Tennessee’s climate is well suited for the production of high-quality, lowprotein, soft red winter wheat. This wheat is in demand by the flour milling industry and well-established local markets are adequate.
Tennessee-produced soft wheat is used primarily for milling general purpose or family flours, pastry flours and cake flours. Very little of Tennessee’s wheat is used for livestock feed, except as byproducts of the milling industry.
Winter wheat is a cool-season crop and can be grown successfully in all counties of the state. Soft red winter wheat varieties recommended and commonly grown in Tennessee have adequate winter hardiness to survive the lowest winter temperatures that normally occur.
When winter temperatures are extremely low, well-rooted wheat plants may die back to the ground, but then resume growth in the spring. Wheat sown in the late fall has a shallow root system and is more susceptible to heaving and winter killing than wheat sown earlier. Freeze damage to winter wheat is more serious from late freezes in the spring when the head has just emerged from the boot. All varieties are susceptible to freeze injury in the milk and soft dough stage.
The optimum moisture requirement for favorable wheat production is somewhat less than the normal rainfall in Tennessee. Wheat is tolerant to high moisture under the cool fall and spring growing seasons of Tennessee. High moisture, in combination with high temperatures, may cause the spread of diseases and reduce yield.
Wheat is best adapted to well-drained, medium- to heavy-textured soils of high natural fertility. The highest yields are generally produced on silt and clay loams, but wheat is also grown successfully on clay soils and fine sandy loams. University of Tennessee research shows that wheat can also be grown successfully on soils that have poor internal drainage, providing they have good surface drainage.
"PB576 Wheat Production in Tennessee," The University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, PB 576-1.5M-12/97(Rev) E12-2015-00-084-98, http://trace.tennessee.edu/utk_agexcrop/43