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"Considerations When Planting Winter Wheat After a Spring Crop"

Updated: Jan 15


Planting winter wheat after a spring crop can be an attractive proposition for many farmers since it allows you to make the most of your fields year-round. However, careful and strategic planning is necessary to ensure a successful wheat crop in the following spring. Here are some key considerations to help you navigate the process.


Consider the Previous Crop


When deciding to plant winter wheat after a spring crop, it’s essential to consider the previous crop. Certain crops like legumes can provide a significant nitrogen boost to your soil which can be advantageous for wheat. However, some crops, particularly other cereals, can increase the risk of disease transfer, requiring additional disease management strategies for the upcoming wheat season.


Soil Preparation and Nutrient Management


The soil might be depleted of essential nutrients after the spring crop. It's important to replenish these nutrients before planting the wheat crop. Conduct a soil nutrient test to determine precisely which nutrients are lacking. Proper fertilization is essential to act on the results of this test, providing the wheat crop with the nutrients it needs to flourish.


Disease and Pest Management


Depending on your spring crop, there may be diseases and pests that could affect your winter wheat. It's essential to identify these potential threats and implement preventative measures. Rotating crops can often help prevent the spread of certain diseases and pests.


Seed Selection


Choose a winter wheat variety that is well-suited to your climate, soil type, and disease resistance needs. Different varieties offer different yields, disease resistances, and sowing times, so select the variety that works best for your specific situation.


Planting Time


Plant winter wheat after the Hessian fly-free date in your area to decrease the risk of infestation. This date usually gives the wheat enough time to establish strong root systems before winter dormancy, but times may vary depending on regional weather and variety of wheat.


Residue Management


When planting winter wheat after a spring crop, properly managing the residue from the previous crop is essential. Residues can impair seed placement and create a suitable environment for disease and pests.


Seeding Rate


Generally, a slightly higher seeding rate than when wheat follows corn or soybeans is recommended. This is because the later planting date often results in fewer tillers per plant.


Water Management


Understand the water demands of winter wheat and adapt your irrigation strategies accordingly. Too much or too little water can cause problems with wheat germination and growth.


In conclusion, while the process requires careful planning and consideration, growing winter wheat after a spring crop can offer an excellent opportunity to improve yield and maximize profitability. By considering the points outlined in this article, you can look forward to a fruitful winter wheat season.

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