Wheat School: Kernel weight matters when setting seeding rates

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There’s more reason than ever to make sure you’re setting your wheat seeding rate in weight or seeds per acre versus a “bushels per acre” rule of thumb.

That’s because of a few things, says Dr. Brian Beres, with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Lethbridge. First off, the genetic yield potential of wheat has improved over the last decade. With that added potential comes a push for higher populations and more precise numbers in a given area, much like we’ve seen with corn, Beres says.

“Plant populations need to edge up to exploit that genetic potential,” Beres says.

The move away from kernel visual distinguishability within western wheat classes has also impacted seed lots. There’s more variation in seed size and shape within a seed class now, Beres says, and the difference can be significant enough to warrant a shift in your typical rule-of-thumb rate. Targeting a “seeds per unit area” should be the new rule, and you’ve got to start with healthy seed with good germ and vigour and a kernel weight.

In this Wheat School, Beres explains more on that, plus how there are significant benefits to bumping seeding rates — for uniformity, competition, and disease management, to name a few things.

See more Wheat Schools here!

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