The recent hot and dry weather is really drying the wheat down quickly. We harvested our first wheat today (the moisture was ranging from 16 to 20%) and planted soybean immediately afterwards. Just 2 days ago, the wheat grain moisture was in the mid-20’s!
That experiment is part of our ongoing efforts to harvest higher quality wheat and increase our double-crop soybean yields. Now, I’m not advising you to harvest your wheat at 20% unless you have a buyer that will take it, preferably without a discount, or you have a way to dry down quickly. High moisture wheat will heat up quickly and you will need to do something with it right away.
With that said, we have seen great benefits from harvesting higher moisture wheat and getting the soybean planted immediately. Our Mid-Atlantic regional project conducted from 2015 thru 2017 found greater wheat yields and test weight, and greater soybean yields. Our data is shown below. Note that I’m only showing Virginia wheat data as the date where yield began declining differed among the states (this data was earlier as we moved south), but the general shape of the graph was similar. Different colored symbols represent different years.
In summary, there is benefit from harvesting wheat and planting soybean as soon as possible. However, read the previous blog, To Plant or Not to Plant into Dry Soil, before making too many decisions. Not only is our topsoil dry, but the wheat may have removed moisture much deeper – giving us little total soil moisture.