When it comes to perfecting no-till crop practices, it seems like corn and soybeans have made the most progress. They’ve got genetically altered seed and specialized chemicals. They’re continually tinkering with planters and drills, hoping to create the ideal machine. But what about wheat?
While a traditional symbol of Americana, wheat has fallen short when compared to its corn and soybean counterparts in no-till success. But many experts say this is only to be a temporary situation.
Researchers report that genetically altered seed is on the way as well as improved chemicals and machinery. But until these things are perfected and on the public market, here’s some things you should know:
Virginia Tech agronomy professor Mark Alley says new no-till drills and air seeders are on the way, allowing growers to no-till in a more timely fashion with less labor and machinery. These new drills will also enable no-tillers to plant in heavier residue than before, resulting in favorable stands.
Most no-till wheat specialists recommend that only full season varieties of wheat should be planted early, minimizing the risk to freeze damage. They also say varieties with good winter hardiness and good freeze tolerance should be selected.
If powdery mildew is a normal pest in your area and the varieties you use are not resistant, seed treatment may be beneficial.
For no-tillers planting on time or early, it usually pays to select at least three varieties with freeze tolerance.
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