Buckwheat has acquired a reputation for being a capricious agricultural crop. This is due to the exactingness of the quality of the land, temperature, humidity and other factors at different periods of plant development.
A feature of buckwheat is 6 stages of phenological development:
- The emergence of seedlings.
- Formation of the first leaves.
- Branching and laying of buds.
- Fruit formation.
Depending on the variety, the rate of harvest may vary. Early ripening varieties ripen 70 days after germination, and some even earlier. Mid-ripening varieties need 70-90 days to complete the entire life cycle, late-ripening varieties ripen in more than 90 days.
Buckwheat has different strengths and weaknesses at different stages. For example, a high moisture content is not required for the emergence of seedlings, since a moisture level of 25 mm is sufficient in the arable land. During the period of development, plants require more and more water – during the period of active growth, the level of moisture in the soil is required from 50 mm, and during the flowering period – not less than 60-70 mm.
During the period of fruit laying, the need for water doubles. During flowering and fruit formation, buckwheat consumes half of all the moisture that the plant needs throughout its entire life cycle.
Therefore, the cultivation of buckwheat on the territory of the country is not recommended in all areas, but only where it is expected to receive a sufficient amount of precipitation.
Keeping moisture in the buckwheat growing zone is possible in different ways, in particular, forest belts. It is in the fields next to which there are plantings of this kind that it is recommended to sow buckwheat.
The second important factor is temperature. For the ripening of buckwheat seeds, the aggregate indicator of the active temperature (exceeding 10 degrees Celsius) should be 1300-1600 degrees. Warm and moderately humid weather is especially important during the flowering period.
If the temperature drops below 13 degrees during this time, the plant is unable to produce nectar and attract pollinating insects. The optimum temperature range is from 18 to 25 degrees. In this case, practically no plants will compete with buckwheat in terms of the amount of nectar, and the pollination process will be as efficient as possible.
At too high temperatures and lack of moisture in the soil, nectar simply evaporates, and insects, unable to extract benefits from the flowers for themselves, will lose interest in buckwheat crops. This will definitely affect the yield. Even self-pollinated varieties show a significant increase in yield, provided that there are apiaries near the fields, the bees from which work during the flowering period on buckwheat crops.
Each shrub is capable of a long flowering period. Flowers are located nearby (for the entire growing season they can appear on one plant up to 2000) and fruits. Only 5-10% of the seeds of the total amount of the ovary will ripen, the rest of the fruits will fall off. The better the conditions are provided in the fields (fertile soils, the absence of pests and diseases, atmospheric disasters), the higher the percentage of fruits that will ripen.
Buckwheat sowing technology
For growing crops, the preferred area is the forest-steppe fields. This is important as the plant is sensitive to strong wind gusts. The most suitable, light in structure soils are located in the south and in the center of this zone; often even significant fertilization of the fields is not required before sowing. But in the north and in the Polesie zone, for a good buckwheat harvest, the soil must be fertilized with organic matter.
The practice of growing buckwheat in the south of the country, on irrigated soils, has not become widespread. In this case, two crops can be removed from one field per season, provided that the early ripening varieties have been correctly selected.
How to choose a specific field for sowing crops, taking into account the requirement of crop rotation?
Since buckwheat respects light, crumbly soils, crops that loosen the soil when cultivating crops will become ideal predecessors. Good predecessors will be potatoes, beets and corn, which do not have common pests and diseases with buckwheat. A slightly worse option is legumes, lupine and flax. Sunflower and winter wheat can be precursors only after high-quality soil fertilization.
Buckwheat is able to resist weeds when the seedlings begin to branch. In this phase, it forms a continuous carpet and deprives small plants of other types of access to resources, in particular, to the sun’s rays.
Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that there are no weeds in the area before sowing, and the seedlings will not have to be treated with herbicides. Autumn preparation of the area for sowing includes stubble plowing and soil disking.
The depth of disking depends on which weeds are present in the field:
- to combat annuals, it is enough to disc to a depth of 6-8 centimeters;
- perennial weeds with creeping rhizomes will suffer when disking to a depth of 10-12 centimeters;
- perennials with parostkovy rhizome – to a depth of 12-14 centimeters.
When the chopped up rhizomes of perennials sprout, the field should be plowed with autumn plowing to the depth of the arable layer (from 18 to 25 centimeters, depending on the type of soil).
Spring cultivation includes early harrowing to retain the maximum amount of moisture in the soil, as well as three cultivation treatments:
- after the appearance of the first shoots of weeds to a depth of 10-12 centimeters;
- after two weeks – to a depth of 8-10 centimeters;
- before sowing – with a beet cultivator to a depth of 3-4 centimeters.
Fertilizing the soil before sowing buckwheat consists of three stages:
In the fall, when preparing the field for spring sowing, phosphorus-potassium fertilizers are applied to the soil, taking into account the recommended norms N30-60, P45-60 and K30-60 kg / ha. Autumn fertilization is especially important for fields located in the zone of lack of rainfall; they will have a better effect on yield than fertilization in spring when sowing.
When sowing, fertilizer P10 or complex forms of fertilizers are applied.
For wide-row crops, post-sowing foliar feeding with complex fertilizers, ideally in a chelated form, is effective. The culture assimilates such nutrients practically without residue. Recommended for buckwheat and boric fertilizers on green leaves, as they will increase the number of buds. The culture responds well to fertilizer, which includes molybdenum, zinc, manganese, on soils with peat content, copper will become an actual component. Fertilizer consumption rates depend on whether fertilizers were applied in the previous stages. If no fertilizer was applied during sowing, then the consumption of complex fertilizers will be 20-30 kg / ha. Chelated fertilizers are applied at the rate of 1-2 kg / ha. Post-sowing top dressing is carried out twice – when laying buds and at the time of active flowering.
Fertilizer consumption rates are influenced by which crop was the predecessor. Potatoes, beets, corn are not able to take from the soil all the nutrients that are applied as organic fertilizers, and legumes, thanks to microorganisms-symbionts, promote the assimilation of nitrogen from the air. Therefore, in the fields where such predecessors grew, the fertilizer consumption rate should be reduced by approximately one and a half times.
One of the most effective ways of applying combined fertilizer is the use of wheat straw and beet tops. For better mineralization and active transformation processes, 8-12 kilograms of nitrogen fertilizers need to be added to 1 ton of plant organic matter.
It is necessary to remember which fertilizers can lead to negative consequences. We are talking about chlorine-containing preparations. If they need to be applied, then do it in the fall during autumn plowing. Buckwheat has a pronounced reaction to chlorine – the leaves begin to turn red and dry, this affects the yield. Therefore, potash fertilizers for this crop are preferable to choose chlorine-free.
How to choose a seeding scheme?
The highest yields can be obtained with wide-row sowing, when the row spacing is 45 cm.But this scheme should be used in cases where it is possible to process crops from weeds with a cultivator, and mechanical processing should be carried out three times, the last time during the flowering period. If this is not possible, it is enough to compact the crops and the closed bushes themselves will take care of the destruction of weed seedlings.
It is advisable to burrow compacted crops during the period of the appearance of the first leaf across the rows or at an angle to them. This will help fight weeds and make the bud easier. After closing the bushes, there is no need to do any mechanical cultivation of the land.
With wide-row sowing, the consumption of seeds (in pieces) is 1.5-2.5 million / ha, with compacted sowing – 3-3.5 million / ha, and in some cases up to 5 million / ha are sown. On light soils, the embedding depth is up to 5 cm, and on heavy soils – 2-3 cm.
How to choose and how to process the seed?
The following varieties of buckwheat are common:
“Nine” and “Dikul” received the greatest popularity due to the following qualities:
- the ability to absorb the maximum amount of fertilizers, which affects the yield;
- kernel quality (good taste and large buckwheat);
- self-pollination (at the same time, the flowers of this variety are capable of dusting by bees, which makes it possible to get honey and increase the yield).
Farmers have recently begun to sow genetically transformed buckwheat, for example, the Canadian variety Granby. This variety is resistant to pests, and most importantly, it is capable of producing a crop 65 days after germination.
Thanks to this, you can navigate according to the forecasts of weather forecasters and sow buckwheat, taking into account their recommendations, because during frosts, the root system is damaged, and when the soil warms up to 50 degrees, the plant sheds buds and fruits.
Presowing preparation of buckwheat includes treatment with growth stimulants. The responsiveness of buckwheat to mineral fertilizers was noticed many centuries ago, when people sifted ash, moistened crops with water or whey, mixed kernels with ash. Now this function is performed by special preparations containing boric acid and ammonium molybdate, chelates of copper, zinc and iron. This will increase the vitality of seedlings and allow you to quickly close the branches of the bushes, leaving no chance for weeds to obtain vital resources.
In addition to fertilizers, seeds are treated with dressing agents, which avoids significant damage to young crops by insect pests.