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Winter Wheat Planting a Challenge

Carolina producers hoping to cash in on high winter wheat prices have had a time of getting seed in the ground this fall, according to NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist Dr. Randy Weisz:

“Speaking for myself, I normally would have been done all my research planting by the first week in November, and I wasn’t done until last week. I’m getting calls from growers asking if they should replant where its been dry or the seed got wet then dried and died. I know that there are folks who got planted early when we had plenty of moisture and the same time we had window of opportunity, then it just got wet and it kept raining and we had several weeks where it was raining every day or two and they had to push it off.”

The last two near-perfect growing seasons for winter wheat are a distant memory, and now, it looks like some of the crop will be going in late according to Weisz:

“It’s been very different from the previous two planting seasons, it is colder than we’ve had in the previous two seasons, so it will be an interesting year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see wheat continuing to be put in the ground up through Christmas. It’s been a tough year to get planted and with the price what is it, I expect people are going to do the best they can to get in as much as they can.”

At one point earlier this year it was estimated that as many as 800,000 acres of winter wheat would be planted in North Carolina. Now, with the current challenges, replanting, and little extra seed available, Weisz says he can’t estimate an acreage:

“I think I will know more in the next 10 days. There is a small grain growers board meeting next week and that is often when we have an opportunity to visit with folks and get reports.”

Dr. Randy Weisz, NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.