In an issue of the Cool Bean Advisor newsletter, University of Wisconsin wheat and soybean specialist Shawn Conley shared his top winter wheat establishment recommendations. They include:
  1. Variety selection matters.
  2. Plant new seed (DO NOT plant saved seed).
  3. A fungicide seed treatment is recommended for winter wheat, especially for seed damaged by Fusarium head blight (FHB).
  4. Wheat should be planted 1 to 1.5 inches deep.
  5. The target seeding rate for wheat planted from September 15th to October 1st is 1,300,000 to 1,750,000 seeds per acre.
  6. The optimal seeding rate for wheat planted after October 1st should be incrementally increased when the planting date is delayed, compensating for reduced fall tillering.
  7. Crop rotation matters.
And always plant the cleanest commercial seed of the latest varieties. Do not plant bin-run or saved seed, because over time the seed loses yield potential—compared to the more recent varieties—and seed quality will be higher.
Agronomist John Pike, Pike Ag LLC in Marion, Illinois, offered these planting tips at the recent ISA-IWA double-crop fields days.
  • Choose a good variety
    • Scab rating, yield, maturity, etc.
    • Earlier maturity is great, but shouldn’t be the primary driver
    • Treat seed and scout for aphids
  • Plant as early as possible
    • Observe the Fly-Free Date, but push if avoiding weather delay
    • Watch planting after an early harvest, excess fall growth can cause problems
  • Use a well calibrated/maintained drill
    • Pounds per acre vs. plant population
    • 30-40 seeds/sq. ft. (1.3 – 1.7 million ppa+)
    • Trend to higher populations when using better management
  • Apply enough phosphorus and potassium for wheat and the following double-crop beans
    • 30 lbs./A nitrogen at planting
Other wheat planting tips are available in an Ohio State University extension article.
Soybean agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on agronomy-related topics. Feel free to contact him at or ring him at 402-649-5919.

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About the Author: Dan Davidson

Soybean agronomist Daniel Davidson, Ph.D., posts blogs on topics related to soybean agronomy. Feel free to contact him at or ring him at 402-649-5919.