Maturity matters

The ideal double crop soybean program starts with a high yielding, early maturing wheat variety. This allows double crop soybeans to hit the sweet spot planting period for increased soybean yield potential. The Limagrain Cereal Seeds (LCS) Ultra Early breeding program has varieties that fit the bill, delivering high yields and harvests 5 to 7 days earlier.

Plant early

Another suggestion is to plant wheat 1 to 2 weeks earlier in the fall. This is more important as farmers expand double crop opportunities further north. Insecticide and fungicide seed treatments give protection against insect damage, which allows earlier planting dates than traditionally recommended. This will give several days’ earlier harvest next year.

Beware the freeze

LCS research has shown some wheat varieties will remain dormant late into the spring, waiting for the correct day length of sunlight before starting to break dormancy and start growing. This characteristic is most important to give protection from early spring freeze damage. A variety that is stimulated to start growing by heat units can start growing too soon in the northern wheat double crop zone, exposing the plants to freeze damage. Freeze damage can result in the death of the center growing point of the plant, causing it to rely on tillers growing out later to compensate, and can result in a field of mixed maturities. Freeze damage isn’t always immediately apparent; it may present later in the growing season by elbow stems lodging — the stem cell walls were frozen enough to decrease their strength to support the weight of the grain head.

Choosing high yielding varieties that are day length sensitive so your early growth will be timed to the natural length of the day and not to high temperatures is very important.

-Ken McClintock