Wheat Growth and Development – Feekes 5

Today managing your wheat crop requires knowledge of the different growth stages of the plant.  Growth stage identification is critical for scouting and proper timing of fertilizer and pesticide applications.  Each week throughout the rest of the growing season I will discuss the various wheat growth stages I am seeing in our wheat fields and management issues at each stage.  This week I will focus on Feekes 5.  Most of our wheat has progressed to the Feekes 5 growth stage.

Feekes 5 – Leaf sheaths strongly erect. 

The beginning of the stem elongation phase.  The pseudo-stem is strongly erect and leaf sheaths are elongated. The developing head reaches the terminal spikelet stage and is pushed up into the pseudo-stem.

Terminal spikelet occurs at Feekes 5. This stage marks the completion of the spikelet initiation phase. At this stage, the number of spikelets per head has been determined.   Stress during this stage can reduce total number of kernels per head.

The first hollow stem stage occurs when there is approximately 0.6 inch of hollow stem below the developing head.  Crop water use is about 0.1 inch per day.


Ideal time for second nitrogen application if split applying in the spring.  Tillers developing after this time are not expected to contribute to yield.  If Grazing, cattle should be removed from dual-purpose wheat before first hollow stem

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