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When is Early too Early (to Plant Wheat, Barley or Oats)?

In all likelihood, this winter will go in the books as the warmest on record for Minnesota and even surpass the winter of 1877-1878 that was dubbed the Year Without a Winter .  Much of the state has enjoyed an extended "January Thaw"  with daytime highs well above freezing. In the metro area, for example, daytime temperatures never dropped below 32 between January 22 and February 14th. Needless the say, fields are bare and drying off rapidly. That immediately begs the question of whether to start thinking about seeding wheat, barley, and oats. After all, early seeding is very advantageous for the yield potential of these cool-season grasses. This scenario of a possible very early start to the growing season played out in the first and second week of March 2012 too.  Below is an updated/expanded version of what I wrote then. Spring wheat (and spring barley and oats) will start germinating in earnest when soil temperatures reach 40⁰F.  Once the imbibition phase starts there is
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