Wheat Planting Guidelines for 2020/21  
Wheat Planting Guidelines 

Use the variety tool to determine varieties best suited for your needs. 
The links below will allow you to watch a tutorial as well as access the tool.

Optimum planting dates for wheat for most of Johnston County is Oct. 16th to Nov. 3rd. After Nov. 3rd, consider increasing seeding rates by 5 percent each week to ensure proper tillering density.  When soil moisture levels are adequate, plant 1 to 1.5 inches deep.
Proper Fertilization
Fertilize and lime according to soil test reports. Consider applying 20 to 30 pounds of nitrogen/acre at planting to help increase fall tillering. Make sure adequate phosphorus and potassium levels are present in the soil at planting. 
Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are important nutrients needed by a wheat crop.  Phosphorus (P) is vital for plant development, starting when wheat is just a seedling and continuing all the way to maturity. Besides playing a role in the quality and formation of seeds, this nutrient helps ensure uniform heading, faster maturity, and strengthens the plant to help survive the winter. P also acts behind the scenes assisting with photosynthesis, energy storage, and cell division. Without enough available P in the soil, plants will suffer from deficiencies, including stunted growth, reduced root systems, and poor tillering. 
Potassium (K) is associated with the movement of water, nutrients and carbohydrates in plant tissue. Wheat requires potassium for optimal growth and development. Adequate potassium results in the superior quality of the whole plant due to improved efficiency of photosynthesis, increased resistance to some diseases, and greater water use efficiency. Sufficient potassium results in stronger wheat straw and assists in grain filling.
Soil pH and micronutrients are also critical for crop production. Try to maintain a 5.8 to 6.0 on most of our soil types.  Make sure that magnesium and sulfur levels are sufficient in the soil. Check soil report for micronutrient deficiencies and add as required to preplant fertilizer applications. Some micronutrient adjustments can be made during the growing season if needed. 
In the spring, always apply sulfur with your nitrogen applications. 
Calibrate Drills
A proper seeding rate is important. If your seeding rate is based on 10,000 seed/ pound and your seed is actually 12,000 seed/pound, you have overshot your seeding rated by 21 lbs/acre, increasing seeding cost in a time where every dollar counts.  
If planting on-time with 90% or better germination seed, the recommended target seeding rate is 1.3-1.5 million seeds per acre.  For broadcast rates use the higher number for seed/sq foot.  Note the chart below for additional information.

Million seeds per acre:      1.31           1.52
Seeds per square foot:       30              35
Seed Size Seed/pound
Pounds of Seed /A
Drill row Spacing (inches)
Row feet in an acre
Seed/Drill row ft

The above rates should be increased 20% for no-till plantings. Increase the above rates 13% if using 80% germination seed for drilled and broadcast plantings.   Increase the above rates 5% for each week planting is delayed.
The best way to calibrate is to measure the circumference of your drive wheel. If your drive wheel is 4.9 feet around and you seeding rate in 19-22 seed/row foot, you should catch 93-108 seed in one revolution (4.9X19= 93.1 and 4.9X22=107.8).

Check several tubes for discharge and make sure all tubes are open. This will put you in the appropriate seeding range for any size seed on a 7.5 inch drill width. For other row widths, always check the chart above and do the math. Make sure you check the circumference of your drills wheel size. For more information, watch the following excellent video by Tim Hambrick.

Weed Control 
Since 2016, several products for pre-emergence control of Italian ryegrass and annual bluegrass in wheat have been evaluated.  None of the products have had an adverse effect of wheat and when activated give good control of ryegrass. Some mixtures provided good broadleaf control, and some products can be applied as a preemergence, but wheat has to be planted at a certain depth. There are too many variables, including soil type and rainfall to recommend a pre emergent application. Follow the percent spike recommendations. 
Below click on the products name for more information.
Wheat Spike Stage
Zidua (Group 15) - Apply to wheat at 80% spike through 4th tiller, using .7-2 oz/A.  Rainfall is needed to activate Zidua.  Dry weather may limit preemergence weed control.  Will not control emerged weeds. Preemergence Italian ryegrass and bluegrass residual control.  Residual control or suppression of tough grasses and small seeded broadleaf weeds.  Zidua will not control germinated or emerged weeds, and should be applied with a tank mix partner that will control emerged weeds.  See Label.
Anthem Flex (Group 14 and 15) - A mixture of Aim and Zidua.  Apply to wheat at 80% spike through 4th tiller, using 2-4.5 oz/A.  Rainfall is needed to activate Zidua.  Dry weather may limit preemergence weed control. You can apply this product before wheat germinates, but it is easier on crop to wait until spike stage.
Fierce (Group 14 and 15) - A mixture of Valor and Zidua.  Apply to wheat at 95% spike through 2 leaf, using 2-4.5 oz/A.  Rainfall is needed to activate Fierce.  Dry weather may limit preemergence weed control. Plant wheat 1-1.5 inches deep. *** Cannot use on Broadcast or lightly tilled wheat crop.  Do not used a fertilizer or adjuvant with this product.  Avoid applications on heavy sand or low organic matter soils
Axiom (Group 5 and 15) - A mixture of Flufenacet and Metribuzin. Apply to wheat at 80% spike using 4-10 oz/A.  ***Application rate is dependent on soil type. NC State research has shown best results with 6-7 oz/A on coarse soils and 8-9 oz/A on medium to heavy soil types.

Webinar on Wheat Planting This Fall?
Join us for part 1 of our "Wheat Production Series" on September 25th, 2020, from 8 to 9 a.m. NC State Extension Specialists will be providing the latest pre-plant updates:

Dr. Angela Post, Small Grains Extension Specialist, "Pre-plant Fertility Recommendations", Getting your wheat crop off to a great start.

Dr. Wesley Everman, Extension Weed Specialist, "Pre-plant Considerations for Weed Management in Wheat", Planning your weed management prior to planting, to start clean and stay clean.

Bring your questions on fertility and weed control for the discussion time. Please register at the link below. 

                   Contact: Tim Britton Like us on Facebook
                  Agriculture Extension Agent
                   Office: (919) 989-5380