Wheat Evaluation

February 22, 2022

Dale Longwell, Seed Specialist & CCA

We are seeing some 50 degree days and things are looking toward spring! Now that the snow has melted, and we still have some frozen ground, it is a perfect opportunity to evaluate your wheat stands. With the wheat market at almost $8 and most of the fertilizer applied last fall, the only needs we have to look at is spring top dress nitrogen and herbicide and fungicide applications.

I’m sure a lot of retainers took advantage of frozen ground to get nitrogen applied, however now as we get to green up we have a great opportunity to evaluate stand establishment. I think this is why most of your wheat consultants recommend split applications of nitrogen, so that you can put the nitrogen on at the appropriate time.

From my conversations with Midwest Wheat Consultants, the early “Jan-Feb” applications are more for thin stands, so when we get these warmer days the wheat will stool out and thicken up the stand. Later in crop applications will promote more grain development and less plant growth.

I have found that a split application of nitrogen leads to less logging issues because the large amount of nitrogen in a single application promotes rapid growth, which in turn leads to more stem elongation and more risk for the wheat going down in storms.

The other benefit of evaluating your wheat is that if the stand is not the most desirable, 90% of the fertilizer and nitrogen applied is still available for corn should you choose to terminate the wheat.