Wheat School: Counting kernels to predict yield

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How much will that field yield?

That’s a question RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson is often asked when talking with growers. In this episode of Wheat School, he reviews the formula for estimating wheat yield. Johnson says it can be difficult to peg yield because testweight is a wildcard that can be tough to eyeball and it can easily throw off your calculations. But if you want to give it a shot, here’s the formula.

The first step is to count the number of heads per square foot. If you plant in 7.5-inch rows, you’ll need to count the number of heads in 19.2 inches of row; in 12-inch rows, count the number of heads in 12 inches; in 10-inch rows, count heads in 14.4 inches.

Then count the number of kernels per head. Johnson says Ontario wheat tends to average around 35 kernels per head while wheat in Western Canada will average 30 to 32. Then estimate the thousand kernel weight before finally multiplying by 0.0016.

So the formula looks like this: number of heads per sq. foot X number of kernels per head X thousand kernel weight X 0.0016.

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