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May 14

 

general-viewOur field is almost completely headed– that means the head is out of the boot or leaf sheath of all the plants. As you saw from May 9th the wheat was almost headed then. There were a considerable number of visible heads last Friday, but I didn’t take any pictures. So, do you think wheat harvest is going to happen pretty soon? Well, we’ve got to wait for about 30 days. It is going to be hot today and for the rest of week– that’s not good for wheat. Wheat prefers cool weather, say about 70ºF. We could be in trouble.


row_closeupAll the plants in the row have headed. Our wheat was in Feekes stage 10.5 (heading complete) over the weekend. So, we are actually slightly past that stage now. Our plants are in the flowering stages ... beginning flowering is Feekes stage 10.5.1, but we need to look closer.


closeupheadWhen we look closely at an individual wheat head or spike, as some people call it, we can see those funny-looking things sticking out. Those are anthers. Anthers contain the pollen. When you see anthers outside the wheat flower or floret you know that pollen has been shed and pollination has occurred. And if you will notice flowering has occurred all the way to the base of the head, which means this plant is Feekes stage 10.5.3 (flowering complete to the base of the spike). For an in-depth description of the wheat floret we need to look at last year’s discussion from May 4th.

Those long, slender structures are called awns. Farmers usually call them "beards." Awns contain chlorophyll, so they carry on photosynthesis just like leaves. Awns are important for wheats that are grown in drier climates, because they have a smaller surface area and they don’t lose as much water as leaves do.


closeupkernelw-arrowWe are now looking inside a wheat floret and we can see a small, developing kernel. This kernel is only about 3 days old. So, this means this floret was pollinated over the weekend. It doesn’t look very much like a wheat kernel to me, but it will in a few days.

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