Uneven stands of wheat may prompt producers to replant or spotseed into existing stands

Uneven stands of wheat may prompt producers to replant or spot-seed into existing stands.

How to take advantage of volunteer wheat

Delayed or prevented planting may encourage wheat farmers to consider using volunteer stands.

Never underestimate the value of a volunteer. The intention often may be better than the result, but dismissing a promising offer out of hand could be costly.

Consider, for instance, the volunteer wheat crop many Texas farmers are discovering as they try to figure out what to do in a year when fall rain delayed or prevented planting. Similar conditions last spring also prevented many from harvesting the 2015 crop so a lot of seed remained in the soil.

“Torrential spring rains destroyed or otherwise prevented wheat harvest in some areas last spring, primarily in the Blacklands region,” says Clark Neely, AgriLife Extension statewide small grains specialist in College Station. “This left a unique situation that is unfolding for many wheat producers across the state of Texas this fall.”

Fields were abandoned or insured out, and drought set in for much of the summer months, allowing seed to sit dormant in the soil. Another round of intense and widespread rain at the end of October set the stage for a timely and uniform stand of volunteer wheat.

“With wet conditions continuing through November, the excessive rain this fall has prevented a number of acres from being planted and leaving many producers wondering, ‘Will my volunteer wheat make a grain crop?’”

Neely said the short answer is “yes it can” under the right conditions. But if not, replanting or spot seeding might need to be considered.

Learn more about managing a volunteer wheat crop.

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