Wheat, what, and how?

Situation: Field was seeded by a previous landowner in spring 2000 to alfalfa with triticale and pea cover crop which was harvested for forage (but I don’t know when). Alfalfa stand was determined not to be good enough to keep last summer. New owner of land sprayed field with Roundup and seeded winter wheat last fall. The wheat was purchased directly from Kaltenberg and several neighbors planted the same seed lot without any problem. This field has a lot of what appears to be rye or possibly triticale (awns are bristly). It is not uniformly distributed in the field, adding further evidence that the original wheat seed lot was not contaminated. Clearly, this is a winter cereal (too early for spring triticale to head). I was under the impression that most triticale-pea mixtures had spring varieties. Further, if harvested for forage, how could there be any viable seed that would regrow as volunteer? How do you distinguish a triticale head from a rye head? Is it possible to separate wheat seed from rye/triticale?

2 thoughts on “Wheat, what, and how?

  1. Triticale is a cross between wheat and rye.

    It will be impossible to remove rye/triticale seed from wheat seed. One possible method is to hand rogue, but judging from the submitted image there appears to be quite a bit to rogue and there would likely be quite a few tillers below the wheat canopy.

    Rye heads are thinner than the robust triticale head. Triticale has a blueish cast appearnace. The best way to determine the difference between rye and triticale is to collect some heads when ripe and look at seed characteristics. You may want to send some heads to the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association and they will be able to identify.

    I’m not sure why the rye/triticale is present in the wheat field. Need to know timing of triticale/pea harvest and spraying of Round-up. A couple of possibilities include dormant seed that escaped the Round-up treatment and was able to survive the winter, or regrowth from the triticale/pea mixture that escaped the Roundu-up survived the winter with the wheat.

    Rye/Triticale volunteers freely because grain shatters readily and the seeds thrive under adverse cultural conditions. Growing these crops in winter-wheat regions is likely to result in mixtures with consequent deprectiation in the market value of the wheat.

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