Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Marko Manoukian
For PCN 

Cold seeding: cold, moist soil are better option


Soil temperatures for crop seeding are obviously cold. It takes a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit (F) to germinate spring wheat. Barley can germinate at 40 degrees and alfalfa at 37 degrees F. Seeds sitting in a cold moist soil are a better option than seeds sitting in a dry hot soil. Pathogen activity that can damage seeds prosper in warm environments. Test in Billings with dormant seeding have shown no germination issues.

As an example of temperatures, as of Monday at 8:45 am at the Southern Agricultural Research Center, Huntley the soil temperatures were as follows:

Soil temperature 2” 36.7 F

Soil Temperature 4” 39.4 F

Soil Temperature 8” 43.7 F

Sun exposure during the day can change the 2 inch temperature significantly but with our night time temperatures 10 to 20 degrees F, any heat gained is lost. As a rule of thumb, planting spring wheat after May 20th will decrease yield 1 bushel per day. This thumb rule is more pronounced with barley.


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