Too early to be thinking Winter Kill in Wheat?? (Part 2)

  • Apr 11
    Chuck Belanger
    Too early to be thinking Winter Kill in Wheat?? (Part 2) By Chuck Belanger on April 11, 2014
    Categories: Tips

    Last month I wrote a post about winter kill in wheat and told you then that I would explain how to determine your stand once the crop had time to green up. Wheat stands are visually improving dramatically.  As temperatures continue to warm and water drains, lower areas in the field are getting better.

    Below are a couple methods to determine wheat stand counts.  One is by counting seeds in one foot of row, and the other is by the Hula Hoop method. Either way is easy but must be done in many areas of the field to accurately estimate the population. 

    Hula Hoop Method

    Toss the Hula Hoop and count the number of plants in the hoop. Write this number down. Repeat this process in a few more locations.  Add the results together and divide by the number of attempts. This will give you your average. Multiply the average by the factor from the chart below, and that will give your population.

    Hoop Diameter  Factor
    30”     8,900
    32” 7,800
    34”    6,900
    36”  6,200
    38”    5,500

    Foot of Row Method

    Walk throughout the field and drop a 12” ruler beside a row. Count the plants within the ruler. Document this number. Repeat this process in many areas of the field. Add the results together and divide it by the number of measurements taken; look up the closest number in the chart below:

    Row Width 800,000    900,000   1 million 1.1 million 1.2 million 1.3 million 1.4 million 
    7”  10.7


    13.4   14.7   16.1  17.4 18.7
    10” 15.3  17.2 19.1 21.0 23.0 24.9 26.8

    A full stand is considered to be 1.4 to 1.5 million plants per acre. A healthy, evenly distributed stand of 7 plants per foot of row or 600,000 plants per acre can achieve 90% of yield potential. Unfortunately, winter kill is often patchy across the field and stand assessment becomes more difficult. Most of the fields I have walked will be alright.  Take the time to visit your fields and have a good look and heck, while you’re out there, take note of any Fleabane!!! That will be the topic of my next blog!

    Chuck Belanger, Maizex Seeds Yield Specialist, North Essex and South Chatham-Kent Counties
    Twitter: @sprayman63