The cold weather has come. The temps have dipped to frost to downright freezing, and that slips wheat planting into the higher gears in the South.

As of Nov. 11, the National Agriculture Statistics Service Georgia office figured 30 percent of the wheat crop is in the ground in Georgia, on pace with the five-year average. About half the expected wheat is planted in Alabama, according the Alabama office, a bit ahead of the five-year average.

According to Dewey Lee, University of Georgia small grain specialist, research in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina shows deep tillage brings out the best yields for wheat. Deeper tillage gives the roots easier penetration, buries diseased debris, can dilute root pathogens and help water infiltration.

 

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No-till is not used much in wheat, and using it can reduce yields between 5 to 20 percent. Disking a field gets a good seedbed but can lead to compacted soil, and a hardpan can form. As far as wheat yields go, deep tillage, bottom or paraplowing or V-ripping is the best.

“It is slower and more costly than disking, but the yield increase is usually cost effective. In situations where double-cropping makes it impractical to deep till, chiseling or subsoiling may be an acceptable alternative,” Lee says in the recent Georgia Wheat Production Guide.