Wheat Heading Growth Stage

Wheat head

After seemingly being behind throughout the month of April, the wheat crop in Ohio “changed gears” over the last week and is now heading-out in some areas – do not be deceived by the fact that plants still look short in some fields. Heading will continue over the next week to 10 days across the state. This is a very important growth stage from the standpoint of disease management, since it is critical to maintain healthy heads and leaves during grain fill to enhance yield. 

1- Examine primary tillers at multiple locations in the field – remove them if it makes it easier for you to examine;

2- Identify the flag leaf, which is the fourth leaf above the lowest node on the stem, and look at the position of the head in the leaf sheath of the flag leaf;

3- If the flag leaf is fully emerged with the sheath fully extended and the head is still encased and swollen in the leaf sheath, then you are still at Feekes 10, the boot stage;

4- If the first few spikelets are out of the leaf sheath then you are at Feekes 10.1;

5- If about 25% of the head is out of the leaf sheath then you are at Feekes 10.2;

6- If about 50% of the head is out of the leaf sheath then you are at Feekes 10.3;

7- If about 75% of the head is out of the leaf sheath then you are at Feekes 10.4; and

8- If the head is fully emerged (the entire head is out of the leaf sheath) then you are at Feekes 10.5;

Click on the links below for information on management practices that are recommended (or not recommended) at these growth stages: http://ohioline.osu.edu/agf-fact/pdf/0126.pdf

Video: https://youtu.be/Q6Da1HRlmV8

Crop Observation and Recommendation Network

C.O.R.N. Newsletter is a summary of crop observations, related information, and appropriate recommendations for Ohio crop producers and industry. C.O.R.N. Newsletter is produced by the Ohio State University Extension Agronomy Team, state specialists at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). C.O.R.N. Newsletter questions are directed to Extension and OARDC state specialists and associates at Ohio State.