Listen to this week’s Extension Agronomy Corner on KTIC Radio:
This is Dr. Nathan Mueller, your local agronomist with Nebraska Extension for Dodge and Washington counties. Winter wheat grown in Northeast and East Central Nebraska only makes up 1% of all Nebraska wheat acres, which was roughly 15,000 acres in 2016. However, what is surprising to many people is that our local farmers have achieved over 100 bushels per acre rainfed wheat yields in both 2016 and 2017.
The winter wheat varieties planted in eastern Nebraska today can yield upward of 140 bu/ac under good management and weather. If you haven’t planted wheat in several years, consider today’s advanced genetics, many of which were developed through research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While the potential for top yields is important, it’s not yield alone that makes winter wheat profitable. You can add value through increased revenue, reduced costs, improved pest management, and spreading workload.
Adding wheat to your eastern Nebraska cropping system can offer many benefits, specifically:
- Additional revenue from utilizing or selling the straw
- Added profit from growing more late summer and early fall forage crops
- Ability to more effectively incorporate cover crops
- Capitalize on well above average basis, for example wheat often is 10 cents above futures in Fremont
- Reduced herbicide cost for troublesome weeds like marestail, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth by disrupting weed cycles
- Higher soybean yields in 3-year and 5-year crop rotations
- Opportunity to contract with feedlots for manure application in summer when compaction is less of a concern
- Reduced soil erosion and nutrient loss during high risk months of April, May and June.
- Improved soil health, soil structure, and infiltration
- Reduced labor cost through better distribution of workload on the farm.
- Possible higher cost-share for conservation work in July, August, and September
- Possible higher USDA CSP ranking score for planting wheat
Ready to plant wheat yet! We have launched a new set of resources for current and future wheat growers included a short guide to growing winter wheat in eastern Nebraska. To get more information on winter wheat management for eastern Nebraska, visit our website at croptechcafe.org/winterwheat or 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.