Wheat School: Counting kernels to predict yield

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.

Click here for more Wheat School episodes.


Bernard Tobin

Bernard Tobin is Real Agriculture's Ontario Field Editor. AgBern was raised on a dairy farm near St. John's, Newfoundland. For the past two decades, he has specialized in agricultural communications. A Ryerson University journalism grad, he kicked off his career with a seven-year stint as Managing Editor and Field Editor for Farm and Country magazine. He has received six Canadian Farm Writers' Federation awards for journalism excellence. He's also worked for two of Canada's leading agricultural communications firms, providing public relations, branding and strategic marketing. Bern also works for Guelph-based Synthesis Agri-Food Network and talks the Real Dirt on Farming.


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