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Growing 150 Bushel Wheat

How to Increase Wheat Yields

Growing 150-bushel wheat may seem like an unattainable goal to most small-grain growers. But with advances in technology and research, experts believe that our future holds higher wheat yield results, even up to 150 bushels.

So far, there have been no officially documented cases of 150-yield wheat. Growers continue to get closer, however, with many farmers these days seeing results of 130 and even 140 bushels in the fields. A number of factors come into play that can limit wheat yield, but growers can maximize their crops by adhering to some simple guidelines.

Challenges and Limitations

Wade Thomason, Extension Grain Crops Specialist at Virginia Tech, says that the number one problem affecting wheat yield is plant disease. "These are not catastrophic diseases that attack the plants, but diseases we call 'nibblers.' They don't destroy the entire crop but end up costing valuable bushels."

The genetic variety of the seed also greatly affects the end yield. Companies offer an abundance of varieties of wheat that have different characteristics. Simply choosing the variety that best meets your individual circumstances can have a tremendous impact on your wheat yield. "I estimate that 60 percent of the yield is a direct result of the variety chosen," says Thomason.

But choosing the best variety can be tricky. Be sure to choose a seed that not only grows a higher yield but also contains disease resistance for whatever diseases that crops in your area have battled in the past.

Environmental circumstances also affect wheat yield. Of course, farmers can’t control the weather, but in ideal conditions, wheat naturally obtains a higher yield.

How to grow 150-bushel wheat

Trying to break a yield record? Growers must take certain steps when trying to achieve 150-bushel wheat. Southern States has nine top tips for growers looking maximize yield:

  1. Conduct site-specific soil tests and apply nutrients accordingly. You want the same high level of nutrients across the board.
  2. Make sure to rotate soybeans before wheat instead of corn. The disease resistance works better in this rotation.
  3. Apply biological additives to soil to make sure the fungi and bacteria in the soil are active.
  4. Use the correct variety of treated seed.
  5. Plant and fertilize on time.
  6. Be aware of all the nutrients needed for soil health. Micronutrients are quite important to the quality of the soil, but many growers only focus on nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
  7. Administer two applications of fungicide for disease control.
  8. Apply nitrogen on time, and make sure to use the correct amount to have positive effects.
  9. If necessary, apply a growth regulator. This will cause the wheat to grow shorter with thicker stems so that they are less likely to fall down.

To achieve 150-bushel wheat, practically everything needs to go smoothly. But with careful attention and determination, the goal of 150 bushels is not unrealistic in the near future. "I can see farmers getting these high results in the next few years," says Thomason. For more information on maximizing wheat yields, please consult your local Southern States Agronomy Professional or Extension office.

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