If you planted wheat in the fall, then January brings you close to a decision time on whether to graze it out or keep it for grain. This decision is based on many factors, including value of gain for livestock, grain prices, potential grain yield of the field and presence or absence of certain hard-to-control weeds if you decide to go for grain.

Two of these factors are primarily agronomic and two are primarily economic. We'll start with the two agronomic factors: potential grain yield of the field and presence or absence of certain weeds.

The potential grain yield of the field is probably the first consideration. The main thing to look at is the wheat stand. Is it uniform across the field? Do you have an adequate plant population? The definition of an adequate plant population varies according to individual situations, but is usually a population of 20-25 plants/sq. ft. A field with a lower plant population may be worth saving for grain if the stand count is lower, but very uniform. If wheat is to be used for grain, cattle must be removed before the first hollow stem growth stage occurs.

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