Wheat is one of the main staples of our diet. When not used for bread, beer or in cereals, wheat serves as a grazing crop for farmyard animals. You can’t escape wheat. Bread wheat production is mainly confined to the Plains states, says Virginia Cooperative Extension, but varieties of wheat can be grown all over the United States.
Seeding is done at a rate of 120 to 150 pounds of seed per acre. High-quality seed with a high germination rate is recommended for the best growth results. Planting timed for the wheat seed depends on the first frost for the region. Late planting of wheat requires a greater seeding rate.
A tiller, says Texas A&M University, is the shoot which originates from the axil of a leaf or at a node. Once tillers begin to form, secondary tillers will come out of the main stem or from the original shoot mass. Insects may damage tiller growth. Fertilization too early in the season will increase tiller growth, and may cause too much top growth. Fall application of nitrogen that is excessive will potentially cause winter kill of the plant and may cause foliar disease.
Herbicides for use in wheat production are marked as suitable for hard red winter wheat (HRWW) or soft red winter wheat (SRWW). Use SRWW for wheats that are used for the baking of breads or other baked goods. Foraging wheats are sprayed with HRWW for the control of weeds. HRWW and SRWW pesticides are sprayed according to the instructions on the herbicide label.
If lime is required in the wheat field by a pH test to balance the soil’s alkalinity, it is incorporated when the field is tilled for seed spreading. A top dressing before planting will increase wheat tillage and prevent disease.
Cereal leaf beetle and aphids, which spread the disease barley yellow dwarf, are of concern in wheat fields. Planting later in the fall decreases the need for insecticide use and promotes a healthier crop. Rotations with soybean also reduce insect populations. Insecticides are only applied when the acceptable insect threshold is past. Contact your local university extension for information on insects in your area and what the acceptable threshold for those insects are.