Rainfall Not Only Factor That Determines Wheat Yields

Many wheat growers will say it’s rainfall that determines a good crop with high yields from not so strong years. But is that true?

Cat Salois, director of Research and Technology with The McGregor Company, says recent work conducted in the international Maximum Wheat Yield Project looked at the yield gaps and if the wheat industry is capitalizing on the available resources.

“And I think we tend to blame water as our limiting factor, is kind of our standard go to answer regardless if we know that it is our limiting factor.  I feel we are kind of held back on a preconceived notion that in some years is true, and in many years isn’t.”

Salois says growers put a lot of effort in getting the first half of the crop correct, whether that’s selecting the right seed, seed bed preparation, and getting drills set correctly.

But, that should not be the only area of focus for growers.

“Think about how much effort you put into the reproductive phase of that wheat crop, that’s from head emergence on. And usually, that’s where the room just goes silent.  There isn’t a lot of intention into that second half, the reproductive management of wheat.”

She says research from the international Maximum Wheat Yield Project indicates the main driver is actually solar radiation, better known as sunlight.

And to capitalize on that potential, Salois says it will require a fundamental shift in the thought process for why growers need to address flag leaf timing in the wheat crop.