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Winter wheat sprouting in an open field.
Oklahoma State University is continuing research on seeding rates and planting dates for short-season winter wheat. A previous study showed Butler’s Gold fares better when planted in December. (Photo by Mitchell Alcala, OSU Agriculture)

Winter wheat research educates producers on short-season crop

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Media Contact: Alisa Boswell-Gore | Office of Communications & Marketing, OSU Agriculture | 405-744-7115 |

Oklahoma State University 2020 winter wheat variety Butler’s Gold is growing more prominent on the commercial market, and researchers want to ensure that producers know when and how to plant it.

“Wheat producers are interested in the late planting system,” said Dr. Amanda Silva, assistant professor and state Extension specialist for small grains. “There are producers in Oklahoma wanting to harvest cotton and soybeans in late October, so they need to delay wheat planting. It’s important for them to find a variety well adapted for planting in November and December.”

Silva’s research shows Butler’s Gold is the only short-season winter wheat variety in the U.S. In a recently completed three-year study, Silva and her master’s student, Israel Cyrineu, compared the performance and seeding rate of the short-season variety with eight other varieties of winter wheat planted in October and December at two locations.

“Sometimes, producers plant late because they are trying to fit in double cropping systems, but sometimes weather or other factors prevent them from planting in time,” Silva said.

She added that Oklahoma producers commonly increase the seeding rate when planting late due to having a shorter tilling period. However, more research is needed to understand optimal seeding rate at different planting dates using modern varieties.

In the previous study, Silva’s team found the maturity pattern of the short-season variety was adequate for late planting and fared better when planted in December rather than October.

“Although we did not see yield differences among these varieties, the maturity differences are the most important thing with a late planting system, especially for producers who want to plant a summer crop afterward,” Silva said.

After late planting, Butler’s Gold grows fast and matures early before spring to avoid a delay in wheat harvest and soybean planting.

This winter, Silva and her team are comparing Showdown, Doublestop and Butler’s Gold at three seeding rates for planting dates in October, November and December at separate locations.

“These varieties have different maturity patterns, so we can inform producers on how those varieties with different maturity patterns will perform when they are planted at different times,” Silva said. “The more we talk about this type of research with producers, the more we find that it is very useful for them.”

Wheat producers Brent and Zack Rendel in Miami, Oklahoma, provided their farm as one of the three locations for the research trial. Silva said due to having specialized equipment, the Rendel Farms location will study two wheat varieties with five seeding rates and three planting dates.

Brent Rendel said he has partnered with OSU Ag Research off and on for more than 20 years and has learned participation is the best way to collect new information about wheat production.

“I always have three to four ag research projects in any given year,” Rendel said. “I value that the answers we come up with are always geared toward the questions I want to see answered as a producer. Hosting one of the research locations helps researchers get a state-wide view of the question while helping me get a local view.”

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