‘Wheat’s worst enemy is another wheat plant.’ 1869
The beneficial results of wide spacing in grain crops are great indeed! Here in our own backyard, the Heritage Grain Conservancy conducted SARE-funded organic wheat trials at UMass and at partnering farms over four years from 2008 to 2012. Not only did we trial and select hundreds of almost-extinct landrace wheats for local adaptability, but we conducted spacing trials to compare the health and yield of landrace and modern wheats at various spacings.
The fields were cover cropped the season before, enriched with minerals and under sown with clover to suppress weeds. Wheat seeds were spaced 12”, 10”, 8”, 6” and 4” apart in 3 replicated plots. After analysis of the results at the end of the season, we discovered that wider spacing produced higher yield and more robust plants with less disease, especially in the heritage wheat plots.
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