Wheat Lachlan

Wheat Growing Stages

Identification of plants growth stages is important to enable timely crop management decisions that maximize yields and profitability. It also enables timely pests and nutrition management.


Adequate temperature and moisture are needed and very important during germination stage. Under favorable conditions, seedling emergence usually occurs within seven days and the seedling will feed from the seed till the first leaf becomes functional. Growers should consider high quality seed from trusted sources.


Tillering usually starts when plant has 3-4 leaves. A tiller is a shoot which originates in the axil of a leaf. Tillers share the same root mass with the original shoot or main stem. Once established, secondary tillers may arise from the axils of the primary tillers, tertiary tillers may develop from the axils of secondary tillers. During tillering, the major management consideration is whether stands are adequate to achieve yield goals. Major yield potential loss can occur from weed infestation during tiller formation, as weeds compete for light, water and nutrients.


After tillering, it begins elongation of its internodes. Most short season wheat will typically produce 7-8 leaves on the main stem before stem elongation occurs. Most tillers have been formed by this stage, and the secondary root system is developing. The boot stage begins when the head begins to form inside the flag leaf, an early nitrogen application may enhance the rate of tillering, potentially increasing the number of heads.


This is when the head will fully emerge from the stem. After this take places, the plant starts reproductive growth or flowering. Pollination will take place between 3-5 days. Wheat is self-pollinated and it’s important to note that high temperatures and drought stress during heading and flowering can reduce yields.


After pollination, the ripening stage begins. Ripening is divided into four levels of maturity: milk, soft dough, hard dough, and finally mature. During this time the kernel becomes very hard. Growers can harvest if the grain has reached a suitable moisture level. Many farmers can tell maturity by chewing on a kernel to determine hardness and approximate moisture level.


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