First hollow stem (FHS) is the optimal time to remove cattle from wheat pasture. This occurs when there is 1.5 cm (5/8” or the diameter of dime) of stem below the developing grain head (full explanation). Last Friday (3/17), 6 of the remaining 8 wheat varieties reached FHS (Table 1). Joe and Spirit Rider were the final two, and both hit FHS yesterday (3/20). Keep in mind that several factors influence the onset of FHS. These include the wheat variety, location, temperature, available moisture, grazing, and planting date (later sown wheat will typically reach FHS later). The First Hollow Stem Advisor and the updates we provide give an indication of the FHS stem conditions in a particular area. However, because of the number of factors that can influence when FHS occurs, we cannot stress enough the importance of checking for FHS on a field-by-field basis.
Table 1. First hollow stem (FHS) results by variety collected from non-grazed, irrigated plots at Goodwell on 3/9/17, 3/11/17, 3/13/17, 3/15/17, 3/17/17, and 3/20/17. Plots were sown on 10/6/16. The threshold target for FHS is 1.5 cm (5/8” or the diameter of a dime). The amount of hollow stem for each variety represents the average of ten measurements. Varieties that have reached FHS are highlighted in red.