Wheat School: Planting strategies for a late soybean harvest

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Soybean harvest is underway in Ontario as the crop matures rapidly.

It’s good news for winter wheat growers looking to get the crop planted on soybean ground, says RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson, but there are still plenty of late-planted green soybeans that are a long way from the bin. The prospect of another year of late-planted wheat has some growers worried, but Johnson says there’s still plenty of time to get the cereal crop in the ground.

On this episode of the Wheat School, Johnson reminds growers “you can plant wheat in much of the province on October 18th or October 25th and you still have that 100-bushel yield potential.”

Johnson has three key management considerations for growers who plant late. As you move into October it’s time to start pumping up the seeding rate. The main reason for this is the development of fewer fall tillers as the days drop off the calendar. Spring tillers can help yield, says Johnson,”but if we get super late you have to push seeding rates to 2.1 to 2.4 million seeds.” (Story continues after the video.)

Johnson also offers tips on planting depth. Growers may plant shallow to get the seed out of the ground faster, but with the fall temperatures swings typically seen in Ontario, winter wheat needs the insulation soil provides at standard planting depths.

Weed control is the final management consideration, says Johnson. He says growers need to control tough weeds like glyphosate-resistant Canada fleabane, dandelion, sow thistle and winter annuals, such as shepherd’s purse. “If you don’t kill them in the fall, you can’t kill them fast enough next spring.” He notes that weeds don’t impact the wheat crop in the fall, but they do become yield robbers in the spring when they get a big jump on the crop and typically can’t be sprayed until late April.

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