Sponsored: Dust It In, Bust the Bin!
Even though wheat acres are down quite a bit this year, I’ve seen a lot of drills running through fields over the past month. I’ve also heard the old adage, “dust it in, bust the bin” more times than I can count. While it was ok at first, it’s now starting to worry me.
Winter wheat has the ability to remain viable all the way until the spring if it does not get enough moisture to germinate. The problem arises when there IS enough moisture to germinate, but not enough to emerge. This could lead to delayed emergence or plant death. Delayed emergence will almost always cause fewer fall tillers to form which limits yield potential in the spring. Beck’s Escalate™ yield enhancement system is an excellent tool to combat these issues because it includes not only an insecticide and multiple fungicides, but also a biological component that promotes a more vigorous root system and early season growth.
At this point, if you still have your wheat in the shed you only have a few options:
- Plant in the dust and hope for the best. Planting deeper (2 in. or more) will not only place the seed closer to moisture, but it will also increase the odds of poor emergence.
- Wait for rain. This option is risky because we’re already into the month of November and there is not a lot of opportunity for fall growth.
- Return your wheat seed and plant your first crop soybeans. Beck’s Kentucky Practical Farm Research (PFR)® has shown that 106 percent of yield potential can be achieved by planting soybeans in the second half of April.
The best way to assess your crop is to get out and start walking and counting. Ideally, you want 25 plants/sq.ft. I like to keep a 12 in. x 12 in. metal square with me while walking fields in early November to assess the stand in different areas. Some varieties have the ability to compensate for reduced stands by tillering, but this is not a real substitution for actual plants emerged. The University of Tennessee created an excellent “Wheat Quick Facts Guide” which can be accessed here. This guide will help you with everything from fertility to growth staging. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local Beck’s representative if you have any questions.
Austin Scott, CCA | Field Agronomist
Escalate and Practical Farm Research (PFR) are trademarks of Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Inc.