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Spring wheat



Economic importance

Spring wheat is one of the most valuable food crops. In the USSR, the gross yield of spring wheat grain in 1976-1980 was more than 41%.

Spring wheat grain grown in Siberia and southeastern Russia, as well as Kazakhstan, contains 16-18% protein, in dry years up to 20%. Durum wheat grain contains the most protein. On average hard wheat grain contains 15-18% protein, soft wheat contains 14-16%, gluten 28-40%.

Durum wheat flour is used to make semolina and pasta. Soft wheat flour is used in baking and as an improver. During Soviet times spring wheat grain was recognized in the world for its quality and technological properties.

Spring wheat bran is a concentrated feed for all types of farm animals. Straw and chaff are also used as fodder.

Planted areas and yields

Spring wheat is cultivated almost everywhere in Russia; in the north it is sown as far north as the Arctic Circle. More than half of the crops are concentrated in arid and sharply arid regions, about a quarter in areas with insufficient moisture, and less than 25% in areas with sufficient moisture. The main areas of cultivation are the Volga region, the Southern Urals, Western and Eastern Siberia. These regions account for up to 80% of the gross grain harvest. The introduction of new varieties and intensive technologies allowed to increase its sown areas in the Non-Black Soil zone. Of the countries of the former Soviet Union – Kazakhstan – sown area under this crop in the Soviet period amounted to 16 million hectares.

Because of insufficient moisture the average yields are relatively low, but the grain contains a lot of protein and gluten. Cultivation in the Non-Black Soil zone yields are higher, but quality and gluten content are often lower.

In regions where winter wheat has an advantage in terms of yield and cultivation conditions, such as the North Caucasus, spring wheat is used as a backup crop in case of reseeding in case of poor overwintering.

During the Soviet period, the sown area has grown dramatically: in 1913 spring wheat covered 24.7 million hectares, while in 1982 it was over 41 million hectares. 

The average yield in the 1990s in Russia was 1.2 t/ha. The maximum yield in the state harvesting areas of the Non-Black Soil zone and the Volga region was up to 4-5 t/ha.

In 2001-2005 spring wheat in Russia covered about 15 mln ha, or 33% of the total area of cereal crops and 46% of Group I spring cereal crops. The gross harvest during this period was 21 million tons, or 27% of the total grain harvest. The average yield was 1.5 t/ha, which is 1.2 t/ha less than winter wheat. This is due to less favorable soil and climatic conditions of the main areas of cultivation, where the annual rainfall is often 250-400 mm, there are droughts and high summer temperatures, as well as a low level of agricultural technology. High farming techniques and intensive cultivation technologies can provide spring wheat yields of up to 2-4 t/ha depending on moisture availability.

There are two types of spring wheat crops: soft and durum. Soft wheat is cultivated everywhere, its share in crops prevails. Durum in some years occupies 10-15% of the total area of spring wheat crops. It is cultivated in the steppe regions, in the south and middle part of the Urals, in the Orenburg region, the Volga region, the Trans-Urals, Western Siberia, the Rostov region, the steppe regions of Kuban, the Central Black Earth zone, as well as the eastern regions of Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

The USSR was in first place in the world in terms of the area of durum wheat crops. Yields of durum wheat sown on bare fallow were sometimes higher than those of soft wheat. For example, at the state farm “Michurinsky” of Kokchetav region (now part of the Akmola region of Kazakhstan) durum wheat yielded an average of 2.0 tons/ha of grain, soft wheat -1.3 tons/ha. In the state farm “Communism” of the same oblast the yield of hard wheat was 1.8 t/ha, soft wheat 1.5 t/ha.

Compared with soft wheat, durum wheat is more resistant to shattering, less affected by Hessian fly, less affected by rust and dust bunt, more resistant to lodging, uses irrigation water better, and therefore is a valuable crop for irrigated agriculture. Due to its somewhat later maturity than soft wheat, it allows for a more even distribution of the intensity of field work.

Durum wheat is considered a more demanding crop compared with the soft wheat, so high yields give a sunny good weather. It is cultivated mainly in the Volga region and Western Siberia.

The maximum yield of spring wheat reached in the advanced farms of the USSR: in the collective farm “Russia” of the Tatar ASSR in 1982. – 4.73 t/ha, at the Nazarovsky state farm in Krasnoyarsk Territory – 3.40 t/ha. The average yield for 1976-1980. – 1.22 t/ha, in 1982 over 1.4 t/ha.

Biological features

Two types of spring wheat are mainly cultivated in Russia: soft (Triticum aestivum L.) and durum (Triticum durum Desf.). Soft wheat accounts for about 90% of all sown areas due to its greater plasticity and better adaptability to the soil and climatic conditions.

The plant height is up to 90-110 cm; it has a poorly developed root system, especially in durum wheat, productive tillering is 1.1-1.8. The weight of 1000 grains of soft wheat is 30-40 g, of hard wheat 40-55 g. It is a long-daylight plant, cold-resistant. 

It is a self-pollinating crop. Vegetation period is 70-115 days. As we move north, the ripening period comes more quickly. In contrast to winter crops, it develops more slowly and is more oppressed by weeds.

An important stage in plant development is the formation of nodular roots, which are important in forming high yields, since germinated roots cannot provide plants with enough moisture and nutrients. The formation of nodular roots is influenced by the sufficiency of moisture at the depth of the tiller node, the amount of nutrients available in the form, the depth of sowing, the optimum sowing time, and the quality of the seeds. In the main areas of cultivation, droughts in early spring dry out the topsoil, which can cause poor development of not only nodular roots, but also germ roots.

Temperature requirements

Spring wheat seeds germinate at +1…+2 °C, and viable seedlings – at +4…+5 °C. However, germination and emergence of seedlings at these temperatures are very slow. At soil temperatures at seed-embedding depths of 5 °C, shoots appear on the 20th day, at 8°C – on the 13th, at 10°C – on the 9th, at 15°C – on the 7th day. The sum of active temperatures during the sowing-sprouting period is 100-130 °C. Sprouts survive short frosts as low as -10 °C. Spring wheat is most resistant to negative temperatures in the early phases. During seed germination, it withstands frosts as low as -6…-13 °C, and during tillering phase, down to -8…-9 °C. During flowering and grain ripening it may be damaged by frosts of -1…-2 °C.

Widening of tillering is better at 10…12 °C. Reduced soil temperature during this period promotes the formation and development of knot roots, thereby increasing yields. The optimum temperature during earing and milky stages of grain formation is 16-23 °C.

The sum of active temperatures during the period from sprouting to earing is 800-900 °С, and from earing to ripening it is 650-700 °С.

Negative temperatures during the ripening period can damage the grain. Frost-killed grain has poor technological and sowing qualities.

Soft wheat varieties are more resistant to spring frosts than hard wheat. Soft wheat tolerates spring frosts as low as -5…-8 °С during tillering stage, while durum wheat is damaged at +1 to -2 °С.

Spring wheat hardly tolerates high temperatures, paralysis of stomata occurs after 10-17 hours at 38…40 °C. Dry winds during hot weather increase the negative effect of high temperatures.

Soft and hard wheat varieties zoned in Central Asia and Southeast Russia are the most tolerant to high temperatures. Of the early spring cereal crops, wheat is the most resistant to elevated temperatures if sufficient moisture is provided.

Moisture requirements

Soft wheat seeds need 50-60% water of dry grain weight for germination; durum wheat seeds need 55-67% water, since they contain more protein. Transpiration coefficient of soft wheat is about 415, while that of durum wheat is 406.

Spring wheat is the most moisture-demanding crop of spring cereal crops of group I.

According to the Department of Plant Industry of Altai Agricultural Institute, the root system of durum wheat by the end of earing phase and beginning of grain ripening is about 80% of roots of soft wheat. The roots of durum wheat are slightly deeper in the soil, but inferior in total length and mass. Hard wheat is inferior to soft wheat in the initial period of development in terms of the working absorbing surface of the root system, while in the second period it is superior by 0.18 m2/g. These differences cause less sensitivity of durum wheat to soil and air drought, especially during the period of grain formation and ripening. Under irrigated conditions, durum spring wheat gives higher yields than soft wheat.

Water consumption during different stages of wheat’s development is distributed as follows: germination period – 5-7% of total water consumption during the whole vegetation period, tillering period – 15-20%, plants forming tube and earing period – 50-60%, milk ripeness period – 20-30%, wax ripeness period – 3-5%. From sprouting to milk ripeness – 70-80%.

With water reserves in the metre layer in spring less than 100 mm (l/m2), there is a water deficit, with a reserve of less than 60 mm there is a sharp decrease in yields.

The critical period of water absorption falls on phases of tillering – emergence of a tube. Lack of moisture in the soil during this period leads to an increase in the number of barren spikelets, which is often noted in the north of Kazakhstan, Western and Eastern Siberia. Subsequent precipitation, including abundant precipitation, cannot make up for the lack of moisture during this period. Under these conditions, wheat quickly transitions from one phase of development to another, and yields fall sharply. In the European part of Russia, with early sowing dates, the critical period takes place under somewhat more favorable conditions. In the regions of Northern Kazakhstan, on the contrary, the best conditions for growth and development are created at later sowing dates.

The optimum soil moisture for plants is 70-75% of the lowest moisture capacity.

Soil requirements

Spring wheat is demanding for the availability of nutrients in the soil in an accessible form, which is explained by the short vegetation period and the reduced assimilating ability of the root system.

Durum wheat is the most demanding to fertility, clean crops, and soil structure; it does well in chernozem and chestnut soils. All types of chernozems, chestnut, medium and weak-podzolic soils are favorable for soft wheat. Sod-podzolic and gray forest soils should be limed and organic and mineral fertilizers should be applied. Heavy clay and light sandy soils are not suitable for cultivation.

Wheat is depressed by high soil acidity. A mildly acid or neutral (pH 6,0-7,5) reaction is optimal.

In the first period of life, the roots of soft wheat predominantly spread wide, while in durum wheat they penetrate deep into the soil. The depth of root penetration is influenced by soil type. The mass of roots in wax ripeness in sod-podzolic soil at a depth of 20 cm is 68% of the total mass of the roots, in dark chestnut soil 52%, in southern chernozem 40%. Under moisture deficit, root growth in depth in the lower layers is suspended.

The peculiarity of spring wheat is irregular and sparse sprouts, the reason is in the southern and southeastern areas – insufficient moisture of the top soil layer, in the northern areas – increased soil acidity and seed damage by Fusarium.


Growth phases:

  • sprouting;
  • tillering;
  • emergence into the tube (tubing);
  • earing;
  • flowering;
  • milk ripeness;
  • waxing ripeness;
  • full ripeness.

The period from seedlings to tillering is 15-22 days. During tillering, the primary roots penetrate down to 50 cm deep; during ear emergence, they reach 130 cm deep. Nodular roots begin to appear at the phase of the 3rd-4th leaf, and their growth is possible only when there is enough moisture.

The secondary root system makes good use of moisture from summer precipitation, but the formation of these roots is short, from the formation of the tillering node to the emergence into a tube.

The duration of tillering is 11-26 days, depending on soil and climate conditions.

Spikelet formation begins at the beginning of tillering (in the phase of the 3rd leaf). The number of spikelets depends on moisture supply, nitrogen and phosphorus nutrition conditions.

Crop rotation

Spring wheat, primarily hard and strong soft wheat, has higher requirements for preceding crops. Soils with a fine crumbly structure, rich in nutrients, sufficiently moistened and clean of weeds are optimal for it.

In Western Siberia, the Urals, Trans-Urals and Northern Kazakhstan spring wheat predecessors can be: perennial grasses and one year after them, corn, sunflower, potatoes, leguminous crops. In the steppe arid areas the best place of crop rotation is considered to be bare fallow. According to the Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture, the average yield of spring wheat after bare fallow for 18 years was 1.81 t/ha, after autumn plowing after cereals 1.24 t/ha.

In Kazakhstan large areas of spring wheat are sown in the zone of arid and dry steppes where the average annual rainfall is not more than 300-350 mm. Measures to accumulate and preserve moisture in the soil come first here. For this purpose, bare and strip fallows are used, the use of which in acutely arid conditions makes it possible to obtain high sustainable yields. According to long-term observations of experimental institutions of Northern Kazakhstan, bare fallows have a great impact on the productivity of spring wheat, especially in years of drought.

Table. Effect of bare fallow on the yield of spring wheat (Kazakhstan)

Experienced institution
Number of years experience
Average yield (100 kg/ha) when sowing after the predecessor
bare fallow
wheat after fallow
wheat two years in a row
All-Union Research Institute of Grain Farming
North Kazakhstan State Regional Agricultural Experimental Station
Tselinograd Machine Testing Station
Karaganda State Regional Agricultural Experimental Station
Karabalyk Agricultural Experimental Station

Yield of spring wheat after bare fallow in Moskalensky district of Omsk region for 8 years averaged 2.05 t/ha, after corn – 1.38 t/ha, after cereals – 1.17 t/ha.

Studies of the All-Union Research Institute of Grain Farming and other experimental stations of northern Kazakhstan show that in the eastern steppe regions with arid climate the highest yield of grain is obtained in grain-fallow crop rotations with a short rotation when placing crops of spring wheat on bare fallow and the second crop after it.

In the Volga region, based on many years of experience of scientific institutions and the practice of advanced farms, the best predecessors of spring wheat are row crops and winter crops. In the most arid regions, bare fallow is more important.

In the North Caucasus, Central Black Earth zone and the south of Ukraine, winter, row crops (corn, sunflower, potatoes) and leguminous crops can be predecessors. At the Orlov Agricultural Experimental Station spring wheat after winter rye gave an average of 3 years 1.7 t/ha grain, after potatoes – 2.0 t/ha, after peas – 1.8 t/ha, after sugar beets – 1.8 t/ha.

The value of leguminous crops as predecessors of spring wheat also lies in the fact that after them the plants are less affected by fusarium. In the southern and southeastern regions, it succeeds well after cucurbits (watermelon, melon) following fallow land.

In the Non-Black Soil zone spring wheat is placed after potatoes, under which manure was introduced, after long-fiber flax and winter crops. At the Kazan Agricultural Experimental Station in 4 years the yield of spring wheat after potatoes was 2.0 t/ha, after peas – 2.3 t/ha.

Fertilizer system

Spring wheat is responsive to fertilizer application. To form 1 ton of grain and the corresponding amount of straw, it uses 35-45 kg of nitrogen, 8-12 kg of phosphorus, and 17-34 kg of potassium.

In the initial phases of development, it responds little to increased doses of nitrogen. In the phases of tillering and emergence into the tube, when additional stems, roots, ears and flowers are formed, nitrogen consumption increases sharply. During the formation and ripening of grain – somewhat reduced.

The greatest need for phosphorus is noted in the period from the beginning of tillering to the emergence of a tube. Phosphorus nutrition affects the development of root system and spikelets, less influence on the development of stems and leaves.

Potassium is important during ear emergence and grain filling. It promotes the movement of carbohydrates from stems and leaves to grain, reduces the lesion of rust and root rot, the grain is larger and more fulfilled, it affects the strength of the straw.

When sown on fertilized plots spring wheat better develops the root system, sparingly consumes moisture and as a result better resists drought. On gray forest and podzolic soils of great importance are mineral and organic fertilizers. The application of manure and peat compost gives an increase in yield, for example, in Western Siberia – up to 35-40%, in the Non-Black Earth zone – more than 50%.

According to the All-Union Research Institute of Grain Farming, soils of steppe regions of Kazakhstan and Western Siberia when fallow can accumulate excessive amounts of nitrogen, while phosphorus may be lacking. Therefore, the application of phosphorus fertilizers helps to improve the nitrogen-phosphorus nutrition of spring wheat.

In the experiments of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Grain Farming phosphate fertilizers in a dose of P60, embedded in a fallow, on average for 13 years, increased grain yield by 0.33 t/ha. Total gain in the year of application and during 2-3 years after action was 0.6-1.1 t/ha, or 13-18 kg of grain per 1 kg P2O5.

To determine the norms of fertilizer application we use calculated methods for the planned yields, taking into account the removal of nutrients, the content of nutrients in the soil and the coefficient of utilization. When calculating rates also take into account the characteristics of the variety. Rates of nitrogen are calculated taking into account spring soil and plant diagnostics.

The effectiveness of nitrogen fertilizers depends on moisture. For example, in the steppe of Western Siberia with reserves of productive spring moisture less than 500 t/ha application of nitrogen fertilizers under preplant treatment is not recommended because of the excess nitrogen at the beginning of the growing season promotes rapid growth of vegetative mass and excessive water consumption for transpiration.

In general, the approximate rates of mineral fertilizers for spring wheat are as follows: N30-45, P40-60, K30-40.

On fertilized fields, spring wheat forms a more powerful root system, so it spends moisture more economically and more easily tolerates drought.

When fertilizing fallow fields, it is necessary to take into account that the nitrogen content is often sufficient, in the steppe zone there is a lack of phosphorus.

Microfertilizers are used: on sod-podzolic and gray forests – boric, magnesium, copper and molybdenum fertilizers; on chernozems – manganese.

Basic fertilizer

Manure, peat or local organic fertilizers are used as the basic fertilizer. Manure application rates for chernozem soils are 15-20 t/ha, for gray forest and sod-podzolic soils – 20-30 t/ha.

Of mineral fertilizers – phosphorus and potash, which are brought in autumn under the main tillage. Nitrogen fertilizers are applied in spring under cultivation or in the rows at sowing, in the arid zone – complete fertilization.

Row fertilizer

Row fertilizer is applied in addition to the basic fertilizer during sowing. Two-layer (basic fertilizer and row fertilizer) placement allows to provide wheat with nutrients for the whole period of vegetation.

The greatest effect of row fertilization gives granulated superphosphate at a rate of P10-20. With sufficient moisture after cereals or row crops instead of superphosphate you can use complex fertilizers, such as nitrophoska, ammophos, diammophos. In experiments of the All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Soil Science, the addition of row fertilizer superphosphate was on sod-podzolic loamy sand soil and light loam – 0.23 t/ha, on heavy loam – 0.24 t/ha, on gray forest – 0.16 t/ha, on leached chernozem – 0.15 t/ha. Grain increase per 1 kg P2O5 at row application was 20.2 kg, scattered – 6.9 kg.

Fertilizing (top dressing)

Fertilizing (top dressing) is used as a supplement to the basic fertilizer in areas with sufficient moisture, as well as if no or incomplete fertilizers were applied before sowing. Fertilizing is best done during the tillering period with nitrogen fertilizers.

According to the All-Russian Institute of Fertilizers and Soil Science, nitrogen fertilizer at a rate of 15 kg/ha in the tillering phase gave an increase in the conditions of the North-West zone on average over 3 years 0.21 t/ha (yield control – 2.81 t/ha). In the experiments of the Research Institute of Agriculture of the Central regions of the Non-Black Soil zone nitrogen fertilizers in the rate of 30-45 kg/ha at the beginning of tillering phase increased yield by 2.3 t/ha or 14%.

Nitrogen fertilizer feedings in phases of tillering and flowering improve grain quality. They are carried out taking into account the data of the leaf diagnostics of plant nutrition. Fertilizing can be combined with retardant and herbicide treatments.

Tillage system

The main task of tillage for spring wheat in the main areas of cultivation is the accumulation and preservation of moisture from autumn and winter precipitation and weed control.

In the European part of Russia, soil preparation consists of autumn stubble discing followed by plowing with skimmers and pre-sowing cultivation. With the spread of annual and biennial weeds stubble stubble is carried out by disk-tillers to a depth of 6-8 cm, followed by ridging plowing to a depth of 20-22 cm after weeds regrowth. The spread of perennial root-shoot weeds are two treatments: the first – disk-tillers at a depth of 6-8 cm immediately after harvesting forecrop; the second – after the emergence of rosette disk-tillers (whit spheric tools) 12-14 cm harrowing. The autumn plowing is carried out after the re-growth of weeds to a depth of 25-27 cm. After row crops (potatoes, corn, sugar beets, sunflowers) is carried out discing in two transverse directions with subsequent plowing of plows with skimmers. With the development of water erosion treatment is carried out across the slope to reduce water runoff may be encircling, for which one body of plow extended moldboard on 25-30 cm.

In the south and south-east of Russia during sowing spring wheat after cereals and legumes stubble discing with disc-tillers, for example ЛДГ-10, ЛДГ-15, and early deep autumn plowing with ploughs with skimmers (ПЛН-6-35, ПЛН-5-35) are used. In wet weather, flaking reduces the weediness of crops. In dry years, the seeds of weeds in the field after disking poorly germinate due to lack of moisture, so the effectiveness of the technique decreases dramatically.

In the spring after the autumn plowing in most areas the soil is not harrowed, leaving it in a ridged condition. However, in the arid steppe regions, where there is little autumn rainfall and snow in winter, the ridges are strongly dried under the influence of temperature differences at night and during the day at the end of autumn. In addition, strong winds blow the top dried soil layer from the fields. Therefore, in such areas, early deep plowing with ploughs with skimmers and simultaneous leveling of the soil surface is carried out. Such autumn tillage allows to accumulate more moisture in the summer and autumn period and to save it better.

In winter, snow retention is carried out by snowplows СВУ-2,6 or УВС-9. In spring to close the moisture perform harrowing БЗТС-1 or БЗСС-1. Perform pre-sowing cultivation to the depth of seeding cultivators КПС-4 or a combined unit РВК-3,6.

In the forest-steppe zone the mouldboard tillage is mainly applied to a depth of 20-22 cm, at the risk of erosion – non-moldboard.

Table. Effect of mouldboard and non-moldboard tillage on spring wheat yields

Experienced institution
Number of years of experience
Average yield (100 kg/ha) at sowing:
at autumn plowing with mouldboard plows
at autumn tillage with non-moldboard tools
All-Union Research Institute of Grain Farming
Tselinograd Agricultural Experimental Station
Semipalatinsk State Regional Agricultural Experimental Station
Kustanai Regional State Agricultural Experimental Station
Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture
Ural Agricultural Experimental Station

In the Trans-Urals, adjacent areas of Western Siberia and Northern Kazakhstan, conventional autumn tillage is not effective. Annual moldboard tillage with plows spreads the soil, which is prone to wind erosion. In winter, strong winds blow snow off the arable land, and on light soils sprayed particles are also blown out along with the snow. In these conditions, the anti-erosion system of non-moldboard tillage with flat-cut implements with stubble left on the surface (flat-cut tillage) is used. Such tillage allows to decrease negative influence of wind erosion and increases yield rates by 0,2-0,3 t/ha in comparison with mouldboard tillage.

The depth of flat-cut tillage depends on soil type and varies from 12 to 27 cm. Fallow fields on light soils are cultivated to a depth of 12-14 cm.

After non-fallow crops in the steppe zone is carried out flat-cut tillage at a depth of 10-14 cm in dry years it is replaced by treatment with needle harrows.

According to long-term observations of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Grain Farming, the moisture content in the meter layer of soil before sowing during autumn mouldboard ploughing was 73 mm, during non-moldboard – 93 mm.

In steppe areas of Western Siberia and Northern Kazakhstan fallow fields are usually cultivated in early spring by flat-cut cultivators type КПП-2,2 which cut weeds, loosen soil to a depth of 8-10 cm, while keeping 85-90% of stubble on the surface of the field. After 18-20 days the second processing to a depth of 10-14 cm during the summer treatment performs 3-4 times. In summer, for fallow cultivation also use a rod cultivator КШ-3,6, designed for the processing at a depth of 5-10 cm. In the fields, littered with couch grass, in the summer period fallows are cultivated by heavy cultivators КПЭ-3, 8 at a depth of 16 cm. In late August, the soil is loosened up to the depth of 25-27 cm with a flat-cut-deep-loosener КПГ-250. The last tillage destroys perennial root-shoot weeds and improves soil water permeability. To close the moisture in the fields with remaining stubble, harrowing with needle harrow БИГ-3A is carried out. Sowing, cutting weeds and rolling the soil are carried out simultaneously with the use of СЗС-2.1 or СЗС-9 stubble seeders.

If Avena fatua is highly infested, in the fall the treatment with a needle harrow for seed embedding is carried out. In spring as it grows perform flat-cutting to a depth of 8-10 cm or, in the absence of perennial species, cultivate with needle harrows.

Fields littered with couch grass are plowed in autumn to the depth of rhizome location; mechanical and chemical treatment is used in spring and summer.

Non-moldboard tillage is effective on clean fields. On heavily infested fields, it is combined with plowing, especially in wet years.

In the Non-Black Soil zone, deepening of the arable layer is an effective method of increasing the yield of spring wheat. According to long-term data of the Mendeleev experimental field (Perm region), deepening of the arable layer from 16 to 22 cm after flax resulted in yield increase by 0,41 t/ha on the average.

Pre-sowing treatment should also ensure maximum preservation of moisture accumulated during the winter period, destruction of weeds and qualitative preparation of the field for sowing. To do this, the soil is harrowed and cultivated in early spring after the autumn tillage. Under dry steppe conditions, the loss of 10 mm of moisture leads to a decrease in wheat yield by 0.1 t/ha. Harrowing begins when the tops of the ridges dry out, and then immediately conduct pre-sowing cultivation across the direction of the plowing to the depth of sowing seeds.

At the Research Institute of Agriculture in the Central regions of the Non-Black Soil zone, repeated spring plowing at a depth of 15-16 cm resulted in the yield of spring wheat 1.72 t/ha, spring cultivation at a depth of 7 cm – 1.69 and/ha, while ripping with a chisel-cultivator at 18 cm – 1.96 and/ha. Under production conditions, there is often an even greater effect of replacing repeated spring plowing with deep loosening.

On light soils are limited to one harrowing. After deep pre-sowing cultivation a good result is given by rolling with a heavy roller to create favorable conditions for seed germination, uniform appearance of seedlings, tillering and yield. According to the data of the Department of Crop Production of the Moscow Agricultural Academy, an increase in the yield of spring wheat from pre-sowing rolling with a ring roller amounted to 0.21 t/ha.

When preparing the soil for better leveling of the soil surface, it is effective to use ploughs and draggers (separately or in a unit with harrows). 

With strong compaction of heavy podzolic and saline soils during the winter period loosening to a depth of 10-12 cm by flat-cutters (instead of repeated plowing by plows) with simultaneous harrowing. The clean and loose cultivated fields are limited to harrowing instead of pre-sowing cultivation in order to avoid additional soil drying and to accelerate sowing dates.

Non-moldboard tillage for early spring cultivation can be used needle harrows, disc-tillers. On ploughed fallow lands – tooth harrows. In warm spring for better suppression of emerging weeds it is possible to carry out two tillage. Cultivators are used for pre-sowing treatment, and disc-tillers in combination with harrows are used for oat weed infestation. On clean fields it is possible to carry out sowing immediately by stubble seeders.

Moisture accumulation

To obtain high and stable yields of spring wheat, methods of snow retention are of great importance, which has been proved by numerous experiments and practice of farms. Costs of labor and funds for these methods pay off by an increase in yield.

In experiments of the Research Institute of the South-East, on average over 20 years, the yield of spring wheat with the application of snow-retention techniques was 0.38 t / ha higher than on the plots without snow-retention. At the West-Kazakhstan agricultural experimental station, according to long-term data, the yield increase was 0.45-0.50 t/ha. 

According to the Volgograd Agricultural Experimental Station, snow retention also contributes to the effective use of fertilizers. The average 3-year yield without snow-retarding and fertilizers was 0.79 t/ha, with mineral fertilizers up to 1.24 t/ha.

In the steppe regions of Western Siberia and Northern Kazakhstan, strip crops are used as a method of snow retention. For example, in the five-year experiments of the Slavgorod experimental station (Altai Territory), the snow cover thickness grew from 10 to 47 cm on the fields with strips of tall crops, and the yield increased by 0.63 t/ha.

To retain snow on fallow fields in the summer sow high-stemmed crops, such as sunflower or mustard, by 2-3 rows every 10-12 m.

In the steppe zone, mustard sown in the first decade of July is more suitable for strips. Seeding rate is 0.5 kg/ha so that 1 linear meter had 20-30 plants. Sunflower with 70 cm row-spacing is more suitable for the forest-steppe zone. It is sown in the first half of June with 20-24 m spacing.

In the fields occupied by corn or sunflowers, at harvesting leave 2-3 rows of uncut stalks every 15-18 m. When harvesting cereal crops leave strips with higher stubble. In areas with large snow cover, snow retention is carried out by tractor snowplows. Snow shafts are cut across the direction of the prevailing winds when the height of snow cover is more than 12-15 cm with a distance of 4-5 m between them. After passage of the snowplow, the thickness of snow between the shafts must not be less than 5 cm. Blackening snow rollers with soil is not recommended.

Well-executed snow retention contributes to deeper (up to 1 m) soil soaking.

Meltwater retention is also used to accumulate moisture, which protects the top fertile layer of soil from being washed away. For this purpose, deep ridged autumn plowing across the slopes, cutting of earthen ridges, wells, and constructing dams or dams in the places of water runoff with their diversion to the fields are used.


Seed preparation

Full-weight, mature and healthy seeds are used as seed to produce uniform germination and ensure high yields. The germination and germination energy of seeds that have not completed post-harvest maturation can be improved by heating in the sun for 5 days or in grain dryers.

Weight of 1,000 seeds for soft wheat is 35-40 grams, for durum more than 40 grams. Growth power must be at least 80% for soft wheat and at least 70% for durum. On large agricultural enterprises it is advisable to use 2-3 released varieties with different duration of vegetation. The recommended ratio of medium-maturing and medium-late varieties for the dry steppe – 1:1,5; for moderately arid steppe – 1,5:1; for forest-steppe – 2:1.

According to the experiments of the Research Institute of Agriculture North-East, air-heat treatment for an average of 3 years increased yields by 0.26 t/ha. The Ural Research Institute of Agriculture proposed to heat dry seeds in grain dryers at a heat carrier temperature of 60 °C and seeds 45 °C for 3 hours. The germination energy in this case increased by 5-30%, laboratory and field germination – by 5-10%, the yield – by 0.3-0.4 t/ha.

Seeds before sowing against smut and dust bunt are treated similarly to winter wheat seeds.

For seed dressing against diseases are used:

  • dusty smut – Divide (30 g/l diphenoconazole), Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg tyram), Ferazim (500 g/kg carbendazim), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg thiram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raksil (500 g/kg thiram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Agat-25K (50-80 billion titer before inactivation);
  • hard smut – Divide (30 g/l diphenoconazole), Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg tyram), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg tyram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/l tyram + 15 g/l tebuconazole), Vincit Forte (37,5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 bln before inactivation);
  • dwarf bunt – Divide (30 g/l diphenoconazole);
  • Helminthosporia root rot – Divide (30 g/l diphenoconazole), Divide Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg tyram), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg tyram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg tyram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/kg tyram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Premis Two hundred (200 g/kg triticonazole), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/kg flutriaphol + 25 g/kg thiabevdazole + 15 g/kg flutriaphol), Phytosporin-M (Bacllus subtilis strain 26D, titer not less than 2 billion live cells and spores/g), Vermiculen (Bacllus subtilis strain Ch13, titer not less than 5 billion spores/g), Pseudobacterin-2 (titer 50 billion), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 billion before inactivation);
  • Fusarium root rot – Dividend (30 g/l diphenoconazole), Dividend Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg thiram), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg thiram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/l thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/kg tyram + 15 g/kg tebuconazole), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/kg flutriafol + 25 g/kg thiabevdazole + 15 g/kg flutriafol), Phytosporin-M (Bacllus subtilis strain 26D, titer not less than 2 billion live cells and spores/g), Vermiculen (Bacllus subtilis strain Ch13, titer not less than 5 billion spores/g), Pseudobacterin-2 (titer 50 billion), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 billion before inactivation);
  • Root rots – Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Raxil (500 g/l tyram + 15 g/l tebuconazole);
  • Cercosporellosis – Colfugo Super (200 g/l carbendazim), Ferazim (500 g/l carbendazim), Pseudobacterin-2 (titer 50 bln);
  • cercosporrellosis root neck rot – Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole);
  • septoriosis – Dividend (30 g/l diphenoconazole), Dividend Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Ruxil (500 g/l tyram + 15 g/l tebuconazole), Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole);
  • seed mold – Dividend (30 g/l diphenoconazole), Dividend Star (30 g/l diphenoconazole + 6.3 g/l ciproconazole), Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Vitavax (375 g/kg carboxin + 375 g/kg tyram), Fenoram Super (470 g/kg carboxin + 230 g/kg tyram), Vitaros (198 g/kg carboxin + 198 g/kg thiram), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Raxil (500 g/l tiram + 15 g/l tebuconazole), Premis Two hundred (200 g/l triticonazole), Phytosporin-M (Bacllus subtilis strain 26D, titer at least 2 billion live cells and spores/g);
  • powdery mildew – Colfugo Duplet (200 g/l carbendazim + 170 g/l carboxin), Baytan Universal (150 g/kg triadimenol + 25 g/kg imazalil + 20 g/kg fuberidazole), Vincit Forte (37.5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol), Phytosporin-M (Bacllus subtilis strain 26D, titer at least 2 billion live cells and spores/g);
  • snow mold – Raxil (500 g/l tyram + 15 g/l tebuconazole), Vincit Forte (37,5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabevdazole + 15 g/l flutriafol), Agat-25K (titer 50-80 billion before inactivation);
  • rust – Vincit Forte (37,5 g/l flutriafol + 25 g/l thiabedazole + 15 g/l flutriafol).

Timing of sowing

Spring wheat is the crop with the earliest sowing date. Late sowing in most areas leads to lower yields.

Table. Effect of sowing dates on spring wheat yields

Experimental Station
Yield (100 kg/ha) at sowing
in I term
in II term
in III term
Tulskaya (Tula region)
Gorkovskaya (Nizhny Novgorod region)
Ural Research Institute of Agriculture (Sverdlovsk region)
Solikamskaya (Perm region)
Kushinskaya (Novosibirsk region)
Krasnoyarskaya (Krasnoyarsk region)
All-Union Research Institute of Grain Farming (Akmola Oblast, Kazakhstan)

Early sowing in the Non-Black Soil zone and in the north of the Central-Black Soil zone of Russia reduces Fusarium and rust infestation, is less affected by Hessian and Swedish flies, and suffers less from frosts in the fall. For wheat seeds, fusariosis is most dangerous at soil temperatures near 26 °C; the disease incidence is much lower at 7-10 °C. Fusarium blight is more frequent in the same period. Mass flight of Swedish and Hessian flies begins with the onset of stable warm weather. In central regions and in the South and Southeast, early sowing has time to form a powerful and deeply penetrating root system providing plants with moisture of lower layers before the onset of drought.

A 5-day delay in sowing leads to a 10-15% decrease in field germination, and a 10-day delay in sowing leads to a 20% decrease.

In Siberia, Trans-Urals and in the north of Kazakhstan the sowing dates are different. In areas of taiga, subtaiga and northern forest-steppe, wheat is sown in early and short periods.

In the southern forest-steppe and steppe when determining the timing of sowing, climatic features are taken into account. Snow cover in these zones is less thick than in the northern areas, comes down from the fields early. The soil thaws slowly, and the top layer is strongly dried under the influence of constant strong winds. About one month elapses after the snow falls from the fields before the optimum sowing date arrives. Long cold spells and spring frosts often return. Stable warming of the soil at the sowing depth occurs at the beginning of May and in some years – at the end of April. The peculiarity of these areas is a dry spring and early summer, and a wetter second half of summer.

Long research by scientific institutions and production experience show that throughout the European part of Russia (and the former USSR), high and stable yields are obtained with early sowing dates, when the soil at the sowing depth warms up to +5…+6 °C.

However, in the forest-steppe and steppe zone of Western Siberia and northern Kazakhstan advantage remains for medium sowing dates, which fall on May 10-25. At the same time, late-ripening varieties give the best results at relatively early sowing dates, while early-ripening varieties give the best results at later sowing dates. Such sowing dates bring wheat earing closer to the July rains. Late-ripening varieties are less affected by spring drought due to their slower development in the early phases. They are sown earlier so that the grain matures before the fall frosts set in. In years with a wet spring, early sowing early maturing and late maturing varieties produce higher yields, especially during cold summers and early autumn frosts.

In Central Asia, rainfed crops generally do better in the autumn sowing season.

Sowing methods

Optimal methods of sowing spring wheat – narrow-row and cross-row, which give the greatest resistance to lodging, homogeneity of stem, simultaneous maturation and formation of a greater number of productive ears in contrast to the continuous row sowing.

Seeding rate for narrow-row and cross-row methods increases by 10-12% to increase the total number of plants per hectare. In this case, growth and development proceed normally, the plants do not constrain each other, developing the highest productivity. According to experimental institutions of different zones of Russia, the yield at narrow-row and cross-row method of sowing by 0.2-0.3 t/ha higher than with conventional row crops.

When sowing, it is possible to leave technological tracks.

Seeding rates

Spring wheat is weakly bushy, so it responds well to increased seeding rates. The norms depend on the conditions of the zone: in arid areas it is lower than in humid areas. For the usual row method, the approximate seeding rates of spring wheat in different natural zones (at 100% seed suitability):

  • Non-Black Earth zone – 5.5-7.5 million/ha of germinated seeds;
  • Central Black Earth zone – 5.0-5.5 mln germinating seeds per hectare;
  • Forest-steppe areas of the Central Black Earth zone – 6.0-6.5 mln/ha of germinating seeds or 180-210 kg/ha;
  • Steppe regions of the South – 4.0-5.0 mln/ha of germinated seeds or 130-160 kg/ha;
  • Southeast – 3.5-5.0 million/ha of germinated seeds or 120-160 kg/ha;
  • Forest-steppe part of Western Siberia – 4.0-6.0 mln/ha of germinated seeds;
  • Eastern Siberia – 4.5-5.0 mln/ha of germinated seeds;
  • Far East – 6.0-6.5 mln/ha of germinated seeds or 180-200 kg/ha.

The seeding rate is increased on weedy and infertile fields.

Sowing depth

The sowing depth of spring wheat seeds depends on soil and climatic conditions. With sufficient moisture in heavy, easily swampy soils of the Non-Black Soil zone, deep sowing is undesirable, since not all sprouts can break through to the surface, the sprouts are thinned out, and are more damaged by pests. On heavy and medium soils of the Non-Black Soil zone, seeds are sown to a depth of 3-4 cm. In the Central Black Earth zone and northern areas of Siberia – 3-6 cm in arid areas of Siberia, Southeast, North Caucasus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – 5-8 cm.

In conditions of cool, wet spring and good pre-sowing treatment, the embedding depth is reduced for rapid germination and uniform sprouts. In dry spring the depth is increased.

Crop care

The care of spring wheat crops includes rolling, harrowing, weed, disease, pest and lodging control.

In arid areas, in dry spring and in all regions of the country after sowing, rolls with ring-spiked rollers to improve the flow of moisture from deep layers of soil to the seeds. In more humid conditions, the technique is also useful for better soil warming and the emergence of uniform sprouts.

On heavy floating soils a crust may form that prevents the emergence of seedlings. To break it, harrow before or after sprouting. In pre-germination harrowing, the depth of loosening is set so as not to damage the seedlings. Harrowing along the shoots is carried out after a good establishment of plants, for this purpose, tooth harrows or rotary hoes are used. Harrowing is carried out across the crop.

Plant protection system

Spring wheat is characterized by slow growth in the first vegetation period and weak tillering, so its sprouts can be suppressed by weeds. Weed control begins as early as possible and ends before the emergence of the tube phase. Among herbicides, herbicides of 2,4-D and 2M-4X groups give good results at the rate of 1 kg/ha a.s. Spraying with solutions of preparations is carried out in the phase of tillering. Chemical method of weed control reduces weed infestation by 2-3 times and increases the yield by 0.2-0.4 t/ha. When sowing leguminous grasses under the cover of wheat, 2M-4XM is used at a dose of 2-2.5 kg/ha a.s.

Weed control is combined with crop protection against Swedish fly. For this purpose, 1 kg/ha chlorophos or 1.5 kg/ha a.s. metaphos is added to the herbicide rate.

During the growing season when disease or pest outbreaks are detected in the crops carry out appropriate measures taking into account the thresholds of harmfulness and phytosanitary status of the crops. Typical diseases of spring wheat include brown rust and stem rust, powdery mildew, snow mold, root rot. Characteristic pests include: bread beetles and fleas, Hessian and Swedish flies, thrips, grain borer, noxious turtle.

To control lodging of crops, spraying with Tur at a dose of 2-3 kg/ha a.s. in the phases of tillering-ripening or other retardants is used. Nitrogen fertilizers are used to increase yield and grain quality.

Allowed preparations for disease control

To control spring wheat diseases the following preparations are used:

  • brown rust – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Rex C (125 g/l epoxiconazole), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole), Bayleton (250 g/kg), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • stem rust – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Rex C (125 g/l epoxiconazole), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • yellow rust – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol);
  • yellow spot – Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • powdery mildew – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Rex C (125 g/l epoxiconazole), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole), Bayleton (250 g/kg), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • septoriosis – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • septoriosis spot disease – Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • Fusarium ear disease – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole);
  • reticular spot disease – Impact (125 or 250 g/l flutriafol), Rex C (125 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • Fusarium spot disease – Rex C (125 g/l epoxiconazole), Rex Duo (310 g/l thiophanate-methyl + 187 g/l epoxiconazole);
  • Fusarium root rot – Fundazole (500 g/kg benomyl);
  • Helminthosporium spot disease – Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Tilt (250 g/l propiconazole);
  • cercosporiasis – Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole), Fundazole (500 g/kg benomyl);
  • epiphytotaxy of brown, yellow, and stem rusts – Alto (400 g/l ciproconazole).


In the 80s in Siberia, due to unfavorable weather conditions during harvesting, the use of senication was resorted to in the phase of doughy state of grain at moisture content of 40-45%.

Senication is the acceleration of crop maturation by treatment with 20-30% ammonium nitrate solution or other preparations at the rate of 100 l/ha of working solution.

The choice of harvesting method depends on weather conditions, the condition of the stalk and the degree of crop maturity. Soft spring wheat easily shatters at maturity, so the two-phase harvesting in the phase of wax ripeness or one-phase harvesting in the phase of full ripeness is completed in a short time.

Durum wheat is more resistant to shattering, but over-ripening can cause whole ears to break off. One-phase harvesting is carried out in the phase of full ripeness, two-phase – in the middle of wax ripeness.

In areas of Eastern Siberia, in the north of Kazakhstan, two-phase harvesting allows you to complete the harvest before the onset of cold weather and avoid frost-killing of grain.

Specifics of cultivation under irrigation

Experience of research institutions and advanced farms shows high responsiveness of spring wheat to irrigation, especially durum. At Ershovsky experimental station of irrigated agriculture (Saratov region), the average 12-year yield under irrigation was about 4.5 t/ha, in some years – up to 5.0 t/ha. In Saratov region the yield reaches 5.7 t/ha, in Volgograd region – 7.3 t/ha.

Crop rotation

The best predecessors of spring wheat in irrigated agriculture are perennial grasses, leguminous crops, row crops and winter crops.


Under irrigation, fertilizers are of great importance, increasing yields and improving grain quality.

According to experiments of scientific institutions, it is possible to sharply increase the yield and protein content in grain when applying high (up to 120 kg/ha) doses of nitrogen. To avoid lodging of wheat, nitrogen fertilizers are brought in 2-3 receptions – before sowing, in the phases of tillering and flowering.

The main part of phosphorus and potash fertilizers is put under the plowing, 10% of phosphorus – when sowing in the rows (P20), 50-60% of nitrogen – before sowing, the rest – in top-dressing during tillering and grain ripening phases, taking into account the results of leaf diagnosis.

According to the summarized data of the Geographic Network, the optimal fertilizer rates are N60-120P40-90K30-60

Irrigated tillage

Irrigated tillage is similar to non-irrigated tillage: it is aimed at creating a deep arable layer, clearing fields of weeds, accumulation and preservation of soil moisture.


Under irrigation conditions, the timing, amount and rates of irrigation in the agronomy of spring wheat are important. The most responsible phases in the consumption of moisture and nutrients are tillering and flowering. Insufficient water supply during these periods leads to poor grain filling, decrease in the number of grains in an ear and 1000 seeds weight. Optimal irrigation regime in areas of insufficient moisture, for example, in the Volga region, Kazakhstan, steppe regions of Siberia, is to maintain in the root layer moisture content of about 70% of the smallest moisture capacity.

Optimal soil moisture in the layer of 0-60 cm depending on the phases of the growing season:

during the tillering phase, 65-70% of the smallest moisture capacity;
from emergence into a tube to earing – 75-80% of the smallest moisture capacity;
at the phase of grain ripening – 65-70% of the smallest moisture capacity. 

Spring wheat is responsive to autumn moisture-recharge irrigation, especially for steppe and dry-steppe zones and after perennial grasses. The norm of water consumption in the fields with deep groundwater is 800-1000 m3/ha, in solonetz and saline soils – 1000-1300 m3/ha.

The greatest contribution to yield increase is given by vegetative irrigation. The Research Institute of Agriculture of South-East recommends five irrigations in very dry years: the first – in the phase of tillering, the second and third – before earing, the fourth and fifth – in the period of grain formation. In wetter years with good distribution of precipitation, the number of waterings is reduced to two or three: the first – in the phase of tillering; the second – before the earing; the third – before the beginning of grain formation.

The method of irrigation depends on the mechanical composition of soil and topography. On heavy soils with slow absorption of water, the best results can be obtained by watering in strips or seeded furrows. On lighter soils with uneven topography sprinkling is used. Water consumption for above-ground methods is 700-800 m3 of water per 1 hectare, and for sprinkling – 600-650 m3/ha.

Resource-saving intensive cultivation technology

Resource-saving intensive technology of spring wheat cultivation provides efficient use of resources, compliance with environmental production and application of the achievements of science and world practice. Spring wheat in accordance with this technology is planted on the best moisture-sufficient predecessors, a set of measures for moisture accumulation in the soil and its rational use, provide a balanced content of nutrients in the soil and carry out integrated plant protection from diseases, pests and weeds with an emphasis on agricultural, biological methods of plant protection.

Resource saving – one of the main requirements of technology, along with the rational use of equipment and compliance with technological discipline. Intensive technology provides receiving 2.0-2.2 t / ha of high-quality grain on bare fallow and 1.5-1.8 t/ha of other predecessors.

A requirement of intensive technology is also agrochemical and phytosanitary inspection of fields with the preparation of a field passport.

In Kurgan region with the use of intensive technology the yield of spring wheat was 2.9 t/ha, in the experimental farm of the Siberian Research Institute of Agriculture “Novouralskoye” – 2.0 t/ha.


In the Steppe zone of Siberia, Trans-Ural and northern Kazakhstan spring wheat is sown after bare fallow or as the second crop after fallow. In the forest-steppe zone – also on corn, peas and perennial grasses. In the Volga region and in the south of the Urals – black fallow, legumes, perennial grasses and row crops. Sowings of durum wheat in the rotation are placed only after bare fallow or after perennial leguminous grasses.

Tillage system

The main task is the maximum accumulation and preservation of moisture in the arable layer, destruction of weeds.

Tillage depends on the preceding crop, weed infestation of the field and soil-climatic conditions. Tillage is conducted in accordance with zonal systems of farming, differentiated by fields of crop rotation, taking into account resource conservation, aimed at reproduction of soil fertility.

In the steppe zone of Siberia, Trans-Urals and the north of Kazakhstan bare fallows are cultivated by ploughshares КПШ-5, КПШ-9 or other non-moldboard implements. In the forest-steppe zone of Siberia, the Volga region, the south of the Urals – with moldboard plows ПТК-9-35, ПН-8-35. The depth of flat-cut tillage on light soils is 10-14 cm, on heavy soils with a granulometric composition – up to 25-27 cm. The depth of tillage – respectively, 20-22 cm or 25-27 cm.

On fields infested with Avena fatua, in autumn, shallow cultivation with needle tools БИГ-3A to a depth of 4-6 cm for inclusion of weed seeds. In spring, harrowing along the stubble with a needle harrow, and after the autumn plowing – with a tooth harrow. In summer, 3-4 shallow tillage of fallow lands is carried out: in the Steppe zone – by flat-cut-tillers, in the forest-steppe – by cultivators with a knife working bodies.

For strip fallow in the first decade of July, mustard seeded as strips in two rows of seed drills СКН-3, СЗС-2, 1 at a depth of 4-5 cm every 8-12 meters across the direction of the prevailing winds. The last processing of bare fallow is carried out in August-September to a depth of 20-27 cm or 12-14 cm, depending on local conditions.

When placing crops of spring wheat on non-fallow precedents in the steppe zone processing carried out ploughshare (КПШ-9) to a depth of 12-25 cm depending on moisture and grain size composition. In the forest-steppe zone – ploughed to a depth of 25-30 cm plows ПТК-9-35, ПН-8-35 with the subsequent tillage on the type of a semi-fallow. On sloping lands in the late autumn period, slitting across the slope to a depth of 30-35 cm is carried out.

In spring when physical ripeness is reached, moisture is closed, pre-sowing tillage and sowing is carried out.

Presowing cultivation on stubble backgrounds is harrowing with needle tools, for example, БИГ-3A, ЗБЗСС-1,0 at a depth of 4-5 cm or disc-tillers with flat discs ЛДГ-10, ЛДГ-15. On soils after the autumn tillage – by tooth harrows ЗБЗСС-1,0 and cultivators with knife working bodies. After harrowing and on loose soils after harrowing, packing is carried out. Fields clean of weeds can be sown without pre-sowing cultivation with the use of seed-cultivators, for example, СЗС-2,1.

Presowing cultivation is carried out by cultivators КТС-10-01, КПЭ-3,8A, КПС-4, КШП-8. Fields littered with oat grass are cultivated by ЛДГ-10, ЛДГ-15 disk-tillers to a sowing depth of 5-6 cm in combination with ЗБЗСС-1,0 harrows.

To reduce the number of mechanical treatments and save moisture, herbicides are used: 2,4-D – 2 kg/ha two weeks before sowing of strips.

Snow retention is carried out by wide-cut snowplows СВУ-2,6-1 or ЗСВУ-2,6. Snow rollers are cut if the snow cover is more than 12-15 cm high. In the steppe part of Siberia, the distance between rollers should be 3-5 m, in the Volga and Ural regions – 5-8 m. Rolls are placed across the direction of prevailing winter winds. In years with wet autumn (with the amount of productive moisture in a meter layer of 80-90 mm), it is recommended to accumulate at least 40 cm of snow, in years with dry autumn (30-50 mm of productive moisture) – 50-55 cm.


Fertilizer rates are determined taking into account agrochemical soil survey and planned yields. On average, P50-60 is applied in fallow fields, N20-30 and P20-40 in non-fallow predecessors. In the steppe part of the Urals and Siberia K10-20 is also applied. Fertilizer is sown to a depth of 10-16 cm.

Phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are applied under the main tillage. Phosphorus additionally – in the rows during sowing P10-20.

To improve the quality of grain foliar fertilization spend foliar feeding of nitrogen fertilizer in the phase of earing – filling of grain. Consumption rate is determined on the basis of the results of leaf diagnosis. During flowering and the beginning of grain ripening, foliar fertilization is done by aerial spraying with 30% urea solution.


Seeds should be large, uniform, first class of seed conditioning, growth force not less than 80%, released or promising varieties, responsive to a high level of agrophon, resistant to lodging. For example, the strong wheat varieties Saratovskaya 29, Saratovskaya 39, Saratovskaya 42, Saratovskaya 46, Novosibirskaya 67, Tselinnaya 20, Omskaya 9, Irtyshanka 10; hard wheat varieties Almaz, Kharkovskaya 46, Bezenchukskaya 139. The most valuable by quality varieties are Moscow 35 and Kutulukskaya.

Intensive technology involves the use of at least 2 varieties. At the same ratio of mid-maturing and mid-late varieties should be for the dry steppe zone – 1:1,5; in arid and moderately arid steppe – 1,5:1; in the Forest-steppe – 2,3:1.

Prior to sowing, treating is carried out, and it is possible to combine it with retardant treatment to increase resistance to lodging. Treated seeds are treated with Penturam (2 kg/t seed moistening), Vitavax 75% s.p. (2,5-3 kg/t), Fundazol 50% s.p. (3 kg/t), Granozan (2 kg/t).

Sowing is carried out at optimum times, taking into account natural conditions, variety peculiarities, methods of soil treatment, weed infestation of fields.

Seeding rates are determined taking into account soil and climatic conditions, variety, fertility, sowing dates and weed infestation of fields. Approximate rates:

  • for the Steppe – 2.5-3.5 million/ha of germinated seeds;
  • in the Forest-steppe – 3.5-4.5 million germinating seeds per hectare;
  • in Eastern Siberia – 4.5-6.0 million/ha of germinated seeds.

Sowing depth is 5-6 cm, in the Steppe zone – up to 8 cm. Seeds should be sown into the moist soil layer on a dense seed bed. For sowing, stubble seeders СЗС-2,1, СЗС-14 or disc СЗП-3.6A, C3-3.6A are used.

If necessary, leave a technological track taking into account the width of the track of the machines to care for the crops.

Crop care

Herbicides are used to control weeds. Approximate threshold of harmfulness: more than 2 root weeds per 1 m2; more than 15 plants of oat grass (Avena fatua) per 1 m2; more than 75 plants of green bristlegrass (Setaria viridis) per 1 m2; more than 20-30 plants of other annual and biennial weeds.

Avena fatua is controlled with Roundup (1 l/ha) in a fallow position by combining spraying with cultivation, with Avadex BV and Triallat (40%) at the rate of 2.5-3.5 l/ha in spring for moisture closure and pre-sowing treatment.

Post-emergence preparations against Avena fatua:

  • iloxane (36% emulsion concentrate), rate of consumption 3-4 l/ha;
  • suffix, the rate of consumption is 6-7,5 l/ha;
  • suffix BV, the rate of consumption is 2.5-3 l/ha.

However, when treating with these preparations, a smaller yield increase is obtained than when using Avadex BV. When weed infestation of crops with chickweed and chicken millet, iloxane (3 l/ha) is used during the formation of 2-4 leaves of the weeds.

To control dicotyledonous weeds, 2,4-D salts and esters are used in the tillering phase before emergence into the tube. Against dicotyledonous weeds resistant to 2,4-D herbicides, dialen, kafpon and basagran are used.

To increase resistance to lodging, the crops at the beginning of the phase of emergence in the tube are treated with Tur at a rate of 3-6 liters per 1 ha or other retardants.

Chemical protection of spring wheat crops against diseases and pests is carried out taking into account the phytosanitary condition. Against rust, powdery mildew, root rot and blight diseases, the crops are treated with cinereb, polycarbacin at the rate of 4 kg/ha; with fundazole, baileton, Tilt at the rate of 0.5 kg/ha.

Against grain turtle, grain beetles, grain worms, thrips and grain flies use chlorophos (30%) – 1-1.5 kg/ha, metaphos – 0.5-1 kg/ha, vofatox – 1.5-2 kg/ha, phosphamide (40%) – 0.7-1.5 kg/ha.


The method of harvesting depends on the height and density of the stand and the weediness of the crops. In crops with an even stalk stand, clean of weeds, direct harvesting is used. If the maturation is uneven, the two-phase (separate) method. Harvesting is carried out at the optimum time with minimal losses, avoiding overstaying and prolonged lying in swaths.


Crop production/P.P. Vavilov, V.V. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov, et al. Gritsenko, V.S. Kuznetsov, etc.; Edited by P.P. Vavilov. – M.: Agropromizdat, 1986. – 512 p.: ill. – (Textbook and textbooks for higher education institutions).

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

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