Identifying Wheat Growth Stages using the Feekes Scale

Erick Larson, State Extension Specialist - Grain Crops
By Erick Larson, State Extension Specialist - Grain Crops February 12, 2015 14:44

Identifying Wheat Growth Stages using the Feekes Scale

The Feekes scale is likely the most commonly used system to describe wheat and other small grain’s growth and development stages.  Identification and understanding of plant development is important so that you may time management inputs to optimize crop response.  Wheat development can also vary considerably from year to year, so reliance on calendar date is not particularly reliable or optimal for management timing

Crop response to many management factors may vary considerably depending on timing relative to wheat growth stage. Those practices which may be influenced include nitrogen fertilizer, herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide application.  Wheat response to freezing temperatures and other environmental stresses can also vary tremendously depending upon growth stage. For instance, wheat flowering begins about 3-5 days after head emergence and can be identified by the emergence of anthers outside the glumes.  Fungicide applications should generally be completed by this stage (Feekes 10.5 or 10.51 intial flowering) – read and follow pesticide label for specific directions. Developing kernels are evident immediately thereafter. 

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Erick Larson, State Extension Specialist - Grain Crops
By Erick Larson, State Extension Specialist - Grain Crops February 12, 2015 14:44
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