Mistakes made at planting will haunt you for the rest of the growing and marketing season

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.    

With wheat prices at historic highs, there is much enthusiasm about planting wheat this fall. Here are a few tips and reminders to help you maximize the yield potential of your wheat crop. Plant clean high quality wheat seed. Laboratory testing for germination is a good assurance of the viability of the seed. Seed that has been field inspected during its growing year helps to ensure its varietal purity and that it is free of seed-borne disease. Seed treatment with a systemic fungicide will add protection from many seed-borne diseases.

Choose varieties that are high yielding and disease resistant. Consult variety trial results from reputable sources. MSU’s wheat variety trial can be found at http:/www.css.msu.edu/varietytrials/ or contact your local MSU Extension office.

Check your seeding rate and equipment. Your seeding equipment should uniformly plant 1.6 to 2.1 million seeds per acre. Seeding rates should be matched to soil type and productivity. Generally, higher seeding rates give the best return. Remember that seed size varies from seed lot to seed lot.

Check planting depth regularly and often while planting. Wheat seed should be planted between 0.75 to 1.5 inches deep. A non-uniform seedbed can cause depth to vary as the planter is going across the field. This can be due to non-uniform tillage or surface compaction. When seeding depth can not be uniformly held in the ideal range, further increasing seeding rate can help compensate.

Begin planting after the Hessian Fly Free date. Planting early can help ensure adequate growth to overwinter and maximize tillering, however planting before the fly free date is not advised. The Hessian Fly Free for Michigan varies from south to north from late September in the south to early September in Northern areas. In Montcalm County, the Hessian Fly Free date is September 15.

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