Growing Quality Grains

Did you know that world trade in wheat is greater than that of all other grains combined? The question that keeps us up at night is " Why are average worldwide yields only 44 bushels to the acre when we know that yields of 234 bushels to the acre are achievable?". If you don't believe us, just ask Michael Solari, a New Zealand farmer. He holds the world record for wheat yield. While this is an exceptionally high yield, the farmers in Holland consistently achieve an average of nearly three times that of the worldwide average, annually. So, what is their secret?

 

Optimal Nutrition and Soil Structure

Certainly environmental factors such as rainfall, days of sunlight and temperature are all critical to achieving high yields. But what about factors such as optimal nutritional fertilizer and soil structure? Are you doing all you can to present the best possible environment for growing your wheat and other small grain crops?

 

Even stand and consistent ripening of wheat cropSix Functional Growth Stages

Success in growing wheat means understanding the stages of growth and knowing how to utilize nutrition in concert with mother nature to get the most out of your resources and environmental factors. Wheat goes through 13 distinct growth stages that comprise six major functional phases. The most important phase for affecting yield is the tillering phase. The number of tillers produced affects the potential for number of ears the plant will create and also how many grains per ear will develop. This is where we, as farmers, can have the greatest influence over crop yield potential. The number of tillers produced depends highly on nutrient availability. Providing the right fertilizer at the right times makes all the difference.

 

The Right Fertilizer

This is where we come in. Agriculture Solutions offers conventional and organic fertilizer blends and full-season programs that meet the nutritional requirements of your small grains to make them the best they can be.  Contact us for more information on creating a customized program for your wheat and other small grains.

 

Sample Small Grains Program

  • Before planting, spray TrueBlend™ soil rejuvenator on the soil at a rate of 8 litres per acre. TrueBlend™ soil rejuvenator may be mixed with water or mixed in with liquid nitrogen. 

    Note: If you are planning to spray glyphosate, also plan on adding Agri-Gro® IgniteS2 to the tank at a rate of ½ litre per acre to lessen "yield drag" and buffer the harmful effects this material can have on your soil's microbial life.

     

  • Treat your seed with a biological seed treatment that contains nutrients, a microbial inoculum, and biological stimulants just before planting.

    A seed treatment such as Seed-Start™ will speed germination and fill the soil around your seeds with soluble, plant-available nutrients that will feed your tender, new seedlings. Adding beneficial microbes using an inoculant like Nutri-Life Platform™ or Nutri-Life 4/20™ will heighten microbial activity around the roots of your plants. Microbes will begin digesting soil minerals, releasing them as food to your plants. Over the weeks that follow, nutrient release levels will increase exponentially as microbial populations increase until they reach levels that can build plant health and sustain your small grains through even their most demanding stages of vegetative and reproductive growth.

  • Plant with TrueBlend™ starter at a rate of 8 - 12 litres per acre, mixed with enough water to make a planting rate of 20 litres per acre of total solution. Please note that your application rate will vary depending on results of a soil analysis.


    Wheat and many other cereal grains are monocotyledons, meaning that the seed sends out the shoot and root from opposite ends of the seed, the seed remains basically intact, and the seed coat remains to protect the plant as it emerges. Once adequate moisture reaches the seed to moisten the seed coat, the seed can germinate. Once germinated, the seed needs access to nutrition to build energy to send the shoot out of the ground before running out of its initial energy that was contained within the seed.

 

  • Apply TrueBlend™ foliar solution at a rate of 6 - 8 litres per acre, mixed with enough water to spray 80 - 100 litres of solution per acre.


    Stem elongation coincides with the period of rapid head growth in which the individual florets become prepared to pollinate and be fertilized. Throughout the pre-heading period, differences in the duration of the various developmental phases among shoots on the same plant help synchronize development.

    This means the difference of several weeks between emergence of the main shoot and a tiller is reduced to a difference of only a few days by the time the heads emerge from the flag leaf sheaths. The "boot" stage is just prior to head emergence, when the flag leaf sheath encloses the growing head.

    If you follow our program, we expect that your crop will be more resistant to soil and airborne diseases. However, if you feel you must spray a fungicide, consider the advantages of tank-mixing a shot of Agri-Gro® FoliarBlend to your fungicide at a rate of 1 litre per acre. We think it will give you better results.

  • Apply TrueBlend foliar solution at a rate of 6 - 8 litres per acre, mixed with enough water to spray 80 - 100 litres of solution per acre.


    Growth progress is in three distinct phases spanning about four weeks under usual conditions. In the first phase, the "watery ripe" and "milk" stages, the number of cells in the endosperm (the major starch and protein storage portion of the kernel) is established. Not much weight is accumulated during this phase. Then, one to two weeks after pollination, the kernel begins accumulating starch and protein rapidly, and its dry weight increases linearly. This is when most of the final weight of the kernel is accumulated. About three weeks into grain filling kernel declines and its weight approaches a maximum attained at physiological maturity.

    Adverse environmental conditions during any of the growth periods of a kernel can reduce the rate of dry matter accumulation and decrease yield. As a rule, the longer the adverse condition lasts, and the earlier it occurs during grain filling, the greater its negative effect on yield.

  • Crops grown on our program typically have higher test weight, better nutrient content, higher sugar levels and better flavour. In addition, you'll experience true dry down, not "die down".


    Approximately 70 to 90 percent of final grain yield is derived from photosynthates produced through photosynthesis during grain filling. Photosynthates produced by the flag leaf may contribute up to 50 percent of the grain yield, depending on seasonal conditions. The head, penultimate leaf, and other leaves also contribute significant quantities. Maintaining green and functional upper leaf blades, sheaths, and heads during grain filling is necessary to drive high yields. The supply of adequate nutrients all the way through to harvest will ensure the highest yield.