1- Pull, or better yet, dig up, several clusters of tillers with roots and soil from multiple locations in the field;
2- Identify and select three to four primary tillers from each cluster – usually the largest tillers with the thickest stem, but size can be deceiving;
3- Strip away and remove all the lower leaves (usually small and yellowish or dead leaves), exposing the base of the stem;
4- Now look for the first node anywhere between 1 and 2 inches above the base of the stem. This node is usually seen as a slightly swollen area of a slightly different (darker) shade of green than the rest of the stem.
If the first node (and only that node) is seen at the base of the stem, then your wheat is at Feekes growth stage 6. Click on the links below for information on management practices that are recommended (or not recommended) at this growth stage:
Here is a link to a video on staging wheat on the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team website. The file is very large does not play from the website. It needs to be downloaded so expect a delay.