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Information for Buckwheat Growers

Growth and Development

Buckwheat grows best in a cool, moist climate, such as is found in parts of the Northeast. Although buckwheat can grow under a fairly wide range of conditions, it is quite sensitive to climatic extremes.

The ideal growing temperature is about 70° F. It yields best with cool nights.

Buckwheat goes through its life cycle quickly, so there is little time to make up for delays in development. Seedlings emerge 3-5 days after sowing. Most of the leaf production occurs during the 3rd through 6th week. Buckwheat blooms and sets seed in the 6th and 7th week, and seed filling begins in the 8th week. The grain is mature 10-12 weeks after sowing.

Buckwheat crop week by week

Week Growth Stage Special Concerns
1 Germination Crusting
2 Emergence Puddling
3 Early vegetative growth  
4 Main vegetative growth  
5 Buds show Heat blasting
6 Bloom and seed set Heat blasting
7 Peak of flowering  
8 Seed fill  
9 Seeds start to brown  
10 Leaf yellowing Monitor maturity
11 Maturing Windrowing
12 Mature Harvest, frost
13 Drying straw Frost, shattering

Growth stages of buckwheat

Concerns about yields

  • Hard soil prevents the fine roots from growing.
  • Flooding and crusting before the first true leaves expand is detrimental to growth.
  • Light frost is lethal, therefore buckwheat is not usually sown in spring in the Northeast. A fall frost will kill the leaves and stems, so the crop must then be harvested immediately.
  • High temperatures during early flowering can prevent seed set (called heat blasting)
  • In dry weather, rapid transpiration causes the plants to wilt even if soil moisture is adequate.
  • Defoliation by deer, hail, or mowing eliminates yield.
  • Most herbicides cause serious injury. None are registered for preplant residual or post-emergence application on buckwheat in New York.


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