Consider Wheat in Your Rotation
Considering wheat in your rotation can offer added benefits to your operation and your bottom line. Depending on your needs, your location, if you use straw or grain to enhance your operation, there is a wheat variety for your operation.
Durum wheat is the hardest of all U.S. wheats. It is seeded in the spring and contains a high amount of protein. Durum wheat is grown mainly in North Dakota.
Hard Red Spring wheat contains the highest protein content. Hard Red Spring wheat is grown mostly in Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota. This wheat is seeded in the spring.
Hard Red Winter wheat is fall-seeded with a medium to high protein content. Hard Red Winter wheat accounts for more than 40% of the U. S. wheat crop and half of U.S. wheat exports and is grown mostly west of the Mississippi River from Texas to the Dakotas and Montana.
Soft Red Winter wheat is seeded in the Fall. It has a low to medium protein content and is grown mostly east of the Mississippi. Ohio is the leading producer of Soft Red Winter Wheat followed by Arkansas, Illinois and Missouri.
Typically in Wisconsin producers desire wheat for straw, grain or a combination of both. Many times it comes down to personal preference and comfort if the wheat is bearded or not if it is to be used for straw. Grain yields are typically better with bearded varieties than beardless. It is also recommended that these varieties be from the Soft Red family due to limited locations east of the Mississippi River that will accept grain. Look for varieties with excellent test weight, strong standability and good disease resistance especially with Head Scab tolerance.
A characteristic of wheat is the hair on top of the grain head. Wheat with these hairs is known as Awned or Bearded. Wheat without these hairs are known as Beardless or Awnless. These bristles can be less desirable in straw as they have a tendency to be sharp for bedding. However awned wheat tends to yield better than awnless varieties. Grain yields are also typically better following soybeans in a rotation.
Wheat harvested in late summer can offer options for manure spreading, cover crops, forages and an early source of income on grain harvest. Following wheat with oats and radishes is an excellent source to scavenge nitrogen although there can be some loss by planting time.
Adding wheat in your crop rotation can help with pest management minimizing pest resistance. Wheat can also prevent soil erosion, suppress weeds and add organic matter. Proper rotation can also increase soil health and fertility increasing yields that you can measure on your bottom line.
Planting a more disease resistant variety and applying a fungicide treatment is recommended if you live in Wisconsin and surrounding states. Leaf rust, Stripe rust, Stem rust and Fusarium Head Scab are the more common diseases in Wisconsin and can be treated with properly time fungicide treatment and crop rotation.
Drilled 1-1.5 inch deep
Sept 1 to Oct 10
1,300,000 – 1,600,000 seeds/acre
75 and 120 lbs/acre