Rains for the past couple of dates have raised questions of whether it is still OK to plant winter wheat. The answer is this: Agronomically speaking, we are still OK, so it depends on the risk you are willing to absorb.  Optimal planting dates for winter wheat in South Dakota are generally considered to be September 15 to October 20, so the “optimal” window is rapidly closing.  From an agronomic point of view, however, wheat will germinate in very cool soils and winter wheat only requires a relatively brief period of exposure to cool temperatures to trigger its reproductive development (vernalization).  Vernalization can happen essentially as soon as germination begins, so there is still plenty of wheat growth opportunity this Fall.

Good stands of winter wheat are still very feasible.  If you are considering planting, look at increasing seeding rates, be sure to have a good seed treatment to protect the seedlings through slower than average emergence, and be sure to adequately fertilize the crop for rapid fall growth.  The major risk now is that signup for full coverage by crop insurance, including winterkill coverage, has passed as of October 15, so visit with your crop insurance agent.  If you are interested in still planting winter wheat, contact your local Wheat Growers agronomist.