Winter wheat should be planted with a grain drill to a depth of 1 to 1-1/2 inches during the couple of weeks after the Hessian fly-free date. The optimal planting is thus from mid-September until early October in most regions of winter wheat production. Depending upon the fall or winter conditions, wheat can be successfully planted until early November but at a lower yield potential. Soft white winter wheat has a broad optimum seeding rate range and rates of about 120 pounds or 2 bushels per acre usually result in the highest grain and straw yields. If planting is delayed beyond early October, the optimal rate is 150 pounds or 2-1/2 bushels per acre. Soft red winter wheat also has a broad optimum seeding rate range and rates between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 seeds per acre result in highest grain and straw yields.
Barley is less hardy than wheat and is not susceptible to Hessian fly. Winter barley can thus be planted a few days earlier than wheat, that is, from September 10 to September 20. Because barley is very susceptible to barley yellow dwarf virus, planting before this time is strongly discouraged. It is best to sow the seed with a grain drill at a depth of 1 to 1-1/2 inches. Seeding rates should be in the 96 to 120 pounds per acre or 2- to 2-1/2-bushel range.
Rye is the hardiest of all winter grains and thus can be successfully established with an early to mid-October planting date. For seed production, rye should be sown with a grain drill at a depth of 1 to 1-1/2 inches. The seeding rate should be in the 110 pounds or 2-bushel range.
Spring grains should be sown as early in the spring as possible. In central New York, a yield decrease of about 1 bushel per acre per day can be expected in oats and barley for each day the crop is planted after April 15. With spring wheat, a yield loss of about 1/2 bushel per acre per day can be expected if planting occurs after April 15. All spring grains should be sown with a grain drill to a depth of 1 to 1-1/2 inches. The optimal seeding rate for oats is 96 pounds or 3 bushels per acre, whereas spring barley and spring wheat do best at 2 bushels per acre. If oats or barley is to be used in forage seeding, seeding rates should be reduced by 50 percent.