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CropTalk: Success Strategies For Wheat

October 2022

Published on Monday, October 3, 2022

When it comes to managing a winter wheat crop, especially given the current commodity prices, there are many considerations for getting the most bang for our buck. Here at Beck’s, we have identified five key strategies for success to ensure the most profit potential.



Before the bag you’ve purchased ever goes into the ground, it is essential to know how much you will need to ensure success. Our PFR Proven™ data shows that 1,050,000 (15 seeds/ft. of row) in 7.5 in. rows and 700,000 (20 seeds/ft. of row) in 15 in. rows are ideal planting populations. If you’re planting into no-till environments, heavy residue situations, or soils that are prone to heaving, keeping populations a little higher may help ensure that you end up in this range.



If you are planting wheat with a planter, proper closing wheel selection can lead to a higher return on investment (ROI). Much like in corn and soybeans, most after-market closing wheel selections we have tested in PFR have proven to pay off in minimal amounts of acreage. In fact, some may even pay themselves off within one season if enough acres of wheat are planted based on your planter size. Don’t forget; they will also pay off even more quickly if you use them for corn and soybeans as well!



When it comes to in-season management decision-making, the most critical consideration we face is our nitrogen investment and timing to maximize our ROI. Regardless of the form of nitrogen you choose, split applications have consistently delivered the most profitable results. The best way to manage nitrogen is by applying part of your total at the Feekes 3 growth stage (green up after winter dormancy) and following it up with the second application at Feekes 5 (when we see more vertical growth and less tillering but before jointing). In addition, putting approximately 30 to 40 units of nitrogen down in the fall with dry fertilizer can help promote fall tillering and adequate growth going into winter dormancy.



Applications of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and sugar have also shown additional benefits in PFR and have been named our fourth success strategy. When we consider high-yielding wheat, Palisade EC is essential for controlling plant height and reducing lodging as we push for more yield. Sugar can also serve as an additional carbon source for the plants and can aid the crop in gaining extra bushels at a low cost.



Last but certainly not least, fungicide applications at Feekes 10.5.1 are critical to prevent the loss of yield due to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB), commonly referred to as head scab. The timing of the applications with products like Caramba® and Prosaro® 421 SC has been essential to hitting flowering right at the middle of the head for maximum control and ROI, but newer fungicides like Miravis® Ace can offer the flexibility of application from 50% heading through flowering. While early applications of Miravis Ace have provided a positive ROI, the highest gains have still been achieved at flowering.


Wow, what an exciting time it is to be a wheat farmer in 2022! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to your local Beck’s representative for further assistance.


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Jason Gahimer

Jason Gahimer

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