The key to cashing in on the 2010-2011 wheat crop is going to be good management of both the crop and of the inputs that go into producing the crop. From across the wheat-producing belt, Crop Quest agronomists contend planning and knowledge are the keys to success with wheat this year.

Crop Quest Agronomist Tim Reh in Oklahoma says too many farmers there want to plant their wheat too early. “A lot of our farmers plant wheat with a dual purpose—for grain and for grazing cattle, so they tend to want to plant in September,” Reh says.

For wheat going in strictly for grain, Reh says he advises his growers to wait until mid-October on into early November to plant. Typically, our early and our late-planted wheat will mature enough to graze cattle within a few days of each other and the later planting gives the growers a better stand and more options for management, Reh explains.

Tim Warden, who works the Eastern Panhandle of Texas, echoes Reh’s advice for dual purpose wheat. Knowing when to get cattle on wheat fields and off before they do too much damage to the crop is critical. Getting wheat up quickly and available to cattle to help growers avoid having to feed hay in the winter is also a consideration.

Fertility and planting date are critical factors in putting together a wheat program. Nitrogen is obviously going to be a critical factor in getting the wheat up quickly, but watching the inputs is also important to growers.

With seed supplies very short in some areas and expensive across the board, knowing the ideal seeding rate is important to wheat growers. Warden says on dryland wheat most of his growers get by with 40-45 pounds of seed per acre. “On irrigated land it varies from 60 pounds per acre on limited irrigation land. On full-blown, full season irrigation land, some growers may go up to 100 pounds or even up to 120 pounds on some soils,” Warden says.