If you double-crop soybeans after wheat, consider harvesting the wheat at high moisture.
If you double-crop soybeans after wheat and want to increase soybean yield, manage the previous wheat crop by planting an ultra-early variety and harvesting high moisture wheat. By adopting the early wheat system, you can harvest wheat sooner, plant soybeans earlier and increase soybean yield, maybe as much as a bushel a day.
What defines the early wheat system?
- Plant wheat earlier in the fall: 3 – 5 days gain on soybean planting
- Plant an ultra-early wheat variety: 3 to 5 days gain on soybean planting
- Harvest at 20 – 22% moisture and dry: 3 to 5 days gain on soybean planting
Phil Brown, an agronomist with Midwest Wheat Consultants, provided this advice about harvesting high moisture wheat. “Wheat will lose 3 to 5 points a day during the summer harvest window. Usually a farmer will only dry the first three days of harvest and after that it is naturally dried down.” Additional tips are listed below.
“In general, slow down and take your time. Pay attention to the combine monitor pertaining to your return and clean grain elevators, especially when you drive through a wet area. Moist grain doesn’t flow as smoothly as dry grain.
Watch the elevator speed as you unload carts or semis; operate at 1/2 to 3/4 normal speed.
Give the combine more room to work inside by opening the rotors 20 to 30% more than normal.
Slow the rotor down a bit to give it more time to process the grain.
Make sure you have the wheat dry in 24 hours if harvested over 20%. If harvested at 18% and using a bin drier, you can take more dry time.
Increase fan speed more than usual to help float wet chaff, allowing wheat to fall through sieves.
A benefit—you will find less loss at the head because the damp wheat doesn’t fall out as easily when the reel hits it.
Wheat only dries down to its best test weight once. Getting it in the bin quickly is the best thing to do.
Even if the wheat dries down, you need to have the system set up to run again if rain sets in and you need to dry wheat again.”
Soybean agronomist Dr. Daniel Davidson posts blogs on agronomy-related topics. Feel free to contact him at email@example.com or ring him at 402-649-5919.