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Angie Peltier

Angie Peltier
Former Extension Educator, Commercial Agriculture

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Hill and Furrow

Current topics about crop production in Western Illinois, including field crops research at the NWIARDC in Monmouth.
Figure. Feekes scale of wheat development. Graphic by Jerry Downs. Adapted from: Large, E.C., 1954. Growth stages of cereals: Illustration of the Feekes scale. Plant Pathology 3:128-129. (New Mexico State University).
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Growth staging wheat

The Feekes wheat growth staging scale (Figure) was developed to focus on important milestones in wheat development, particularly those that are important for scouting for insects, disease and weeds. For diseases, scouting should typically begin at Feekes 8, when the flag leaf is first visible. The flag leaf is important to protect because this leaf provides the most photosynthate (70%) to filling grain.

Much of the wheat growing at the NWIARDC is nearing heading or in one of the heading growth stages (Feekes 10.1 through 10.5).  The booting growth stage is easy to identify and is growth staged as Feekes 10. Booting occurs when the flag leaf sheath becomes swollen because of the developing head inside (Figure). The heading stage (Feekes 10.1) begins when the awns (long bristles) and/or the head emerges and starts to force the flag leaf sheath open (Figure). Some wheat at the NWIARDC has finished heading (Feekes 10.5) and is awaiting flowering (Figure).

Texas A+M has a useful detailed description of the Feekes growth staging scale ( I have linked to this PDF in the Agronomy program area on the NWIARDC website for your future reference.

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