Alberta Barley

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Apr 23

Assessing winter wheat stands

Posted on Apr 23 By: Jeremy Boychyn, Agronomy Research Extension Specialist

With spring comes winter wheat survival assessment. A poor stand could mean a decision on reseeding into a spring crop. First step is to ensure the crop has come out of dormancy and growth has begun. This will ensure the plants that will survive are growing. Next, get an idea of the topography and how that has affected winter survival. Our eyes naturally focus on the bad parts of the field, but it is important to have a good idea of what percentage of the field has a poor versus adequate stand. Measure your plant stands using a meter stick and count the number of plants per meter of row by laying the meter stick between the rows. Be sure to dig up a few plants and check the health of the root system and crown of the plant. You want to see a white crown with new white roots developing. A brown colored crown and a lack of new roots indicates an unhealthy plant that likely won’t produce. Take multiple samples to get a good idea of the full field. Your target spring winter wheat population should be 200-300 plants/m-2. However, stands of 150 plants/m-2can still produce an economic yield.

Table 1 Information to help you work out the numbers of plants per metre
Crop row spacing (inches) Crop row spacing (cm) Count plants per metre of crop row and multiply by this number to get plants/m2
7 18 5.6
9 23 4.4
10 25 4
12 30 3.3
14 35 2.8

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