Why Grow Winter Wheat in Eastern Nebraska?

Why Grow Winter Wheat in Eastern Nebraska? August 31, 2017

The winter wheat varieties planted in eastern Nebraska today can yield upward of 140 bu/ac under good management and weather. If you haven't planted wheat in several years, consider today's advanced genetics, many of which were developed through research at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While the potential for top yields is important, it's not yield alone that makes winter wheat profitable. Growers can add value through increased revenue, reduced costs, improved pest management, and spreading their workload.

Adding wheat to your eastern Nebraska cropping system can offer many other benefits:

  • Additional revenue from utilizing or selling the straw
  • Added profit from growing more late summer and early fall forage crops
  • Ability to more effectively incorporate cover crops
  • Potential to sell grain at elevators with good basis, for example wheat often is 10 cents above futures in Fremont
  • Reduced herbicide cost for troublesome weeds like marestail, waterhemp, and Palmer amaranth due to disrupting weed cycles
  • Higher soybean yields in three-year rotation due to reduced pest pressure
  • Potential reduction in yield loss from compaction by not driving on wetter soils during manure application in the fall and spring
  • Opportunity to contract with feedlots for manure application in summer
  • Reduced soil erosion and nutrient loss during high risk months of April, May and June.
  • Improved soil health, soil structure, and infiltration may provide long-term profitability
  • Reduced labor cost through better distribution of workload on the farm.
  • Possible higher cost-share for conservation work in July, August, and September
  • Possible higher USDA CSP ranking score for planting winter, wheat resulting in additional revenue
  • Potential boost in dryland corn yield when wheat was planted during dry conditions the previous year

Nebraska Extension Educator Nathan Mueller talks with Farm Progress Daily about how to integrate wheat into eastern Nebraska crop rotations, including opportunities for applying manure during drier summer months, adding flexibility to manure management plans.

Related Resources

Ready to plant wheat now? For more information see Wheat Planting Practices for Eastern Nebraska.

Also see the Focus on Wheat special edition of CropWatch.