Planting Dates for Small Grains

Wheat planting date study at Maricopa

Planting at the optimum time is probably the most important cultural practice in producing high small grain yields. Wheat and barley crops that are planted too early or too late have lower yield potential no matter how they are grown after planting. However, small grains are sometimes planted later than optimum when grown in rotation with cotton or vegetables due to harvest timing in these crops. Small grain crops that are planted too early have increased risk of frost damage or experience cooler than optimum temperatures at critical growth stages. Small grains planted too late develop very quickly and experience warmer than optimum temperatures later in the season that can shorten the crop life cycle. Therefore, the general concept in selecting a planting date for small grains is to plant early enough to avoid warm weather near the end of the season and late enough to avoid damaging cold earlier in the season.
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