Wheat School: Timing PGRs in winter wheat for head count and yield


There’s big yield potential in winter wheat fields across Ontario as the crop advances quickly with help from favourable spring growing conditions.

Growers have been busy getting that first shot of nitrogen on the crop and focus now shifts to whether the crop can benefit from a plant growth regulator (PGR) as the wheat advances to growth stage 30 and beyond.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Wheat School, Syngenta Canada agronomist Marijke Vanderlaan and host Bernard Tobin discuss findings from three years of data from the Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) — it highlights the important role heads per square foot can play in high-yielding wheat.

See related: Wheat School: High head counts deliver high yield

Quite simply, more heads per square foot means more yield potential but there’s also an increased risk of lodging, and crop loss, in these fields. In the video, Vanderlaan assesses a rapidly advancing wheat field near West Montrose, Ont., to determine whether a PGR would be beneficial and, if so, when it should be applied.

Across this field, stem counts average 80 stems per square foot. Based on her experience scouting wheat fields since PGRs were introduced in Ontario a couple of years ago, Vanderlaan says crops can benefit when stem counts reach 65 or higher.

Once the decision to use a PGR has been confirmed, the next task is to decide when to make the application. Vanderlaan notes that the sweet spot for optimum growth regulator application is growth stage 30 to 32, but there’s no need to panic if the crop is progressing quickly — Vanderlaan notes that Moddus, Syngenta’s PGR product, can be applied up to growth stage 37.

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