Extension Educator, Local Food Systems and Small Farms
After the rains of the past few weeks, many are wondering if the soil will ever dry enough to harvest this years crop. There just isn't a great deal of evaporation nor will crops be taking a lot out of the soil to allow drying to occur. Wheat producers are even more concerned since most of that crop is sowed after soybean, and although May planted soybeans are close to mature, the June planted still have quite a bit of pod fill to go yet.
If wheat growers haven't yet placed a seed order, time is of the essence. Wheat varieties are numerous. Utilizing yield trials to determine varieties gives better results. The U of I variety trials are located at this address: http://vt.cropsci.uiuc.edu/wheat.html
The research conducted in IL has shown wheat sown after soybean has a higher yield versus after corn. This is due to better stands behind beans as well as less disease potential. Tillage has increased yield compared to no till wheat after soybean, but probably not to the extent that the extra cost of tillage would outweigh the better yield. However, wheat planted after corn has benefited from a tillage trip.
Wheat seed treated with an insecticide seed treatment have generally yielded positive results at the Orr Research Center. And the further you head south in IL the more positive the results.
Application of 20-30# of nitrogen in the fall is recommend. 150# of DAP would provide this, as well as provide much needed phosphorus. 50# of 0-0-60 would also be required. Both these application rates are based upon the amounts of fertility 75 bushels of wheat would remove from the field. If the soil is low in either nutrient, then additional fertilizer should be added. Remaining nitrogen should be applied in the spring, in a single application.
The fly free date for our area is approximately Oct. 1st. Seeding at or close to that date would be recommend. 1.2- 1.4 million seeds per acre would be the goal. Consult the seed tag to determine seeds per pound on the variety you are seeding to determine pounds per acre required to achieve this population.
Since the soybean crop needs to be harvested prior to wheat seeding, delayed seeding will be the norm this year. Because delayed seeded usually results in fewer fall tillers that develop, increased seeding rates should be considered. Tillers are what produce seed heads, and you don't want to compromise yield. For each week that seeding is delayed after the fly free date, increase the seeding rate by 10%.