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? spring wheat in iowa?

In the past I have put oats in with the goal of tiling after harvest in the summer time. It worked ok for several reasons and tiling when you're not freezing your butt off was nice. I could grow good oats for iowa. 110-120bpa of decent test weight and back then needed the straw for hogs and a place to haul manure. Bad news was oats is a sure money loser here. My question is , what can well managed spring wheat yield here and can I grow quality that will bring decent money? As the oats, i would like to tile after they are harvested. also , like oats we need good spring weather to get them in early or forget it. can it be done? $9 or more wheat is getting my attention.

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3 Replies

Re: ? spring wheat in iowa?

Which part of IA? The small grains in Iowa has really declined since there are fewer needs for the straw/grain for horses, hogs, etc. My grandpa was used to growing oats in Iowa but never had much luck with wheat. He always used to say "we have too rich of soils to grow wheat in Iowa."


With that being said, it can be a challenge if you aren't accustumed to growing wheat. I would expect in Iowa you could average wheat yeilds somewhere around 75-100 bpa for winter wheat. I don't know about spring wheat though. Maybe similar yields in good years for spring?!?!?  Here are a few pointers that I have learned over the years.  1. Fertilize the wheat like you would for corn. Corn/Wheat do remove similar amounts of nutrients. 2. You HAVE to spray a fungicide at flag leaf. Ignoring this step could cut yields in some cases by 20-30 bpa. Flag leaf is the most important leaf on the wheat plant, do everything you can to protect it. This may/will require a trip across the field but it will be worth it. 3. Don't ignore weed control. I still have a neighbor who puts out some wheat and every year does a poor job managing giant ragweed and never has much of a crop.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: ? spring wheat in iowa?

I grew some last year. I like wheat straw better than oat straw( not as itchy). Biggest thing is get them in early.  Also combiming wheat isn't like combining oats.  For sure budget in a fungicide application. Plant heavy also good weed control in Iowa requires a thick stand.   80 bu. wheat is real good wheat maybe shoot for 65. Also make sure you plant it after beans to many diseases in common with corn that will effect yield. 

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Mike M2692830
Frequent Contributor

Re: ? spring wheat in iowa?

John, call the guy from my old home town. He used to grow a field of wheat every year in the 80's. Didn't you windrow some next to my dads that one year. I am sure you haven't forgot those good ole days....MikeM

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