Wheat School: Can Winter Wheat Get Too Big?

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Ontario’s winter wheat crop is growing like gangbusters thanks to unseasonably warm fall temperatures. But could it grow too much?

“No way,” says agronomist Peter Johnson in Real Agriculture’s latest Wheat School episode. “The only thing we have to worry about is if it’s still growing on Christmas Eve, like last year.” In that case growers may have to adjust spring nitrogen rates.

The 2016 wheat crop benefitted greatly from early planting to produce a record 96.7 bushels per acre. Johnson has encouraged growers to plant early again this spring, but many have asked whether plants could get too big as good growing conditions persist.

In this episode, Johnson looks at a fast growing wheat field and concludes that the plants can still add more tillers. He says last year many plants had 10 to 12 tillers and he’s seen nowhere near that number in fields he’s scouted this fall.

“Well advanced wheat in the fall makes you money next spring,” says Johnson. “This is a an awesome crop.”

Click here for more Wheat School episodes.

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Wheat School (view all)Season 7 (2016) Episode 5
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