wheat to various fertilizer products. A complete soil analysis that includes the basic package, as well as micronutrients, % base saturations, and cation exchange capacity (CEC) is beneficial for identifying yield-limiting factors related to plant nutrition. 

3. Fall Pre-Plant Fertilizer. The most common broadcast dry fertilizers in the fall prior to planting wheat are DAP (18-46-0), MAP (11-52-0), AMS (21-0-0-24S), MESZ (12-40-0-10S-1Zn), manure, or a combination of those products. Depending on the soil test results, wheat may respond significantly to these “starter” applications of fertilizer, especially ones containing phosphorus (P) when the value of P is below 60 lb./A. Application rates of fall fertilizer prior to planting wheat should be based on P needs first, followed by nitrogen (N). For example, applying 200 lb./A. of DAP would supply enough P for crop removal of 100 Bu./A. wheat, and would also supply 36 lb./A. of N. Nitrogen and P in the “starter” will help promote fall tillers and good root development prior to winter dormancy.

To read the rest of these tips, you can click here for the full article. 


For more Agronomic News from Chad Kalaher, please visit his blog or his Agronomy Page on

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