Conditions and markets are subject to change. Communication with your grain buyers and crop insurance agent is a key component of managing this situation as it relates to your farm.
If sprouted wheat is harvested, growers have three main options:
- Marketing to a grain elevator
Sprouted wheat will incur price discounts at local or regional elevators due to reduced grain quality. At a certain point, elevators will likely refuse to accept sprouted wheat. This cut off may range anywhere from 20-30% (can be higher or lower) and is highly dependent on whether elevators have a viable market to deliver the damaged wheat. Market conditions are not favorable for accepting excessive amounts of sprouted wheat due to little to no export markets and high stocks of corn, which will further drive down prices for feed grade wheat. . For more information on dealing with grain contracts and delivery of sprouted wheat refer to AgriLife Extension publication titled “Grain Delivery Issues with Cash Grain Contracts”
- Feed to livestock
The feed quality of sprouted wheat generally does not differ greatly from non-sprouted wheat, unless in very advanced stages of sprouting. Like with any feed concentrate, wheat is highly digestible by ruminants and should not make up more than 40% of the ration. If producers are unable to harvest seed below 23% moisture, ensiling may be a viable option. For more information on feeding sprouted wheat refer to the AgriLife Extension publication titled “Sprouted Wheat for Feeding Cattle.”
- Saving seed to plant
Saving sprouted wheat for planting the following season can be done, however caution is advised. Reduced germination and seeding vigor of sprout damaged wheat can significantly reduce stands when planting the following year. Seed with a split seed coat can still germinate if stored under ideal conditions; however, seed with visible plant parts should not be used. If sprouting is suspected in wheat (even if visible signs are not obvious) it is highly recommended to conduct a germination test. A list of official seed testing laboratories can be found on the Texas A&M University website.
- Pre-Harvest Sprouting in Wheat (AgriLife Extension)
- Storage and Use of Low Test Weight and Sprouted Wheat (OSU Extension)
- Understanding Pre-harvest Sprouting of Wheat (Virginia Tech Extension)
- Visual Reference for Sprout Damage in Wheat (GIPSA)
- USDA Grain Inspection Handbook (GIPSA)