These plants went in to winter very small. The tray method is the best option to evaluate how they wintered. The plants need 10-14 days to grow.
These plants went in to winter very small. The tray method is the best option to evaluate how they wintered. The plants need 10-14 days to grow.
As the snow retreats (quickly now, get on with you), it’s time to get out there and take a good look at the winter wheat stand. There is such thing as doing a winterkill evaluation too early, but, depending on the method you use, you could need up to two weeks to get a good read on the stand you have. It’s important to know what you have, because the time to put nitrogen on winter wheat is early, long before you really well and truly know if it made it.

There are two methods for evaluating a winter wheat stand ahead of the growing season — the tray method and the bag method (very scientific terms, I know). The bag method, demonstrated in the video below, is the fastest, but it relies on having a well developed crown to dig up and evaluate. If your crop went in late, or just never made it all that far into its growth stages, the tray method is your best option. It also takes up to 14 days, so if this applies to you, get digging!

In this Wheat School episode, Lyndsey Smith heads to the field with John Heard, soil nutrient specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, to talk early evaluation, nitrogen applications and timing and fully demonstrate the two methods of winter wheat stand evaluation. (For a more detailed account of the process, Click here for a PDF.)

Click here for a super neat winter survival model.

Want more Wheat School? Click here!

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