For the germination process to begin, wheat seeds need to imbibe (take in) water. With dry soil in some areas of the state, there may be concerns about delayed germination and emergence after planting. In previous years, when wheat was planted into dry soil, emergence occurred approximately 4 weeks after planting when soil moisture was restored with rainfall. Some key points to keep in mind:
- If soil is dry, conserve soil moisture by planting wheat without the use of tillage if possible. In addition to soil moisture conservation, excessive tillage may also result in soil crusting and emergence problems following a rainfall event.
- Wheat seed should be planted into soil moisture, but no deeper than a 1.5-inch depth.
- If you anticipate wheat seed germination and emergence will be delayed (>2 weeks after your county’s Hessian fly-safe date), you may want to consider increasing your seeding rate to 1.6 to 2.0 million seeds/acre.
- Even with delayed planting (or delayed emergence), wheat can yield near normal up to three weeks after the Hessian fly-safe date. In some years, wheat planted late October or early November may only have a slight impact on grain yield if freezing weather is delayed until late November or early December.