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Group I winter cereals

Group I winter cereals are important in increasing grain production in Russia. In the main areas of cultivation, they produce higher yields than spring crops. Winter hardy, short-stemmed, lodging-resistant varieties of winter wheat with a potential yield of 8-9 t/ha and winter rye varieties with a yield of 5-6 t/ha are important.

Group I winter cereals include:

  • winter wheat;
  • winter rye;
  • winter barley;
  • triticale (winter form).

They, well developed from the fall, use the spring reserves of water and nutrients better than spring ones. With the onset of steady heat in the spring, they quickly build up vegetative mass and suffer less than spring crops from spring droughts. Early maturation of winter crops protects them from dry winds. For example, winter wheat is harvested 8-10 days earlier than spring wheat, and winter barley 10-12 days earlier than spring barley. Early harvesting allows the soil to be better prepared for subsequent crops. Postponing a part of field work to the fall allows you to distribute the intensity of field work more effectively. Thanks to the earlier harvesting, there are enough warm days left to use the sown areas for stubble crops.



Area sown

Winter crops in Russia account for 13-15 million hectares, or 26% of the area sown with cereal crops. Winter wheat and winter rye account for the largest share.

Winter crops are cultivated almost throughout the European part of Russia. In Eastern Siberia and the Far East, winter crops are less common because they require more favorable conditions for cultivation.

Autumn and spring development

Yields of winter cereal crops with good overwintering can be 0.5-1.0 t/ha higher than those of spring crops, as well as greater phytomass due to a longer growing season, which is 120-150 days, whereas spring crops have 90-100 days.

The development of winter crops takes place in two stages. The first takes place in autumn, from sowing until frost sets in, and the second begins in spring and ends with fructification and plant death. When sown in spring, winter crops do not form reproductive organs. In the autumn period they have an intensive increase in the root system and leaf surface.

During the autumn, winter crops have time to form a powerful root system penetrating deep into the soil up to 1 m and to form 4-8 stems.

As temperature drops and day-length decreases, growth processes slow down, resulting in the accumulation of plastic substances, especially sugars, in the tiller node and leaves. With the onset of stable frosts, the plants go into a dormant state. Resistance of winter crops to low temperatures has been developed in the process of evolution.

Protoplasm properties determining water-holding capacity are important in increasing winter hardiness of plants. Excess or lack of water is one of the causes of winter crops death. In case of excess, formation of ice crystals in plant tissues is noted, which has a disastrous effect on their condition. Lack of moisture leads to irreversible coagulation of protoplasm colloids and plants die.

The resistance of winter crops to adverse conditions is affected by the introduction of granulated superphosphate enriched with manganese at the rate of 10-12 kg/ha P2O5 at sowing. Fertilization in the early vegetation period phosphorus and manganese contributes to the accumulation of plastic substances in the bush nodes and increase winterhardiness. Abundant nitrogen nutrition during this period enhances plant growth and has a negative effect on hardening.

Overwintering of winter crops

Winter hardiness is the resistance of plants to adverse conditions during the period of overwintering. According to winter hardiness crops can be arranged in descending order: rye, triticale, wheat, barley, oats.

Frost resistance is the ability of plants to withstand low negative temperatures.

Cold resistance is the ability of plants to withstand the action of low positive temperatures.

Among winter crops, winter rye is the most frost-resistant, withstanding frosts as low as -20°C at the depth of tillering node. Winter wheat is less frost-resistant, as temperatures below -16 … -18 °C are dangerous for it. Winter barley is damaged by frosts at temperatures below -12 °C.

Winter-hardiness and frost-resistance is a complex physiological property, it is characterized by inconstancy, it is formed at certain stages of development, especially in the process of hardening of plants. I.I. Tumanov determined that hardening occurs in autumn in two phases. The first phase proceeds under conditions of intense light and temperatures of 8 to 15 °С during the daytime and at about 0 °С at night. During the first phase, plants, especially bush nodes, accumulate plastic substances, especially sugars, because during cool night hours, their expenditure for growth and respiration slows down.

Before wintering, winter crops accumulate 20-25% of sugars in terms of dry matter. Having passed the first phase of hardening, the plants are able to maintain temperature down to -10 … -12°С.

The second phase of hardening is the main one. During this phase cells gradually dehydrate, water outflow from cytoplasm into intercellular spaces and transformation of insoluble organic substances into soluble ones in cells takes place. As a result, the concentration of cell sap increases in bush nodes and leaf sheaths.

Winter rye goes through the second phase of hardening faster, winter wheat slower and winter barley slower. After the second phase, the plant’s resistance to unfavorable wintering conditions increases. This phase takes place in plants in the light and in the dark at temperatures from 0 to -5 °C.

Duration of hardening phase depends on plant species, variety and meteorological conditions. During hardening, soluble carbohydrates (oligosaccharides) and amino acids (proline, asparagine, glutamic acid) are accumulated in vegetative organs, especially in bush nodes. The amount of accumulated carbohydrates and amino acids directly affects frost- and winter-hardiness of varieties. Oligosaccharides, gradually transformed into soluble sugars, increase frost-resistance.

Hardening depends on meteorological conditions in autumn. Clear, sunny weather with warm days and cool nights favors hardening, on the contrary, overcast weather with warm days and nights slows it down. Good hardening is facilitated by optimal timing of sowing, autumn fertilization with phosphorus-potassium fertilizers.

It takes 20-24 days to pass complete hardening under optimal conditions. After a good hardening, winter wheat can bear frosts at the depth of tillering node to -18 … -20°С. With insufficient hardening, wheat suffers even at temperatures of -15 … -17 °С.


In the steppe regions of the North Caucasus, Ukraine and the Volga region, winter crops are often damaged and killed by freezing, which is associated with weak autumn development, abrupt temperature variations with insufficient snow cover thickness, and the presence of lapped and hanging ice crust.

In the southern part of the forest-steppe in years with insufficient snow cover, winter crops are at risk of freezing. In the northern areas of the Black Earth Zone and in the south of the Non-Black Earth Zone, ice crust is a frequent cause of death. In the central areas of the Non-Chernozem zone, winter crops die from thawing and soaking, sometimes from frost.

In the north-east of the Non-Chernozem zone winter crops die from hibernation caused by deep snow cover, and the development of snow mold and sclerotinia. In the north-west of the Non-Black Soil Zone and in the Baltics, winter crops suffer from soaking due to excessive moisture.

Freezing occurs because water crystallizes in the intercellular spaces under the influence of low temperatures. The resulting ice crystals pull water away from the cells, which leads to an increase in cell sap concentration and dehydration of protoplasm. The formation of ice in intercellular cells and in the cell sap does not yet lead to the death of the plant. With a gradual increase in temperature, vitality is restored, and the water produced by slowly melting crystals is sucked back into the cells.

However, dehydration of protoplasm leads to cell death. The plant dies from freezing of the protoplasm itself, which occurs only in severe frosts and when the tiller node is not deep enough. In winter-hardy varieties, the tiller node is deeper than in less winter-hardy varieties.

Frost-resistant varieties should be used to control winter frost damage. Soil treatment, provision with nutrients, optimal timing of sowing and embedding of seeds are also important.

Snow retention or snow accumulation is effective primarily in the South-East of Russia, the North Caucasus, Ukraine and other regions. On average, snow retention increases the yield of winter wheat by 35% (0.4-0.7 t/ha). Snow retention is carried out with the help of shelterbelt forests, strip crops of high-stemmed crops and other methods.

Table. Effectiveness of snow retention on winter wheat crops[1] Crop production/P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov et al; Edited by P.P. Vavilov. - M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. - 512 p.: ill. - (Textbook and textbooks for higher education institutions).

Experimental Station
Yield without snow-holding, t/ha
Yield with snow-holding, t/ha
Saratov (data for 9 years)
Kuibyshevskaya (data for 5 years)
Rostov (data for 4 years)

In the steppe regions of the North Caucasus, Ukraine and the Volga region, winter crops are often damaged and killed by freezing, which is associated with weak autumn development, abrupt temperature variations with insufficient snow cover thickness, and the presence of lapped and hanging ice crust.

In the southern part of the forest-steppe in years with insufficient snow cover, winter crops are at risk of freezing. In the northern areas of the Black Earth Zone and in the south of the Non-Black Earth Zone, ice crust is a frequent cause of death. In the central areas of the Non-Chernozem zone, winter crops die from suffocation and soaking, sometimes from frost.

In the north-east of the Non-Chernozem zone winter crops die from suffocation caused by deep snow cover, and the development of snow mold and sclerotinia. In the north-west of the Non-Black Soil Zone and in the Baltics, winter crops suffer from soaking due to excessive moisture.

Freezing occurs because water crystallizes in the intercellular spaces under the influence of low temperatures. The resulting ice crystals pull water away from the cells, which leads to an increase in cell sap concentration and dehydration of protoplasm. The formation of ice in intercellular cells and in the cell sap does not yet lead to the death of the plant. With a gradual increase in temperature, vitality is restored, and the water produced by slowly melting crystals is sucked back into the cells.

However, dehydration of protoplasm leads to cell death. The plant dies from freezing of the protoplasm itself, which occurs only in severe frosts and when the tiller node is not deep enough. In winter-hardy varieties, the tiller node is deeper than in less winter-hardy varieties.

Frost-resistant varieties should be used to control winter frost damage. Soil treatment, provision with nutrients, optimal timing of sowing and embedding of seeds are also important.

Snow retention or snow accumulation is effective primarily in the South-East of Russia, the North Caucasus, Ukraine and other regions. On average, snow retention increases the yield of winter wheat by 35% (0.4-0.7 t/ha). Snow retention is carried out with the help of shelterbelt forests, strip crops of high-stemmed crops and other methods.


The main causes of crop suffocation are:

  • leaving for the winter severely overgrown and poorly hardened plants covered with a thick layer of snow in winter that does not come off for a long time in the spring;
  • shallow freezing of the soil, with plants beginning to revive and breathe due to the heat under the snow cover;
  • as a result of the formation of a suspended ice crust, under which plants under the influence of heat and light begin to revive;
  • when a large amount of snow falls on the unfrozen soil, and the plants, while continuing to live under the snow, quickly use up their reserves of nutrients. 

Suffocation is noted in poor hardening of winter crops, when snow falls on unfrozen soil. For a long time, the death of winter crops from suffocation was explained by the lack of air oxygen inflow. Later, it was found that even under thick adjacent cover, in the immediate vicinity of weeping plants, the air contains sufficient oxygen. I.I. Tumanova proved that plants experience suffocation not from lack of oxygen, but from exhaustion. Spending the accumulated nutrients for respiration, plants in the conditions of almost complete absence of light under the snow cannot replenish the reserves by assimilation.

Further depletion of plants comes from the breakdown of proteins and the accumulation of amino acids. Weakened plants are easily affected by snow mold and other diseases. According to the data of I.M. Petunin and V.A. Moiseychik, the death of plants from thawing in the Nonchernozem zone of Russia occurs at the temperature at the depth of the tiller node about 0 ° C in 90-100 days. Winter rye is less resistant to weeping than winter wheat, especially in central and northern regions of Russia.

To prevent the death of plants from suffocation in the fall, rolling the crops after snow falls on the melted ground is carried out. Dense snow accelerates the freezing of the soil, which leads to a slowing of life processes in plants, and suffocation is prevented.

Too early and crowded sowing, which increases the likelihood of suffocation death, and excessive nitrogen nutrition are of great importance in preventing suffocation. In the case of overgrowth, especially of rye, an autumn high mowing may also be useful.


Soaking is observed in low places where melt water accumulates and is retained. As a consequence, anaerobic processes intensify in plant tissues, poisoning and death of plants occur. When plants are in flooded conditions, they turn yellow in 8-10 days, and discolor and die in 12-15 days. Winter rye is less resistant to soaking than winter wheat.

To prevent soaking, open drainage is arranged by making dispersed furrows in the moistened area after sowing to divert excess water and prevent stagnation. In “saucers” water is lowered by slitting or laying wells up to water permeable layer of soil.


The bulging, that is, the displacement of tiller nodes to the soil surface, leads to root breakage, and is caused by the formation of subsurface cellular ice or soil subsidence. It is more often observed on heavy and unstructured soils. Bulging is especially dangerous with alternating freezing and thawing during frosty, snowless windy autumns or springs, and dust storms.

To prevent bulging, varieties with sufficiently deep tiller node establishment are used. To prevent bulging from soil subsidence, the last deep tillage should be done in optimal time without delay, because it is important that the soil has time to settle before sowing.

If, for any reason, the non-settled soil is sown, it is first compacted with ring rollers. In years when biting knots are exposed, spring rolling of winter crops by smooth trailed rollers of ЗКВГ-1,4 type is carried out. In this case, tillering knots are pressed to the soil, which contributes to the flow of moisture to them and accelerates the formation of new, secondary roots. Spring harrowing is not carried out in case of bulging of plants.

Presowing treatment the seeds of winter crops with retardants leads to deepening of bushing node by 10-15 mm and better development of root system, as a result, winter-hardiness and crop yields increase. Retardants are effective only at early and optimal sowing dates, if delayed they may give negative results.

Ice crust

Ice crusts can be lapped, i.e. directly on the surface of the soil, or hanging. The most dangerous is a lapped transparent crust (film). A crust not affecting the tiller nodes is less dangerous.

Under a hanging ice crust, plant vitality can persist, contributing to suffocation and soaking. To control a hanging ice crust, it is broken down completely or in strips.

A lapped ice crust appears during alternating thaws, when the snow melts completely, and the subsequent cold snap, when the resulting water freezes. At the same time, the ice crust freezes with the top layer of soil. It poses a danger to crops, as ice does not weaken like snow, but rather increases the effect of frost due to 5 times higher thermal conductivity, which leads to the freezing of winter crops. 

Freezing of plants completely in the ice, leads to disruption of gas exchange. 

It is impossible to break the lapped ice crust without damaging the plants. To mitigate the negative effect of the crust, snow retention is carried out. Also at the end of winter, the surface is sprinkled with ash, peat crumbs, potash fertilizer or other materials to accelerate melting.

An ice crust on the snow surface (crust) is not considered dangerous for crops.

Snow mold and sclerotinia

Snow mold on winter crops is caused by the fungus parasite Fusarium nivale Ces. Plants, more often winter rye, emerged from under the snow and are covered with a whitish or pink bloom. Snow mold develops on dead or dying plants as a result of smothering or other adverse events. Mold can also affect plants that are alive and weakened during overwintering.

In addition to snow mold, a disease caused by fungus Sclerotinia graminearum Elenev may develop on overwintered winter crops in spring. At that, first white, then dark brown dense lumps – sclerotinia appear on plants. Mass sclerotinia infestation is noted in Ivanovo, Nizhny Novgorod and Kirov regions.

To prevent sclerotinia damage to crops, introduce varieties resistant to Fusarium sclerotinum. Seed disinfestation before sowing, such as fundazole, removal of excess snow, arrangement of dispersal furrows, drainage of excess water with wells, raking of dead leaves in spring to remove pockets of infestation from the field are also effective.

Cultivation technology of winter cereal crops

Intensive technology of winter cereal crops cultivation is based on:

  • application of high-yielding, lodging-resistant varieties;
  • ensuring normal soil acidity and a balanced nutrient regime;
  • Fractional application of nitrogen fertilizers during the growing season, taking into account the results of soil, stem and foliar diagnostics of plant nutrition
  • application of growth regulators;
  • application of an integrated plant protection system.

Intensive technology provides for obtaining 5-6 t/ha of high quality grain.

Varieties and seeds

To obtain high and stable yields of grain of high quality, sow the zoned intensive varieties that are resistant to lodging. With intensive technology and the availability of large crop areas it is advisable to sow at least two varieties.

Seeds must be large, aligned the first class of sowing conditions. Weight of 1000 grains – 40-50 grams, the power of growth – at least 80%.

The best option, especially for the Non-Black Soil Zone, if the seeds of the previous year’s harvest from the transferable fund. Freshly harvested seeds in the Non-Chernozem zone may be physiologically immature.

Before sowing, we conduct seed treatment with moistening (10 l of water per 1 ton of seeds) with granozan, fundazole, bytane, pentathiuram, Vitalax 75% (2.5-3 kg/t seed) or other preparations.

Additional treatment of seeds with retardants, such as Tur (chlorcholine chloride) or others, is effective in increasing resistance of winter crops to unfavorable conditions of overwintering, lodging, drought, increases yield by 0.2-0.5 t/ha.

Crop rotation

Main article: Cereal of the crop rotation

The main requirements for predecessors of winter cereal crops:

Sufficient time between harvesting the preceding crop and sowing winter crops to qualitatively prepare the soil;
fields must be clean of weeds with sufficient supply of moisture and nutrients.

Winter cereals, unlike other grains, are most responsive to predecessors. Their yield at repeated sowing, even with a high level of agrotechnics, is greatly reduced, with the exception of winter rye.

The best predecessor is a bare fallow, which allows efficient clearing of the fields of weeds, accumulate moisture and nutrients in the soil. Crops on bare fallow quickly develop from the fall, overwinter well and produce high yields. However, bare fallow is mainly used in arid climates.

In the zone of sufficient moisture a good forecrop is a busy fallow. In this zone, the yield of winter crops on seeded fallow is close to the yield on bare fallow, but the lack of grain is compensated by the yield of fallow-occupied crops.

The best fallow-occupied crops are corn for green fodder, early potatoes, early peas, vetch-oat and vetch-rye mixtures, perennial grasses for green fodder and hay, lupine and other green manure.

Sunflowers, corn, castor beans, winter barley, winter wheat, winter rye, and sometimes spring barley are used as non-fallow crops for winter crops. They are grown for grains and are harvested later than the fallow-occupied crop, so there is minimum time for soil preparation after them. These crops are used as predecessors in areas with a long warm and wet autumn. Here, leguminous crops and corn for silage may also be the predecessors.

When sowing winter crops on seeded fallow and non-fallow preceding crops, fields should be liberated in the Non-Black Soil zone – no less than a month before sowing of winter crops, in other areas – 1.5-2 months.

Under irrigation and in arid conditions, sowing on seeded fallows is possible. Bare fallow may be temporarily effective on heavily weedy soils in conditions of sufficient moisture.

Winter cereal crops cultivated on intensive technology, place on the best, providing a good moisture accumulation predecessors, for example, the layer of perennial grasses, legumes, annual grasses. In the zone of insufficient moisture – on bare fallow.

Tillage system

Main article: Tilling for winter crops

The main tasks of tillage for winter cereal crops are accumulation and preservation of productive moisture reserves sufficient to obtain uniform and timely sprouts and good development in autumn; destruction of weed vegetation, and control of diseases and pests.

The tillage system is determined by the preceding crop, weed infestation of fields, and natural and climatic conditions.

Winter crops are responsive to the depth of plowing. It is advisable to deepen the arable layer during autumn tillage under the preceding crop with the introduction of increased doses of organic fertilizers.

When sowing winter crops on occupied fallows and non-fallow preceding crop to get high yields requires a high level of agricultural technology with compliance with the optimal timing of the work.

If before sowing winter crops is more than a month, after harvesting the predecessor, discing and plowing with simultaneous harrowing are carried out. Plowing can be carried out without prior discing. If there is enough time before sowing, as weeds emerge, additional tillage is carried out.

After row crop predecessors in case of lack of time, dry weather and clean fields from weeds, plowing is replaced by discing for 10-12 cm and harrowing. Presowing cultivation is carried out to the depth of sowing seeds.

In erosion-prone areas the anti-erosion system of tillage is used.


Sowing winter crops at the optimal time in moist soil ensures the emergence of uniform sprouts, good root system development, tillering and autumn hardening. Too early sowing, especially in warm and long autumn leads to overgrowth of plants, damage by pests and diseases. Delaying sowing prevents plants from expanding before frost, forming a strong, good root system, and hardening. In both cases, winter crops do not survive the winter and are susceptible to freezing and other adverse effects.

For good rooting and tillering (3-4 developed shoots should form before going into winter) in normal weather, it takes about 50 days from the emergence of seedlings to the cessation of fall growth. The stopping of growth comes at temperatures below 5°C. Therefore, optimum sowing periods should provide 50-60 days of autumn vegetation for winter wheat, and 45-50 days for winter rye, with the sum of average daily temperatures of 550-580°C and 420-480°C, respectively.

Approximate sowing dates for winter wheat and winter rye for climatic zones of Russia:

  • areas of the Far North – 1-15 August;
  • Non-Black Soil zone, Siberia, the Far East – August 5-30;
  • Central Black Earth zone, South-East – August 15 – September 1;
  • Southern steppe zone, Lower Volga region – September 1-20;
  • Steppe regions of the Northern Caucasus – September 15 – October 10.

Approximate sowing dates for winter barley in the North Caucasus:

  • Steppe regions – September 1-20;
  • foothills – September 15 – October 5.

The dates are specified taking into account the crop, variety, weather conditions, moisture and quality of tillage, and precursors. For example, winter wheat, as a less winter-hardy crop, is sown earlier than winter rye.

Winter cereals are sown in a usual straight-line method with 15 cm row-spacing, narrow-row method with 7.5 cm row-spacing, cross-row method.

Seeding rates. To determine seeding rates take into account climatic features, seed quality, variety, soil properties, timing and method of sowing. If the field germination decreases, for example, due to late sowing or dry soil, the seeding rate is increased. In areas of sufficient moisture on fertilized soils, high farming techniques, narrow-row sowing method and for strongly bushy varieties, the rate decreases. In arid conditions, less fertile soils decrease the rate.

Sowing is carried out by leaving a technological track 1800 mm with two unseeded strips of 450 mm.

Sowing depth. To get uniform sprouts, the seeds are sown in a moist layer of soil and at the same depth. Too deep sowing, especially in rye, reduces bushiness and leads to thinning. Shallow embedding increases the risk of blowing out the plants, exposing tiller nodes and freezing.

The optimum sowing depth for winter wheat is 5-6 cm, for winter rye and winter barley 4-5 cm. On light soils, in dry conditions, the depth is increased, on heavy and wet ones, the depth is reduced. Small seeds are sown to a shallower depth, large seeds to a greater depth.


Winter cereal crops, especially wheat, are demanding to soil fertility. To form 1 ton of grain and the corresponding amount of straw 25-40 kg of nitrogen, 9-15 kg of phosphorus and 16-30 kg of potassium are consumed. The removal of nutrients by intensive varieties is 1,5-2 times more than by extensive varieties.

On black earth soils of the central and southern regions, 15-20 t/ha of manure, 30-60 kg/ha of phosphorus fertilizer and 30-45 kg/ha of potassium fertilizer are applied to the basic fertilizer. Fertilizer is applied under plowing (in the black fallow – in autumn, in early – in spring) or in the first half of summer during the processing of the fallow. In arid areas, organic fertilizers are applied in autumn under the main plowing. In the Non-Black Soil zone, 30-40 t/ha of manure, 45-60 kg/ha of phosphorus, and 30-50 kg/ha of potassium are applied.

The greatest effect is achieved with the combined use of organic and mineral fertilizers.

When sowing, phosphate fertilizers in the rate of P10-20 are applied to the rows. On nitrogen-poor soils, especially on the occupied (seeded) fallow or non-fallow preceding crops (except legumes), in the presowing cultivation add N20-30.

Fertilizing is carried out in early spring. Nitrogen nutrition is especially important during this period, but the best results are achieved by feeding with full fertilizer. At the same time 30-45 kg/ha of nitrogen, 15-20 kg/ha of phosphorus and potassium are added.

In a bare fallow the main fertilizer is made under the fallow-occupied crops, and also in the spring during the pre-sowing cultivation N20-30, in the rows during sowing of fallow-occupied crops – P10-20.

After harvesting fallow-occupied crops under deep plowing or under shallow cultivation under discing, apply 35-50 kg/ha of phosphorus, 30-45 kg/ha of potassium, and, if the soil is lacking, 20-30 kg/ha of nitrogen. Row fertilization and dressing are the same as for sowing on bare fallow.

On sandy, clay and podzolic soils of the Non-Black Soil zone green fertilization is effective.

Lime is carried out under deep plowing at a dose of 4-6 t/ha depending on acidity. Effect of lime is 7-10 years. Smaller doses are brought under the discing and embedded finer.

All fertilizer rates should be adjusted to the actual content in the soil and the needs of plants for the planned yield.

Nitrogen fertilizers are applied as top dressing. If according to soil diagnosis, the reserves of mineral nitrogen in the soil in autumn is insufficient, then prior to sowing, apply 20% of the total calculated rate of nitrogen fertilizer. The first fertilizer is applied in spring during the tillering stage and the second one during the phase of appearing of the tube.

Average increase in grain yield on chernozem soils from nitrogen fertilizer additions is 0.2-0.6 t / ha, on sod-podzolic and gray forests – 0.3-0.7 t / ha.

In areas with sufficient moisture in the first top dressing made 30% of calculated nitrogen rate in the second – 50%, but no more than 80 kg / ha. If autumn nitrogen fertilizer was not made, the first additional fertilizer to make 1/3 of the calculated norm, the second 2/3. 

In arid areas and in conditions of rapid desiccation of the soil, the first feeding is carried out at the root application of 50% of the norm.

To improve the quality of grain during earing, fertilizer application of 40 kg / ha of nitrogen is carried out.

Fertilizing can be carried out by machines РУМ-5, 1РМГ-4 on the technological track. The deviation from the established norm should not be more than ±5%. Fertilizer spreading width may exceed the seeding unit working width by 5%.

Crop care

The main methods of care of winter cereal crops include: rolling, top dressing, snow retention, spring harrowing, control of lodging, weeds, diseases and pests, irrigation, artificial additional pollination of winter rye.

Post-sowing rolling is carried out, if the sowing is carried out in not enough wet or loose unsettled soil, with ring-spiked rollers. This method contributes to fast and uniform emergence of seedlings, good tillering in autumn and overwintering.

In conditions of excessive moisture in the autumn, in the low-lying areas, to prevent the accumulation of water arrange ditches or other techniques for drainage.

Snow retention is carried out in arid conditions and areas with little snowy winters. This method increases the yield by 0.3-0.6 t/ha. Snow cover protects plants from freezing and increases moisture reserves. A snow cover height of 30-50 cm is considered sufficient. Field shelter belts, strips, and brushwood shields may be used for snow retention. Snowplows are used if the snow cover is over 10 cm in height.

In spring, meltwater retention or diversion in low-lying areas is practiced in crops.

Early spring harrowing reduces moisture loss, improves air conditions and microbiological activity in soil, destroys weed sprouts, removes dead plant parts, prevents crust and cracks on the surface.

Well-wintered crops are harrowed in two traces, weakened crops – in one trace. On sandy and sandy loamy soils, heavily damaged crops are not harrowed after the winter. Harrowing is replaced by rolling in case of bulging of tillering nodes.

Plant protection system

Measures to control pests, diseases and weeds are planned taking into account the forecasts of development. Timing and expediency are adjusted according to the data of surveys and assessment of the phytosanitary state of crops.

Treatment with chemical plant protection agents is carried out by sprayers, for example, ОПШ-15, ПОМ-630 or analogues.

Treatment with herbicides is carried out before haying. For weed control herbicides are used:

  • 2,4-D amine salt 40%, the rate of consumption of 1 kg/ha;
  • lontrel 30%, the rate of usage – 0.2 kg/ha;
  • dialen 40%, the rate of consumption – 1.2 kg/ha.

The treatment is carried out in the tillering stage with aqueous solutions; the working fluid consumption rate is 150-200 l/ha.

To control brown rust, powdery mildew and root rot, the crops are treated with fungicides:

  • Bayleton 25%-, the rate of consumption is 0.25 kg/ha;
  • Fundozol 50%, the rate of consumption is 0.3 kg / ha during the interphase phase of tillering – flowering.

Treatment with chlorophos, metaphos, vophatox against winter moth caterpillars and grain flies exceeding the threshold of harmfulness.

Crops are treated with insecticides against pest turtle, grain aphids, bread leeches, thrips, Swedish and Hessian flies:

  • metafos 30%, the rate of consumption is 0.2-0.4 kg a.m./ha;
  • Rotor 40%, the rate of consumption is 0.28-0.6 kg a.i./ha.

To control rodents, baits, such as zinc phosphide (consumption rate of 290-320 g/ha) or bactorodencid (consumption rate of 1-2 kg/ha) are placed.

To prevent lodging, retardants are used on:

  • winter wheat – tur 60%, the rate of application of 4 kg d.v./ha;
  • winter rye – camposan M, application rate 2 kg a.i./ha.

Treatment is carried out at the end of tillering phase – the beginning of emergence of a tube.


Grain is harvested by separate (two-phase) method or by direct harvesting (one-phase). With the separate method, the plants are mowed at a height of 15-20 cm and laid on the stubble in swaths. When the swaths dries up, the threshing is carried out. The two-phase method allows to reduce grain losses and labor costs. Separate harvesting begins in the phase of wax ripeness.

At full ripeness, prolonged rainy weather, thin and low-growing crops, intensive technology of cultivation, harvesting is carried out by direct combine. Cereals are immediately cut, picked and threshed.

Grain is cleaned during harvesting, dried to a moisture content of 13-14%. In the course of harvesting or after the field is released from the straw to prepare the ground for the following crops.

Monitoring the overwintering of crops

Monitoring of overwintering begins with an autumn survey, which is carried out after the end of vegetation until winter. It takes into account the phase and height of plants, the number of living and dead plants, bushiness, depth of tillering node, weed infestation, root system condition, damage by diseases and pests. Estimation of pre-winter condition is carried out on a five-point scale. The excellent condition of the crops is considered to be:

  • plant density of 400-500 pieces/m2;
  • number of stems – 1500-2000 pcs/m2;
  • bushiness – 5-8 stems;
  • plant height – 15-22 cm;
  • tillering node depth – at least 2-2,5 cm;
  • good development of secondary roots;
  • weed infestation is low;
  • crops are aligned. 

For good condition take: normal growth and development of crops, bushiness is not high, slight thinning. In excellent and good condition can expect good yields.

Average condition is considered to be satisfactory, with plants not sufficiently bushy, thinned or weedy in some places. Poor condition is poor plant development – less than 3 leaves, no tillering, secondary roots are not formed, crops are thin and weedy. Very bad condition is taken for severely thinned and uneven crops, plants are underdeveloped, uneven, secondary roots are absent, high weediness. Accordingly, in a bad condition, the yield of the crop will be low.

Winter monitoring is carried out at scheduled dates, such as December 25, January 25, February 25 and March 15, as well as after a strong cold snap.

It is important to monitor the condition of winter crops during the winter, especially during the transition from winter to spring.

Crops with no more than 100-120 healthy plants per 1 m2 are considered to be very sparse; crops with 130-250 plants are considered to be medium sparse, and crops with no more than 15-20% dead plants are hardly sparse. The state of winter crops is determined before spring so that it is possible to identify in advance overstretched areas or dead crops. Completely dead and severely thinned crops are reseeded in spring by other most productive crops, while medium-thinned crops are restored by undersowing with spring cereal crops.

Final assessment of winter crops condition is carried out in early spring when plants are starting to grow, when it is easy to distinguish living from dead ones.

To monitor the overwintering of cereal crops in winter, the method of monoliths, or taking samples for regrowth, is used. Samples are usually taken once a month, starting from the end of December.

Fuchsin staining method

To quickly determine the condition of plants, P.A. Vlasyuk and M.A. Gurileva suggested a method based on staining cuts of the growth cone with acidic fuchsin solution. Under the action of fuchsin, dead parts acquire red-pink color, while the intact growth cone is not stained.

Monoliths method

The method of monoliths is the most common, simple, time-consuming, labor-intensive and less reliable. For this purpose, monoliths 30x30x15 cm in size are cut in the field, placed in boxes and covered to protect them from frosts. Then covered with a damp cloth and gradually thawed at a temperature of +5 … +10 °C. After thawing, place the boxes in the light and raise the temperature to +15 … +20 °C, prune the above-ground parts of plants at a height of 5-6 cm, so you can better see the regrowth of new leaves. Count the number of live plants after 10 and 20 days. Live plants are those that have formed new leaves and nodular roots.

The method of growing on water

Growing plants on water allows to accelerate the determination of plant viability. For this purpose, samples are cut to a depth of 8-10 cm, covered with burlap and film. After thawing, the plants are separated from the soil and washed with water. The roots are cut at a distance of 3-4 cm from the tiller node, the leaves – at a height of 5-6 cm and placed in a planting bed with water, which is changed after a day. Then the plants are inserted into the holes in the covers and placed in a light place at a temperature of +15 ° C. Counting the viability is carried out after 7 days, with live plants during this time form new leaves and roots.

Accelerated method of regrowth of tiller nodes

The accelerated method of determining plant viability by intensity of tillering node growth proposed by V.M. Orlov and A.I. Vigileva in 70-80s is also used. (Don Zone Research Institute of Agriculture). The principle of the method is that stems of plants taken according to the previous methods are cut off at a distance of 1-1.5 cm from the tiller node, and the roots are completely cut off. Such plants are placed in glass containers (Petri dishes) on moistened filter paper, absorbent cotton or gauze, covered with a lid and incubated for 12-24 hours at 24-26 °C or 24 hours at 10-15 °C. Well-preserved plants in this case give a stem growth of 10 mm, weakened – 3-5 mm. After that, the density of plants per m2 is determined by counting living, weakened, and dead plants.

The method has been improved. Thirty to fifty plants with undamaged tiller nodes are selected along the diagonal of the field. If possible, sampling is carried out at air temperatures of -3 … -5 °C. At air temperatures below -14 °C, the samples should be protected from the cold. Samples are thawed at +5-6 °C, then washed from soil in cold water. Afterwards, the leaves and roots are cut off by 3-4 cm from the tillering node, and the pieces are put into glass or plastic jars of 250-500 ml volume or into polyethylene bags with wet filter paper (absorbent cotton) at the bottom. More than 50 segments are placed in the jars and covered to create a humid environment. Grow at least 3 days at +18 °C in a shady place.

Spring survey of the condition of winter crops

On the basis of spring inspection of winter crops between vegetation renewal and harrowing a decision is made for each field. Green crops with actively resumed vegetation plants are accepted as good; tiller node is white and dense, white node roots appear at regrowth. Dead plants have brown underground part, yellow-brown watery tiller node, no roots are formed. Distribution of dead plants in crops may be relatively uniform or spotty, when they have been subjected to soaking or ice crust in depressions, as well as to frost in uplands. Based on the results of the survey, a visual assessment of the crops is established:

  • 5 points – almost all plants overwintered, no thinnings or spots;
  • 4 points – overwintering is good, thinning is not more than 25%;
  • 3 points – thinning and death of plants is from 26 to 50% of plants;
  • 2 points – more than 50% of plants died out;
  • 1 point – single plants survived.

Crops with a score of 5 and 4 are retained, severely thinned crops with scores 1 and 2 are reseeded.

Fields with a score of 3, if the plants survived and well bred from autumn can form 400-500 ears per m2, the sowing is left. If the spots of dead plants make up 50% of the area, they are sown with barley in a short time. If the thinning is evenly distributed over the field, the crops are left, providing better care, or completely reseeded. Under-seeding, which is often practiced in production, does not always yield a positive result. The effectiveness of reseeding medium-spaced crops depends on weather conditions in the spring. In early spring there is no reseeding, as they will give a good crop due to good care. In late spring, with a rapid onset of heat, the tillering period is shortened and the yield will be low. In such cases, reseeding with early spring crops (barley, wheat) or late spring crops (buckwheat, millet, corn) is more appropriate.

V.D. Medinets (Poltava region, Ukraine) proposed an ecological indicator – time of spring vegetation resumption (TSVR), which characterizes the expected combination of light and heat conditions of winter crops in spring. In order to obtain a high yield of good quality, the system of winter crops care is adjusted taking into account the TSVR. Evaluation of this indicator is carried out according to awakening plants in certain light and thermal conditions.

In years with early TSVR there are favorable conditions for root system development and tillering, phytomass accumulation is intensive, but at the same time the tendency to shading and lodging increases. As a rule, it forms a good yield of low quality with low protein and gluten content in the grain.

With late TSVR the crops grow worse, form stunted, pass quickly to the earing phase, do not lodge, accumulate a small phytomass, including a reduced yield with high protein and gluten content.

Taking into account this indicator allows you to adjust the care system in time, for example, to apply growth regulators and nitrogen fertilizers. In the forest-steppe and steppe zones of the European part of Russia in the years with late TSVR the efficiency of growth regulators is low even against the background of nitrogen fertilizers. However, at early TSVR they serve as a means of increasing grain yield. In early TSVR, fertilizers are not applied very early and the nitrogen dosage is reduced.

When full mineral fertilizers are applied, phosphorus and potassium doses are increased. To improve the quality of grain tends to carry out later top dressing (in the phase of earing) with an increase in nitrogen doses. At late TSVR to stimulate growth of vegetative mass, the first and second top dressings are carried out as early as possible with increased doses of nitrogen; if this is not possible, the whole dose is applied at an early date.

Resource-saving intensive cultivation technology

Resource-saving intensive technology provides a combination of natural and man-made factors of intensification of production, provides rational use of labor, material and biological resources. It is based on:

  • application of high-yielding varieties and first-class seeds;
  • placement of crops on the best predecessors in the crop rotation;
  • ensuring normal acidity of the soil and a balanced content of nutrients;
  • fractional application of optimal doses of fertilizers, taking into account the results of soil and plant diagnostics of plant nutrition;
  • application of growth regulators;
  • use of an integrated plant protection system.

Performance of all works is carried out in optimal time with high quality. Technological methods are used, aimed at protecting the soil from erosion, creating conditions for the formation of the planned yield and reducing losses at harvesting. In contrast to the traditional intensive technology resource-saving requires a reduction of technological operations, especially by combining them, that is performed in one pass of the unit several receptions.

The use of resource-saving intensive technology for cultivation of winter crops can provide increased efficiency of grain production, reducing costs compared with the traditional intensive technology.

According to research data obtained by the Department of Agriculture and Crop Husbandry at the farm “Progress” of Belgorod region (1995-1999), as a result of using this technology, winter wheat yield was 4.6 tons/ha when placed on bare fallow on an area of 78 ha (sort Mironovskaya 61), 3.6 tons/ha for peas on an area of 50 ha (sort Albatross Odessa). Increase compared to the conventional technology was, respectively, 1.6 t/ha and 0.6 t/ha. Energy costs were 10% and 6% less, respectively.

Varieties and seeds

The varieties must be zoned, intensive type, responsive to high agronomic background, resistant to lodging. Winter wheat varieties must meet the requirements for strong, valuable and durum wheat.

Large, leveled seeds of the first class of sowing conditions are used for sowing. Prior to sowing, treating with an approved product of high efficacy is carried out.

Seed inoculation with simultaneous use of fungicides, adhesive agents and insecticides is promising.


The place of winter crops in the crop rotation should ensure the full use of natural resources, especially soil moisture and nutrients. Therefore, winter crops are placed on the best, moisture-enriched predecessors, for example, bare and seeded fallows, leguminous crops, perennial grasses, annual grasses, and other early harvested crops.

Tillage system

The system of tillage is built taking into account zonal features. It should provide soil protection from erosion, accumulation and preservation of moisture, keeping fields clean of weeds. In the zone of insufficient moisture bare fallows are tilled with non-moldboard implements. In areas of sufficient moisture on heavy soils plowing is carried out with the use of devices type ПВР.

Flat-cut cultivators and disc harrows are used for tillage after non-fallow preceding crops.

For pre-sowing cultivation shall be used such cultivators as КШП-8, КПС-4 and КШУ, combined units РВК.

Combined aggregates АКП and АКР are effective in the North Caucasus and the south of the Central Black Earth zone. Harrows or rollers are used in combination with cultivators.

Before sowing the field must be leveled, the amount of soil lumps size 1-5 cm should be at least 80% (by weight), lumps larger than 10 cm are not allowed. The deviation of the working depth from the specified one should be not more than ±1 cm.


Organic fertilizers are applied to the fallow field at a rate of 30-40 t/ha. On acidic soils under the basic treatment lime is applied, the rate of lime should provide a change in the reaction of the soil solution to near-neutral (pH over 6.5).

Rates of mineral fertilizers are determined by the content of nutrients in the soil and the needs of plants for the planned yield. Phosphate fertilizers made under the main tillage. When sowing in the rows – P20. Full dose of potash fertilizer is made under the main tillage, nitrogen – fractional in the periods of maximum nitrogen consumption. If there is a lack of nitrogen in the soil, it is applied before sowing at a rate of 20-30% of the total dose of nitrogen fertilizer.


Sowing is carried out at the optimum time for specific soil and climatic zones using С3-3,6А and СЗП-3,6А seeders at a depth of 4-5 cm. Seeding rate is determined on the basis of achieving optimum density of productive stem density.

To leave the technological track width of 1 800 mm with two unseeded strips of 450 mm on the seeder, going directly behind the tractor, turn off the 6th, 7th, 18th and 19th seeding devices. When seeding with three-sowing and one-sowing units, the inter-track space is 10.8 m. When using a four-sowing machine – 14.4 m. In the long term a complex of machines designed for 22 m inter-track space is planned.

The technological track is made across the slope when placing crops on slopes steeper than 3°. On the fields with difficult terrain the technological track is not made.

Crop care

When taking care of the crops, provide complete plant nutrition and protection against lodging, weeds, diseases and pests.

Top dressing of crops with nitrogen fertilizers in 2-3 steps, taking into account the results of soil and plant diagnostics. In areas with sufficient moisture the first fertilizer is carried out in spring during tillering, and 20% of nitrogen dosage is applied. The second one is made when the first stem node is formed, 30% nitrogen doses are added. The third – in the phase of formation and filling of grain, 30% dose. In areas with insufficient moisture first and second fertilizer combined, the rate of making should not exceed 80 kg / ha of nitrogen.

For increasing resistance to lodging, retardant treatment is carried out:

  • at the end of the tillering phase – the beginning of emergence into the tube of winter wheat is treated with the preparation tur (60%) – 3-6 l/ha;
  • at the middle of the emergence of a tube – beginning of stemming of winter rye is treated with camposan (50%) – 4 l/ha, or a mixture of 1.5-2 l camposan (50%) + 3 l a tur (60%) per 1 ha.

Herbicides are used for weed control:

  • 2,4-D amine salt (40%-), rate of consumption 1.5-2.5 kg/ha;
  • 2,4-D butyl ether (43%), the rate of consumption is 0.7-1.2 kg/ha;
  • 2M-4X 50%, consumption rate 2.5-3.2 kg/ha;
  • dialen (40%-type), the rate of consumption is 1.9-2.5 l/ha;
  • lontrel (30%), the rate of usage – 0.2-0.6 L/Ha in tillering phase.

To control powdery mildew, brown rust and root rot, the crops are treated with fungicides:

  • Baileton (25%), application rate 0.5-1 kg/ha;
  • Tilt (25%), the rate of consumption is 0.5 l/ha;
  • Fundazol (50%), the rate of usage 0.5-0.6 kg/ha during tillering – flowering.

The insecticides are treated against the pest turtle, beetles, blister beetles, cereal aphids and flies, thrips:

  • metafos (40%-), the rate of consumption is 0.5-1 L/ha;
  • vofatox (18%), the rate of use is 0.1-1.4 kg/ha.


Harvesting is done by direct harvesting or by separate method, depending on the condition of the crops and weather conditions. As a rule, the best results are achieved by a combination of the two methods.

Cleaning, drying and sorting of grain is carried out in the flow with harvesting.


V.V. Kolomeychenko. Horticulture/Textbook. – Moscow: Agrobiznesentr, 2007. – 600 с. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.

Horticulture/P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko. Vavilov. ed. by P.P. Vavilov, V.S. Kuznetsov et al. – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and Tutorials for Higher Education Institutions).

Fundamentals of agricultural production technology. Farming and plant growing. Ed. by V.S. Niklyaev. – Moscow: “Bylina”. 2000. – 555 с.