Some growers in southeastern Wyoming plant winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) 2 weeks earlier than the recommended planting date, a procedure that utilizes more moisture than necessary for stand establishment. This experiment was designed to determine the extent to which high rates and early planting of winter wheat depleted soil moisture.
‘Shoshoni’ winter wheat was planted at seeding rates of 17, 34, 50, and 67 kg/ha on four seeding dates, August 19, August 26, September 4, and September 11, 1965. In mid-August, November, April, and after harvest soil moisture was measured to a depth of 122 cm using the neutron probe. Moisture depletion during the fall, winter, and spring growing periods was calculated.
During stand establishment, the wheat planted August 19 depleted soil moisture significantly more than wheat planted September 4 and 11, and the wheat seeded at the rates of 34, 50, and 67 kg/ha depleted soil moisture significantly more than that at the 17 kg/ha rate.
Kernel protein content of wheat harvested from planting dates August 19, August 26, September 4, and September 11 was 12.2, 13.3, 13.2, and 14.2% respectively. There were no significant differences in grain yield attributed to planting dates or rates.
During the test period adequate spring moisture was received. During years of low spring precipitation, conservation of moisture by planting on the recommended date or later could be important.