Skip Navigation

Factsheets, Videos, and Other Resources - Production Info & Sources for Seed, Equipment, Etc.


  1. Bread Wheat Variety Selection and Seed Sources
  2. Field selection
  3. Fertility
  4. Disease management
  5. Weed Management
  6. Equipment for Growing Small Grains
  7. Online resources and books

Information is provided below with the understanding that no product discrimination is intended and no endorsement of any product mentioned is implied.

Bread Wheat Variety Selection and Seed Sources

Information about varieties suited for organic production in the Northeast is limited at this time. Because the market is small and focused on local production, it is important that you talk to your potential buyer about varietal selection. Consider varieties used in Eastern Canada––hard red wheat production in eastern Canada has increased dramatically in the past several years, and growing conditions there are more similar to those in Maine than in other areas such as Kansas or the Dakotas. Importing seed from Canada can be complicated if the seed supplier has not previously exported to the states. No matter what your source, order seed far in advance to assure availability of the more popular varieties and non-treated seed.

Bread wheat variety trial reports are provided on this website for trials conducted by University of Maine and University of Vermont.

The following are varieties that have been grown by farmers in Maine and Vermont over the past couple of seasons:

Hard Red Spring Wheat Varieties Hard Red Winter Wheat Varieties
AC Barrie Arapahoe
AC Mackenzie AC Morley
AC Brio Zorro
Glenn Harvard
Red Fife (heritage variety) Warthog

Seed suppliers who carry one or more bread wheat varieties:

Albert Lea Seed House
1414 West Main Street
P.O. Box 127
Albert Lea, MN 56007
507-373-7032 (FAX)
800-352-5247 (Toll-Free)

C&M Seeds
RR#3, 6189 Line Minto 5
Palmerston, ON
Canada N0G 2P0
Phone: (519) 343-2126
Toll Free: 1-888-733-9432

Lakeview Organic Grain
Box 361
Penn Yan, NY 14527
Office: (315) 531-1038

Maine Contact: Lauchlin Titus
1063 Main Street
Vassalboro, ME 04989
Office: 207 873-2108
Cell: 207 314-2655

Semican International
366 Rg 10
Plessisville, QC
Canada G6L 2Y2
Toll free: 1-866-736-4226

Field selection

Wheat likes medium to well-drained soils. For winter wheat, it is important to avoid fields that pond, as icing during the winter can reduce winter survival. pH should be above 6.3.


A soil test should be conducted to help you identify and correct pH and nutrient deficiencies before you plant. Wheat should be grown on fields that have a pH between 6 and 6.5 and at least medium levels of both phosphorus and potassium. Meeting the nitrogen requirements for bread wheat is important to maximize yield potential and make quality grade of 12% protein in the grain The nitrogen requirement for hard red wheat is 70 to 80 pounds per acre. It is most cost effective to meet as much of the crops N requirements with the use of green manures (legume cover crops) or animal manures. Some growers top-dress their winter wheat in the spring at tillering with a supplemental N source such as Chilean nitrate (16-0-0). Carefully consider the use of organic sources of supplemental nitrogen, as they can be very expensive.

Some options for supplemental nitrogen are:

  • Chilean Nitrate – (16-0-0) – Organic standards limit the use of this material to 20% of the crop’s total nitrogen needs
  • Dehydrated Chicken Manure – (4-3-3)
  • Blood meal – (12-0-0)
  • Fish meal – (8-12-12)
  • Alfalfa meal – (3-2-2)

Disease management

There are several diseases that can significantly reduce yield and quality of bread wheat production, especially in the humid Northeast environment. Some of the more important are: head scab (or Fusarium head blight), smut, leaf spot, and powdery mildew. Head scab (or Fusarium head blight) is probably the most serious disease because it can cause significant yield loss and produces a toxin harmful to humans and livestock. Crop rotations (avoiding fields that have recently been in cereals or corn), varietal selection, and using certified seed are some of the best options for disease reduction. For more information on wheat diseases, check out some of these websites;

Scab Smart: Provides information on key management strategies for each small grain class affected by Fusarium head blight (head scab), including variety selection, crop rotations, scab forecasting, fungicides, and residue management. Developed by the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.

Managing Fusarium Head Blight: Virginia State University bulletin for small grains.

Wheat Diseases: Washington State University website of wheat diseases found in the Pacific Northwest, including many observed in New England such as powdery mildew and loose smut.

Wheat Diseases and Pests: A comprehensive identification guide originally developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center and adapted for the web by Cornell University.

Wheat Disease Management: Part of University of Nebraska’s CropWatch website.

Weed Management

Annual weeds can be a serious problem in spring-sown wheat. Planting as early as possible (late April to early May) will shift the competitive advantage towards the wheat crop. Planting early isn’t always possible so consider having some other weed control options. Tools to control annual weeds in cereals are mostly limited to spring-tine cultivators and rotary hoes. In the right conditions and with an experienced operator these tools can be very effective. Use of the spring-tine harrow has been far more widespread in the Northeast then the rotary hoe. These tools are not very expensive and the working speeds are quite fast, allowing you to cover a lot of ground. The two most frequently used in Maine are the Lely and Kovar.

Lely Industries
Local distributor
Hammond Tractor Company
216 Center Rd.
Fairfield, Me. 04937
(207) 453-7131

Kovar Sales and Manufacturing
Contact: Pete Kovar
909 South Street
Anoka, Minnesota 55303
(763) 421-4047

Equipment for Growing Small Grains

Below is a list of equipment supply options categorized by tool use and scale.


Small Scale

Medium-Large Scale


Small Scale

Medium-Large Scale


Small Scale

Medium-Large Scale

Drying and Storing

Small Scale

  • Miniature Portable Grain Dryer as designed by Jack Lazor, Butterworks Farm, Westfield, VT.
  • B & W Grain Aerator: Currently used by small-scale growers in our region to dry grain in 1-ton tote bags. This website has a good description but these are sold by many farm supply sites.

Medium-Large Scale

Online resources and books

University of Maine; University of Vermont Extension, Cultivating Healthy Communities

Back to Factsheets, Videos, and Other Resources