Winter Crops

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As many of our summer crops are near ready for harvest, many growers at this time are considering planting wheat. With the selling price of wheat less favorable for profits, let’s consider how to best improve our net return.

Planting Date– It’s essential to get wheat off to a strong start. For Greene County, this means getting all of your planted acres in the ground by Nov. 15. If you’re a large scale farmer, stagger your planting for 2-3 weeks in order to obtain this goal. It’s best to plant later maturing varieties first, then early maturing varieties last. Planting by Nov. 15 in most years gives optimal tiller growth and development.

Planting rate– It’s important to know your seed size to know the proper planting rate. Depending on size of seed, your target can range from 87-150 pounds per acre. For general purposes, aim for 130 pounds of seed in conventional situations, and 150 pounds for no-till planting.

Fertility-It’s a good idea to base soil fertility programs on a known soil sample report. 30-40 pounds of N at planting is usually sufficient for optimal fall growth. Plan on spring N additions of 50-100 pounds depending on the development of the crop. Apply other nutrients as suggested by soil test.

Control winter weeds with preemergent herbicides at planting.

Lastly, choose varieties that perform well for your area and are resistant to some of your more common diseases. This will help advance growth and development for your crop. A variety performance chart is provided 2015 Wheat Variety Performance Chart for your convenience.
For those of you wishing to consider alternative plans to wheat for a fall cover crop, consider any of these options:

Canola, rapeseed
This is a good winter crop. It’s seed can be harvested and sold in June. Purdue receiving stations typically accept this seed.

Cover crops
Cover crops offer a great benefit to the soil beyond their fruit production. Planting any of these will improve soil health by aiding soil organisms in the breakdown and transfer of biomass into plant available nutrients, will lessen the effects of extreme precipitation and temperature to the soil, and will supply nutrients for spring crops. Consider a monoculture or combination of any of these crops for our area:
Vetch, Rye, Clovers, or Winter Pea. These perform the best of all cover crops and will offer the best benefit to your soil health. It is ideal to have these cover crops planted by Oct. 31.
For more information, please contact Roy at 747-5831.

Written By

Photo of Roy Thagard, Jr.Roy Thagard, Jr.Extension Agent, Agriculture - Field Crops (252) 747-5831 roy_thagard@ncsu.eduGreene County, North Carolina
Posted on Sep 25, 2015
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