We put together a list of our tips and techniques for planting a successful, high-yield wheat crop with your drill, no matter what no till conditions you are facing in your field.
Make Sure Wheat Is Planted At The Proper Depth
A successful wheat crop begins with seeding. Nodal (crown) root development is critical, especially in winter wheat. If the plants set their growing point too shallow, winter wheat can be killed by temperature fluctuations. If a wheat seed is not placed deep enough, it will not survive the tough winter conditions and you’ll end up with winter-kill and winter injury (weak plants). One tip is that wheat seeds should be planted at a depth of at least one inch in no till conditions.
Exapta’s UniForce hydraulic down-pressure system for John Deere drills allows for uniform pressure on every single opener during its full stroke, giving you much better depth control. The UniForce lessens sidewall compaction and hairpinning, creating the best environment for no till seedling growth and allowing for the maximum root growth.
“Last fall was extremely hard and dry for wheat sowing. I was able to hold the depth much better with the [UniForce] hydraulic system than I would have with the John Deere springs.”
— Alan Aufdemberge, Lincoln, KS (UniForce on 40-ft John Deere 1890)
Firm Wheat Seeds Into The Bottom Of The Furrow
Failing to press the wheat seed fully into the bottom of the furrow may lead to total stand failure. At the least, it will slow early growth of the wheat seed, or may not germinate until a rain or snow event occurs. A good technique is to use a seed lock wheel, such as Exapta’s DuraLok flexible wheel to engage all of the seeds, pushing them into the bottom of the furrow securely (embedding them in the furrow bottom). The DuraLok is narrower to fit the furrow better and to shed mud and stalks more easily.
Crumble The Sidewall
In grass crops such as wheat, crown (nodal) roots develop above the seed and must make their way through the sidewall in order to grow and establish themselves. Just by prying open the furrow, the opener blades have compacted the soil and smeared the sidewall. If the soil is allowed to remain compacted in this way, it will limit healthy root development for the no till wheat crop. For this reason, a very important tip is to shatter the sidewall with a spoked closing wheel such as the Thompson wheel. Closing the furrow adequately with loose material over the wheat seed keeps the seed zone from drying out and allows oxygen into the soil for faster germination and improved emergence.