Seed size is going to be more important for wheat planting this fall than it has been in past years because variation in seed size from region to region in the state.
Jim Shroyer, extension agronomist at Kansas State University said that there is a wide range in seed size this year and producers will have to know the number of seeds per pound that they have when they are planting.
Shroyer encourages producers to pay attention to seed counts and adjust rates accordingly. He advises farmers to not adjust too heavily in either direction especially if the number of seeds per pound is close to the average when planting.
On average, the number of seeds per pound is about 15,000 seeds. If planting 60 pounds per acre, producers can often assume that they are planting around 900,000 seeds per acre. However, Shroyer cautions producers to not automatically adjust seed volume as the excess seeds may be necessary and helpful in producing a good stand.
"You have to know the seeds per pound of the variety that you are planting. This year we had a lot of wheat with many more seeds per pound," Shroyer said.
Seeding rates will also vary depending on the type of operation. For a no-till operation Shroyer recommends increasing the seeding rate to get better seed soil contact especially in the first few years of no-till. In a recent article about planting rates, Shroyer suggests that no-till producers should increase their seeding rate by about 15 pounds per acre.
If planting wheat in a rotation after corn or beans it is suggested to bump up the seeding rate as the crop may not have enough time to tiller. Producers can compensate for lower expected yields derived from late planting and less tillers by raising their seeding rate. K-State agronomy extension data recommends that seeding rates be increased by up to 50 percent if planting on or after November 1.