Soil Temperature & Germination

Soil Temperature & Germination


When late April/early May rolls around, many Manitoba farmers are waiting for the perfect time to hit the fields and start seeding. Cereal crops, such as wheat and barley are often some of the first to be seeded due to their lower minimum soil temperature needed for germination to start. Germination depends on several factors, soil temperature is one of them. So, how do you know you’re accurately measuring your soil temperature?

First, make sure you know your seeding depth. For spring wheat and barley, this is typically around 1-2 inches. This will vary depending on the variety you are seeding.

Once you have your targeted seeding depth, grab your soil thermometer and measure the soil temperature at this depth in a few areas throughout your field. It’s recommended that two temperature readings are taken throughout the day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Take the average of these two temperatures and repeat this process for two to three days for a multiple day average.

The minimum temperatures needed for wheat and barley germination to begin are:


Temperature     (°C)






For a guideline on how soils are warming up in your area, you can also view soil temperatures here from the Manitoba Ag-Weather Program.


Information sourced from: Crop Chatter –