Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wheat Update - April 2015

Some of the better looking wheat - April 20
It's amazing what a little rain can do for a field of wheat.  About a week and a half ago it was pretty dry around here and the wheat was really starting to show it, turning blue from lack of water on top of the terraces, it had a little freeze damage in spots from the freeze we had back in early-April, and it was questionable if there was going to be much of a wheat harvest.  But over the last week we've gotten a little over two inches of rain at an almost perfect time to save the crop, the wheat has greened up nice, is about knee-high, and has started to head out.  Winter wheat is usually ready to harvest about 30-45 days after it heads out, so we might be harvesting wheat in late-May which would be earlier than normal.

Of course, the price for wheat also dropped to just under $5.00 because of the rain (at least that's the story about why it dropped in price) which is always a little irritating.

Weaning pen pasture cropped wheat
My pasture cropped wheat has had mixed results.  The wheat I planted in the weaning pen was top dressed with nitrogen in late-January and except for some weed problems (mainly cheat grass) looks almost as good as my other wheat.  If I can maneuver the combine through the gates, I'm planning on trying to harvest this 2-acre area to see how much grain I can get.

"Failed" field of pasture cropped wheat
The other area I tried pasture cropping didn't look like there was any chance of harvesting any grain at all, the clover was few and far between, so I decided to let the cows graze it for a few days.

I'm not exactly sure why the wheat didn't grow much in this area, but I'm betting that it's a fertility problem because it's been cut for hay too many times without fertilizing.  The next time I try pasture cropping wheat in this part of the pasture, I'll do some soil testing, then I'll break down and apply some fertilizer (about 30 lb. of N per acre would have made a huge difference). 

If we keep getting enough moisture, it doesn't get too hot too soon, and something catastrophic like a hail storm doesn't come through, we should have at least an average wheat harvest this summer. 


  1. Replies
    1. I'm surprised at how good the trees look in these photos compared to older photos, it makes me wish I'd started taking photos years ago so that I could have a better idea of how things have changed.

      In a few weeks, you'll be able to see the wind blowing through the wheat. It's hard to describe, but it looks almost like ocean waves (as in amber waves of grain, I suppose). If I had a way to capture it on video, it would be more impressive than a photo of a wheat field.

  2. Definitely green your way. We've had a week now of temperatures dipping down in the mid 30's and last night (supposed to be the low of the week) got down to 30. I'm guessing all the farmers that were planting two weeks ago are starting to ponder their actions.

    We aren't any too wet up here and I'm beginning to suspect it might be a dry spring.

    1. After looking at photos from last year and looking back through the disorganized memory banks in my head, it looks like everything this year is greening up much earlier than normal (at least 2-3 weeks early).

      From what I can remember, it was like this in 2011, then it got pretty hot, stopped raining, and we had a horrible drought for the next two years. It also seems like another year it was like this in the spring, and then it was wet all summer long and never really got too hot. I'm hoping it doesn't turn into another drought, but I'm always worried about droughts.

      I can't imagine it getting cold again this time of year, we're more likely to hit 100 than anywhere close to freezing.