Lower Seeding Rates Work15 August 2022

Lower seeding rates, with Pannar's spring type wheat cultivars under irrigation, works! Riaan Janse van Vuuren, Pannar's representative in Douglas, is impressed with this beautiful planting of PAN 3497. This wheat crop of PAN 3497 was planted at Swarthaak Boerdery, in the vicinity of Douglas, on 21 July at 50kg of seed per hectare.

Through a reduced planting density and good management, the stooling potential of each cultivar can be used to achieve excellent yields and save costs. At early planting dates under irrigation, Pannar's spring type wheat cultivars are recommended at 60kg per hectare to utilise the maximum potential of the cultivars. With a good seedbed, 120 to 170 plants per square meter should develop at a germination percentage of 90%. The reduced plant population favours a cultivar's ability to form tillers and offers several benefits to the grower. However, the seeding rate must be increased when planting later in the recommended planting window to 90kg of seed per hectare (210 plants per square meter) to compensate for the loss of tillers due to the shorter available growing season.

There is less competition in the row between plants at a lower plant density. Each plant can reach its full stooling capacity to form many tillers. As a result, the stronger plants can form better and deeper roots, and each 'plant factory' develops a greater storage capacity that can be utilised later in the season for grain filling.

Strong plants with well-developed root systems can use stored moisture more efficiently later in the season when it's warmer, and irrigation scheduling can't keep up. During the tillering phase of each plant, primary, secondary and tertiary tillers are formed. If the different tillers develop at different times and do not flower simultaneously, the plant has a built-in buffer against once-off cold damage, thus protecting the yield potential. Wheat plantings at a lower seeding rate can evade cold to a great extent. If a short cold period occurs late in the season, only some of the tillers may be damaged, and the tillers that evade the cold will develop normally and compensate for the loss of yield. This is in contrast to plants planted at a high seeding rate, which only produce three to four tillers that flower at the same time, and if a cold period is experienced at a late stage, it can cause up to 80% cold damage. The results of trials done at producers demonstrate that high yields are consistently achievable by planting some of Pannar's wheat germplasm at a lower seeding rate.

Learn more about Pannar's wheat cultivars or speak with a Pannar sales representative by visiting

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