This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension. Over the last two weeks, I have been getting some calls about planting winter wheat after soybeans. The most common questions have been on variety selection, planting dates, seeding rates, and planting depth.
You might be saying to yourself, “I don’t plant winter wheat, so I don’t care.” Did you know that in Fremont the cash price for winter wheat is often $0.40 over the futures price year-in-and-year-out? Did you know that adding winter wheat into the corn-soybean rotation helps improve soil health, helps fight against some diseases, weeds, and insects, provides a place to haul summer manure, and helps grow a cover crop for grazing? Also, USDA-NRCS programs called EQIP and CSP have incentive funds available for planting winter wheat.
The University of Nebraska conducts winter wheat variety trials across the state each year including in Saunders County south of Fremont. Averaged across the last two years, the varieties Wolf, Freeman, Cedar, Overland, and Southwind have been the top 5 highest yielding varieties locally. Straw production, lodging, and disease ratings are other traits to consider when selecting wheat varieties.
October 15 is the last day for 100% winter wheat insurance coverage in Dodge and Washington Counties, but we have delayed planting coverage until October 30. The recommended seeding rates for winter wheat in October range from 1.2 to 1.8 million pure live seeds per acre or 28 to 41 pure live seeds per foot. This equates to increasing the seeding rate by 150,000 seeds per acre per week during the month of October. Plant winter wheat 1 to 1.5 inches deep. Planting less than 1 inch or more than 2 inches deep can reduce your stand and increase winterkill. No-till and adding 20 lbs of phosphorus per acre in furrow will also help wheat perform better.
A short planting guide and links to additional resources can be found at our locally-focused website at croptechcafe.org or you can give me a call at 727-2775. Know your crop, know your tech, know your bottom line. This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist for Nebraska Extension on KTIC radio.