(1) Top sowing of wheat is a recommended planting practice for establishing a cover crop in low-input management systems. This planting practice requires a well-prepared seedbed. A well prepared seedbed involves adequate tilling of the soil so that when the seeds are planted there will be good soil-to-seed contact and the soil is not excessively hard (i.e., it can easily be penetrated by the developing root of the germinating small grain seed). Growers should be aware that the risk associated with this planting practice is higher than with drilling or other methods that result in coverage of seed. Recommended practices of planting small grain without a prepared seedbed are: (1) no till drilling; (2) broadcasting small grains into the cotton stubble that remains after harvest followed by mowing the cotton stubble; (3) aerial seeding small grains into standing crops such as cotton or soybeans prior to defoliation or leaf drop.
(2) It is recommended that small grain other than as outlined above be planted into a prepared seedbed by broadcasting or drilling and a bona fide attempt be made to cover seed by cultipacking, discing, raking, etc. Some incidental seed may remain on the surface following a bona fide covering attempt. All small grain planting should adhere to planting dates recommended in printed tables furnished by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. The earliest planting dates for wheat are included by zone in this regulation. Recommended seeding rate for small grain is no more than 200 lbs./acre. Seeds should be uniformly distributed.
The planting zones for the State of Alabama are as follows:
North Zone Counties -Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Randolph, Shelby, St. Clair, Talladega, Walker, Winston
Central Zone Counties -Autauga, Bibb, Bullock, Chambers, Chilton, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Russell, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa
South Zone Counties - Baldwin, Barbour, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Conecuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, Pike, Washington, Wilcox
The earliest recommended planting dates for wheat in the North, Central and South planting zones are as follows:
North Zone – August 25
Central Zone – September 1
South Zone – September 15
It will be illegal to hunt over wheat planted before these dates or outside of dates recommended in printed tables furnished by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Any small grain planting that does not conform with these guidelines shall be considered bait. Multiple seedings are not permitted under this regulation.
It is illegal to hunt dove on, over, or near any baited area until all bait is completely gone for 10 days.