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Growing High Yielding Wheat

October 28th 2011

Wheat can be a profitable crop to grow but for it to make money, high yields and top quality must be what we expect out of our fields.  There are some things that we are doing to get these yields that are general in the area.  These practices have allowed growers to grow over 70 bushels of hard red spring wheat and over 100 bushels of CPS wheat and do it on a consistent basis.  This is marked change from the yield that we saw 10 years ago. 
  
 The most important change that we have seen is the fertility program that growers are using.  The nitrogen rates to grow 70 bushels of hard red spring wheat are anywhere from 60 to 80 pounds of nitrogen per acre depending on soil test results.  Phosphate levels required will be in the 20 to 35 pounds per acre of phosphate.  Potash requirements are in the 20 to 40 pounds per acre depending on the type of soil that the wheat is being grown on.  A balanced fertility program has to be used to insure that a quality wheat crop is grown. 
  
 One nutrient that is required that was not an issue 20 years ago is copper.  We have seen significant responses to copper applied in our wheat fields.  Yield reductions of 100% have been seen in local fields.  It appears that the fields that yielded the best historically are the ones that show signs of copper deficiency first.  Using copper is becoming an extremely important management tool for growing top quality wheat in the Meadow Lake area. 
  
 Weed control is also very important.  Fields must start clean.  Fall spraying of land in the area has significantly reduced the amount of perennial weeds in the area.  Spraying early with the appropriate weed control product is essential for top wheat production.  Having a plan for herbicide usage has meant that we have been able to keep herbicide tolerant weeds out of our fields.  Herbicide resistant wild oats and green foxtail are creating problems for wheat grower in many other areas of the prairies. 
  
 Fungicide usage in crop is essential for top yielding wheat fields.  In the last couple of years we have seen significant yield increases in cereals from fungicide usage. 
  
 Fall management of the crop is essential for maintaining a quality crop that will sell for top dollar.  Glyphosate sprayed in the fall is an essential tool for growing a top quality wheat crop.  This practice takes out the late maturing heads.  Spraying wheat in the fall will take out any weeds present and will allow the crop to be easily straight cut with combines in the fall.  Straight cutting a wheat crop allows for better quality because the crop is exposed to less weathering issues and therefore top quality is more likely. 
  
 We can grow top quality wheat in the area.  We can reach yields better than a lot of areas in the prairies because we do get good rains.  If you are interested in growing top quality and high yielding wheat, give me a call.