Winter wheat, used to make a variety of bakery products, is typically planted in the fall months and harvested in the spring. Missouri is among the top five states when it comes to harvesting the soft red winter wheat. Planting times within the state vary based on temperature and the presence of an insect -- the Hessian fly -- which can damage the plant in its early growth stages. Most wheat farmers wait until after certain colder dates to ensure the adult Hession flies are dead and can no longer lay eggs.
Northern Planting Times
In the northern fifth of the state, typically deliniated by the top two tiers of counties in Missouri, the proper planting time is generally between Sept. 30 and Oct. 3.
Mid-northern Planting Times
In the section of Missouri, generally stretching in an east-west line from Buchanan County, across the state to Ralls County on the north and Jackson County to Lincoln County on the south, the planting time is typically between Oct. 3 and Oct. 6.
Target Dates for Missouri Midsection
Planting times for counties on either side of the Missouri River are generally Oct. 6 through Oct. 10. In the section of counties south of the line running west to east from Vernon to St. Genevieve, planting times are usually after Oct. 10.
Wheat Planting Dates for Southern Missouri
Planting times for the row of Missouri's southernmost counties and the area known as the Bootheel, located in the southeastern corner of the state, are generally after Oct. 14.