What is in this article?:
- Broadcasting wheat works for North Carolina grower
- Was a big switch
- Headed out early
• The combination of good prices for wheat and beans is a big incentive to get both crops planted and harvested efficiently.
• For anyone thinking about taking this approach this fall, they better be sure the applicator knows how to blend the seed and fertilizer and that the applicator applies the blend in an over-lap pattern that insures a good stand.
AL WOOD, Pasquotank County Extension Agent, right, and Allen Weeks check progress of the soybean crop at the farm.
Headed out early
“Allen’s wheat headed out a couple of weeks early as did all the crop in our area. We got some cold weather at the end of March, and it came within a degree or two of really causing some major problems, but most of our growers got by without any significant damage or yield loss,” Wood recalls.
In March, Weeks came back with a top-dress application of 26-0-0, plus 3 percent sulfur on his wheat, and even that lower than usual rate of nitrogen was a concern, he says. The extra sulfur is something new, but with less of it available from the atmosphere, it can be a limiting factor in overall production in some areas of the country.
“We had plenty of fields in the county with more than 100 tillers per square foot, which is considerably more than Randy Weisz (North Carolina State University Extension Wheat Specialist) recommends. Supposedly, every tiller per square foot means a bushel of wheat,” Wood says.
Other than some weed pressure, most notably wild onions, which he managed with Harmony Extra and an application of Quilt for disease control, last year’s wheat crop required little attention. Though there weren’t any significant disease issues, Weeks says he feels he always gets a good return on his money from using a fungicide on wheat.
A key to getting broadcast wheat to come up uniformly, Weeks says, is to come back and ‘wrap up’ the wheat seed. “I set my DynaDrive on minimum depth (2-3 inches), which fluffs the soil and seems to cover the seed, without getting it too shallow or too deep in the soil, the North Carolina grower says.
To insure a good stand, he goes with 200 pounds of seed per acre, and later in the season may go as high as 220 pounds per acre. That’s about 25 percent higher than seeding rates used when wheat is planted with a grain drill.
Wood says in some years growers can get by with using the same seeding rate with broadcast planting versus conventional planting, but that’s risky.
Weeks says the broadcast wheat came up much better than he expected the first two years he did it. “If you get it broadcast right, and use an overlap pattern, you need the extra seed and that’s good insurance for getting a good stand,” he adds.
“If it’s done right, I don’t see any difference in yield between broadcast and conventional planting,” Wood says. “But if you don’t get it right and do special things like splitting the track for an overlap, you can get a mess,” he adds.