Shorten soybean maturity, plant early, add a seed inoculant, topdress humic acid, bump up the sulphur, and add in some 20-inch rows — it’s all part of what makes Dan Petker a ‘Real’ wheat farmer, says RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson.
On this Wheat School episode, Johnson travels to Port Rowan, Ont., to get the scoop on Petker’s production program, which combines solid fundamentals and a “bunch of cool stuff,” says our wheat guru.
Petker’s wheat production strategy starts with the basics — 100 to 150 lb of MAP, with nitrogen and sulphur applied in the spring and 1.5 to 1.6 million seeds per acre.
In 2019, wheat yields averaged between 110-115 bu/ac in a tough year for wheat production. Petker attributes much of his success to a series of management choices beginning with early planting and use of QuickRoots microbial seed inoculant for strong, early establishment. He notes that the inoculant has proven very effective on sandy soils with less biological activity.
A humic acid application at topdress has also proven to be a strong management choice. Applied with 28% in May, Petker pegs the yield impact at five to seven bushels per acre. (Story continues after the video.)
Petker has also found success with 20-inch row wheat — planted, not drilled. Compared to 10-inch wheat and twin-row wheat on 10 inches, there is no significant yield drag.
Sulphur is another important component of the program. Petker sees a significant crop health and yield response to 15 to 20 lb of actual sulphur, and it also contributes to better clover stands. He plans to push those rates even higher.
The final piece of the puzzle is a significant cutback in soybean maturity, allowing him to plant wheat in September. “It’s an astounding crop now and we didn’t give up much on the bean yields,” notes Petker.
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