The recent warm weather has wheat beginning to really take off. Today, fellow Clemson Extension Agent, William Hardee and I found a field in Marion County that is just beginning to joint. This field is in the Feekes 6 stage on the Feekes Scale of Wheat Development. When jointing begins, the grain head starts its journey up the stem and will eventually emerge from the top of the plant. To get a good look at the grain head and first joint, you can split a tiller with a pocket knife from the very bottom, where the roots attach, up the stem a couple of inches.
In the photo below, we can see the grain head and first joint just to the left of the small hollow area in the stem.
Here is a closer photo. Again, the grain head and first joint are to the left of the hollow area. The stem will be hollow in between the joints and will remain that way for the rest of the plant’s life.
In the photo below you can see the tiny grain head against the blade of the knife. This little guy is what makes the money.
At this point in the game it is too late to put out most herbicides with the exceptions of Prowl H2O and Harmony Extra. Doing so can damage the wheat now that the growing point has risen above the ground. Now is also a critical time for Nitrogen uptake in the plants, so it is recommended that all remaining required N be applied prior to jointing. For more info on wheat production, take a look at the Clemson Wheat Cheat Sheet or the UGA Wheat Production Guide.