The most important factors in producing a profitable spring wheat field are selecting the best cultivar, providing proper fertility, planting on time and having a good seedbed to plant into. When selecting a variety refer to the Variety Recommendations for 2013 contained in the 2012 Annual Spring Wheat Report. South Dakota has seven varieties which are recommended statewide and two which are recommended for only some of the crop adaptation regions. The 2012 annual report also provides variety traits. This information can be very helpful when picking one of the recommended varieties to best fit a given operation.
Spring wheat needs to be planted early in the spring. Normally it should be planted by the third week of April or within the first two weeks that planting is possible in the spring. Producers should check crop insurance planting dates for the location to be planted to ensure coverage.
Spring Wheat is normally planted one to two inches deep in the soil but will emerge from as deep as three inches. Planting into moisture will ensure an even stand at emergence. Uniform emergence will in turn; produce a crop that will mature evenly. This is desirable at harvest but also helps for timing pesticide applications throughout the growing season. Spring wheat should be planted at a minimum of 1.2 million pure live seeds per-acre or 28 seeds per square foot. This translates into about 1.5 bushels per-acre with average size spring wheat seed. Late planting or planting into poor seedbeds requires a higher seeding rate. Spring wheat requires a good fertilizer package to produce high yields. Fields should be soil tested to determine fertilizer needs. Caution should be taken if fertilizer is being placed with the seed. Too high a rate with the seed can hurt germination.
For more information, see Chapter 5: Spring Wheat Planting Guide of the book iGrow Wheat: Best Management Practices for Wheat Production, or visit the iGrow Wheat resource library.
For additional information on wheat production in South Dakota, check out the iGrow Wheat: Best Management Practices for Wheat Production book available for online purchase at the iGrow Store.