Op­ti­mum seed­ing rates for Spring Wheat


Rec­om­mended plant pop­u­la­tions for spring wheat are 250 plants per square me­tre. There has been a thought that pro­duc­ers may see a ben­e­fit to in­creas­ing plant pop­u­la­tions with newer va­ri­eties.

A num­ber of the AgriARM groups in the prov­ince un­der­took a two year study to look at what were op­ti­mum seed­ing rates and plant pop­u­la­tions to ar­rive at the high­est yields and eco­nomic re­turns. They used seed­ing rates in in­cre­ments of 60 seeds per square me­tre from 60 to 480 seeds per square me­tre. Data col­lected in­cluded plant pop­u­la­tions, grain yields and thou­sand ker­nel weights. In ad­di­tion they cal­cu­lated eco­nomic re­turns at seed costs of $9, $11 and $13 per bushel and grain prices of $100, $200 and $300 per tonne.

There were some re­sults of note that only oc­curred in spe­cific sites and years. At In­dian Head with bet­ter grow­ing con­di­tions they found that lodg­ing be­came a prob­lem at higher seed­ing rates. Drier sites did not al­ways have a yield in­crease with in­creases in plant den­sity. Ac­tual plant pop­u­la­tions at the sites were more vari­able than ex­pected. They were ex­pected to be 80 to 90 per cent of the seed­ing rate. The range across the sites was 33 to 107 per cent of the seed­ing rate when 300 seeds per square me­tre were used as the seed­ing rate.

Op­ti­mum seed­ing rates for the max­i­mum yield across these sites and years was 306 seeds per square me­tre. The op­ti­mum plant den­sity to ar­rive at max­i­mum yield was 191 plants per square me­tre. Max­i­mum eco­nomic re­turns were achieved with seed­ing rates of 238 to 292 seeds per square me­tre. This was based on all the com­bi­na­tions of grain and seed prices. This would equate to a seed­ing rate of 90 pounds per acre with aver­age seed size.

The full re­port of this trial can be found on the Western Ap­plied Re­search Cor­po­ra­tion web­site at www.west­er­nap­pliedresea­rch.com.

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