Beck's Blog

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Agronomy Update

Wheat Harvest Reminders

Published on Thursday, June 23, 2016

As wheat harvest approaches, there are a few important things to keep in mind. 

First, we want to harvest wheat after the dough stage has passed. You can determine if your wheat is past this stage by threshing a wheat head in your hand and placing the seed either in your mouth or between your fingernail and forefinger. If the wheat is past the dough stage, it will be firm and not easily torn in two.   

Today I am seeing firmness in our BECK 88 wheat plots. The fields planted with BECK 129, our late maturing variety, are still at the doughy stage with a moisture of 22 percent. We observed our BECK 88 fields at this same stage only four days ago. I anticipate that both early and late maturing varieties will be firm by the end of this week.

Moisture percentage is one thing we discuss each year when we reach wheat harvest. The range of moisture for harvestable wheat is between 14 and 20 percent, but harvesting around 15 to 16 percent is ideal. We want to avoid harvesting wheat that is too wet to avoid kernel damage and issues with storage. However, waiting until the wheat is too dry can result in cutter bar losses, an increase in lodging, and greater interference with weed pressure.  

Additionally, test weight will decrease the more the wheat goes through intermittent wet periods. Later harvest dates have not shown an impact on grain protein content but they can result in a reduction in clear flour as well as in an increase in toxins present in the wheat. These factors all point to a timely harvest being crucial.  

For those farmers who are double cropping, a good option is to harvest between 18 and 20 percent and artificially drying your wheat. This allows you to maximize both your wheat and soybean yields by getting the wheat off in a timely fashion and planting your soybeans a few days earlier. Harvesting at this moisture will not result in a decrease in grain quality.

If you have any questions about wheat harvest or double crop soybeans, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or your area dealer or seed advisor. 

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Alex Knight
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Alex Knight

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