As the busy season continues, farmers in Missouri are looking to get the winter wheat crop planted as harvest progress and weather conditions allow.
Mel Gerber, who farms in Morgan County, Missouri, says winter wheat is only about 10% planted in his area, although nice weather in mid-October was changing that.
“There’s a lot of beans still in the field,” Gerber says, speaking on Oct. 18. “We are planting (winter wheat) after corn this year. We’ve got our corn out. We are trying to start planting today.”
This is during Gerber’s ideal window for planting winter wheat.
“I try not to do it before the 10th (of October) if I can and not after the 15th of November if I can avoid it,” he says.
However, Gerber says some wheat in Central Missouri gets planted in late November or even December and still can do well, although it might require higher seeding rates.
“Wheat is very adaptable,” he says.
Gerber says wheat plants just need to establish two or three tillers before winter dormancy sets in. He adds that a little drier fall is helpful for getting the wheat up and growing.
The ideal is “not powder dry, but dry ground to help that plant take off,” Gerber says.
Conditions that are too wet increase the chances of fungal issues, he says.
“You want a little drier fall,” Gerber says.
Adam Jones, who farms in St. Charles and Lincoln counties in east central Missouri, says the weather in mid-October provided a great start for freshly planted wheat in his area.
“The wheat that did get planted looks awesome with the warmer weather and recent rains,” he says.
As weather allows, wheat planting has made quick progress. Derek Fuemmeler, who farms in north central Missouri in Randolph, Chariton and Howard counties, says he has noticed the progress in his area.
“We’re starting to see a lot of wheat and rye being seeded,” Fuemmeler says.
According to the USDA Missouri Crop Progress and Condition report released Oct. 18, the state’s winter wheat crop was 54% planted, slightly above the 50% planted at the same point last year and 45% for the five-year average. Missouri’s winter wheat was 30% emerged, similar to the 28% at the same point last year and 26% for the five-year average.
Over in Illinois, the state’s winter wheat crop was 67% planted, compared to 87% at the same point last year and 72% for the five-year average. Illinois’ winter wheat crop was 48% emerged, down from 52% at the same point last year but above the 43% for the five-year average.