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Extension wheat study seeks optimal seeding rate and planting date in NW Wyo

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Powell – With producers searching for the answers to questions about the proper timing and rate of seeding for hard red winter wheat in northwest Wyoming, Powell Research and Extension Center Farm Manager Mike Killen began a study on just those subjects.
    At the same time, the Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission and Crop Research Foundation of Wyoming were looking to increase the breeder seed for a variety of wheat particularly well adapted to Wyoming’s climate.
    “These groups approached us to look at the feasibility of growing breeder seed here in Powell,” commented Killen at the center’s field day on July 17. “Because the elite line of wheat has limited seed available for increase, we also wanted to look at low planting rates.”
Beginning phases
    The study began last fall, with the first planting on Sept. 15.
    “We started Sept. 15 and planted every 15 days after that through Nov. 15,” explained Killen. “We also stuck in two spring planting dates to see what would happen.”
    Killen noted that the spring planting was delayed slightly, resulting in a March 23 and April 11 planting date.
    “The variety we tested was Settle CL,” Killen added. “It is a winter wheat with a midrange winter hardiness score.”
    “Within each strip, there are replicated plots of the low seeding rate, which is 20 pounds,” he said. “We wanted to see if that was enough to get adequate yield for seed increase. We also went with a 90 pound seeding rate as our standard.”
    For each of the seven planting dates, the 90 pound seeding rate was increased by 15 pounds. As a result, on April 11, 180 pounds of seed was planted.
    Killen also noted that the entire plot was irrigated at the beginning of the study only once after the Sept. 15 planting date.
    “We received several rains at the end of September and the beginning of October, so we never irrigated again,” commented Killen.
Preliminary results
    “We haven’t harvested yet,” Killen mentioned, “but a couple of things stand out to me. First, it over-wintered well.”
    With lack of snow during the winter, Killen was unsure of whether the crop would survive. He also mentioned that the spring seeding dates did yield some product.
    “The March 23 planting date has a little vernalization and enabled the plant to form a seed head,” he said.
    “The other thing that surprised me was that the low seeding rates look almost as good as the high seeding rates,” Killen mentioned. “It really filled in nicely. Hopefully in a week or two, we will get this harvested and have some good, hard data.”
    Data from the study will hopefully shed some light on recommended planting dates and the necessary rate of seeding to achieve seed increase.
    For more information on this study or other research at the Powell Research and Extension Center, call 307-754-2223. Saige Albert is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at

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