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Focus On The Details With High-Yielding No-Till Wheat

Improving stand uniformity, fertility levels and seed placement often require little expense but can bring increased no-till profits.

While corn and soybeans received the lion’s share of the press this year as prices moved sharply higher, wheat producers have also been enjoying healthy prices. It’s also spurring more interest in no-till winter wheat, which many soil experts say makes the ideal rotational crop with corn and soybeans.

At the 2008 National No-Tillage Conference, consultant Phil Needham of Needham Ag Technologies shared his ideas with nearly 800 attendees on how to push up no-till wheat yields, but also told them they need to focus their efforts on profitability.

“While producers can do a better job of improving wheat yields, there is not one silver bullet,” Needham says. “However, there are a lot of little things that add up to make a big difference with wheat yields. And some of those things don’t add to costs.”

“The bottom line, however, is that it doesn’t matter what the yields are; what we’ve got to focus on is the profitability.”

Stand Uniformity

Needham says the thing that probably leads to more profit than anything else in no-till wheat is stand uniformity.

“When I go out into a field, I want to see approximately the same number of heads per square yard in each region of that field at harvest. This should ideally be within the 550-to-600 range for winter wheat,” he says.

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Needham suggests concentrating more on the details and doing a better job managing the acres you currently no-till rather than looking for more acres to farm.

“I think there’s a…

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