Video: Optimal Wheat Seeding Rates

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What seeding rate is best for soft red winter wheat production? Optimal seeding rates will vary depending on when and how you plant. Small Grains Extension Specialist, Dr. Angela Post, outlines how to choose the best seeding rate for your operation in this short video.

Drill vs. Broadcast

Seeding rate ranges for the state are recommended between 1.6 million and 2.1 million seeds per acre. Remember that each variety and lot may have a different number of seeds per pound. If you’re using a grain drill the range is about 21 to 28 seeds per row foot. For a broadcast situation that’s going to look like 37 to 48 seeds per square foot.


Planting season in North Carolina ranges from the first week of October all the way through Thanksgiving. The target date really depends on where you are in the state as to when you’ll start (see page 19 of the NC State Extension Small Grains Production Guide). There is no standard Hessian Fly Free Date in North Carolina. Earlier in the planting window choose to be on the lower end of those seeding rates. As we move later and later in the season you will increase incrementally until you reach that 2 to 2.1 million seeds per acre or 28 seeds per row foot emerged.

Late Planting Considerations

Broadcasting is faster but in a drill situation you’re going to have a more consistent stand. In order to replicate that in a broadcast situation it is recommended to split the seeding rate in half and go in two directions for broadcast. If you’re unable to do that because of time or equipment limitations, then the recommendation is to broadcast all at once and then use a light tillage rig to get better seed to soil contact.