|Winter Wheat, June 9, 2013|
Wheat developing nice size and shape heads and berries.
(Source: Photo by Jackie Nelson. Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved)
|Winter Wheat, Somers Township, Wisconsin, May 2013|
(Photo: Jackie Nelson)
Amber Waves of Grain
If you have ever taken a drive in the country in late fall or very early spring and gazed at a field that looks like a lawn, you are looking at winter wheat.
On our farm, winter wheat is grown as a cash crop, or a cereal crop. It is usually planted by Thanksgiving and by the time the snow flies in December, the wheat has grown to about 2 inches and the field is a pretty blanket of green. It remains this way throughout the winter.
Winter wheat is also a fabulous soil builder. As in the case on our farm, winter wheat has been planted behind a soy bean and corn crop that were not tilled. The winter wheat is the third crop in soil rotation management. Why? The straw, stems and root system that remain after harvest are an excellent source of organic matter and microorganisms. After harvest, the land will be tilled this fall to prepare the soil for the next series of crop rotation. In the spring, the soil will be enriched with organic nutrients. And, in case you didn't know, farmers today do not till after every crop like they did in the old days.
Winter wheat also has other uses. Because of its excellent root system, it is commonly mixed with grass seed to plant in landscape hilly areas to prevent erosion.
Well...........that ends our farm report and agriculture lesson for today.
Until next time, enjoy the outdoors.