It’s been a tough few years for winter wheat in Ontario, not necessarily because of the summer season, but because of the late and wet falls farmers have struggled with for the last two seasons. The fallout from a rough harvest is two-fold when it comes to winter wheat — the crop gets put in too late, capping yield, or the crop doesn’t get put in at all, curtailing a healthy corn, soy, wheat rotation.
As August winds down with soybean harvest in the crosshairs, you can almost SEE how excited RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson is in this latest Wheat School episode. Finally, farmers can seize the opportunity to get a wheat crop in in the ideal planting window.
“Early wheat has the most yield potential,” Johnson says. “Can you plant too early? Yes, but the risk to losing yield from too early is less than the risk of planting too late.”
When should this crop go in? Calendar dates are a good rule of thumb, says Johnson, but the key to getting the crop to the ideal overwintering stage is accumulating 450 growing degree days — and that’s much easier to do starting from mid-September than any time in October, and he offers an example of just how much of a difference it makes in the video above.
Johnson says he can’t talk about planting winter wheat without mentioning the importance of attacking glyphosate-resistant fleabane. This is an absolute must in the fall wheat crop, and you’ve got plenty of options for control.