What makes a good crop? Targets!

To have an idea of the potential yield of your crop, find out what the is the highest yield achieved by farmers in your community. To begin with, aim for that target. When considering methods to increase yield:

  • Remember that diseases and pests may be harder and more costly to manage in a dense crop.
  • Assess whether additional labor and material costs will be recovered by increased yield.
  • Consider that additional chemical inputs will impact the long-term sustainability of the field.
  • Remember that other crops in your system will influence your yield targets.

The table below summarizes the main requirements for a target yield of about 5 t/ha (which is feasible on irrigated land in many regions). It assumes that the crop is planted in 7 inch / 18 cm rows at the optimum time. It shows what characteristics the crop should have as it progresses through its Zadoks stages (see the growth stages of wheat).

sowing seed rate with small seed (< 40 mg) 85 kg/ha
seed rate with large seed (> 40 mg) 115 kg/ha
sowing depth 3-4 cm
emergence seedlings emerged / meter row length 30-40/m
tillering tillers per main shoot at Z1.3 (3 leaf stage) 1
shoots / m row (main stem + tillers) at Z3.2 > 120/m
shoots with visible nodes / m row at Z3.2 > 85/m
ground cover at early boot stage (Z4.0) > 90%
flowering green leaves per shoot at anthesis > 2.5
spike number / m row at anthesis 80-100/m
grain fill kernel number per spike 25-35
kernel number / m row
(number depends upon variety)
maturity kernel weight (mg)
(weight depends on variety)
33-48 mg

For assistance in calculating ground cover, spike counts, and seedling counts, see the extended information page on numerical assessments of field observations.

Also, click here to see the yield and economic calculators.