Perfect timing of rain and cool temperatures kept disease levels low and crop performance at its peak for Ohio's wheat. The result: a good year for yields.
According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, the state average yield for winter wheat has been forecast at 68 bushels per acre, five bushels per acre more than last year. Farmers harvested over 1 million acres this year, compared to 730,000 acres last year.
Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University plant pathologist and wheat specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said he is pleased with the crop's performance.
"Farmers are averaging anywhere from 60 bushels per acre to 90 bushels per acre. We had low incidences of head scab and received very few reports of vomitoxin accumulation in the grain," says Paul. "The highest level of vomitoxin was reported as 2.5 to 3 parts per million in one location, but that was the exception."
Ohio's wheat performance is the general trend across the Midwest, as cooler-than-normal temperatures during flowering period and good timing of rains kept head scab development, as well as other diseases, to a minimum.
"Even though we had rain during the flowering period, we didn't have consistent consecutive days of rainfall, and temperatures were cooler than normal. So the conditions for head scab development just weren't there," says Paul. "We were getting a lot of calls from concerned farmers and we were sitting on the edge of our seats for a while. But as it turned out, we have gotten a better-than-average year."
Wheat harvest may be out of the way, but now is the time to consider wheat varieties for the 2009 crop season. OSU Extension's 2008 wheat performance trials are now available to assist growers in choosing wheat varieties that yield well, are resistant to insects and diseases and produce quality grain. The trials are available at www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/wheattrials. Depending on variety and the test site, yields varied between 62 and 112 bushels per acres and test weights ranged from 53 to 59 pounds per bushel.
For more information on wheat planting preparations, refer to the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team Web site at agcrops.osu.edu later this fall.