Frequent Rains Delay Harvest of Winter Wheat

While the frequent rains might be good for plant growth, it is causing some headache for farmers who need to harvest winter wheat before planting a crop of soybeans. While nearly all of the soybean crop is already in the ground in Indiana, some farmers who “double crop” have not yet been able to plant their beans and are facing crucial dates this month for planting them. Double-cropping is not recommended in the north because of its shorter season.

Purdue Extension soybean specialist Shaun Casteel said this year’s wheat harvest is totally opposite to 2012, when nearly every acre was already harvested by now. He said the delayed wheat harvest has a direct effect on double-crop soybeans.

As of the week ending July 7, less than one-third of the winter wheat acreage had been harvested, compared to 98 percent last year and the five-year average of 69 percent, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Cooler temperatures that extended into spring this year delayed the development of wheat, though the cool and wet spring did benefit many wheat fields with extended periods of grain fill. Farmers who double-crop would need to plant their soybeans so the plants can reach maturity before the first freeze in autumn. Because double-crop soybeans need about 90 days to reach the first harvestable stage of development, Casteel recommended that farmers target July 15-25 as estimated planting deadlines depending on their location in the state.

A detailed report that Casteel wrote on planting decisions for double-crop soybeans is available at