Shawn Conley, Soybean and Wheat Extension Specialist
The race to turn the 2014 wheat crop into 2014/15 seed is on and early lab samples confirm that the percent germination from on farm sampled wheat is low. The Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association has received over 100 samples to date and over 30% have exhibited visual signs of Fusarium Head Scab (FHB) or scab. The % germ from the infected samples range from 53 to 98% (variety dependent) with an average % germ of 79%. First class certified wheat requires a minimum % germ of 85%. Furthermore invest in a wheat fungicide seed treatment this fall. Seed applied fungicides can increase % germination. On a small sample size (N = 4) the average percent germination from the addition of a seed applied fungicide increased average germination from 76 to 93%. Lastly all signs point to a late wheat establishment season. With that in mind remember to plant certified or private new seed, use a fungicide seed treatment and starting increasing your seeding rate after October 1. For more information on wheat establishment please see: Top 7 Recommendations for Winter Wheat Establishment in 2014.