August 24, 2006
Despite a rocky season of
localized drought problems, nutrient deficiencies and disease
development, Ohio’s wheat crop yielded a pleasing average of 68
bushels per acre, just three bushels shy of last year’s
“That’s not bad, given the rough ride we had this season,” said
Pierce Paul, an Ohio State
University plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural
Research and Development Center.
According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, total
production is estimated at 68.7 million bushels, 17 percent more
than what was produced last year. Acreage harvested is up
180,000 acres from 2005, to over 1 million acres.
During the growing season, the crop was faced with some
diseases, such as powdery mildew, Stagonospora leaf and glume
blotch, leaf rust and head scab, but except for a few areas with
high levels, most of the disease levels were low and caused
little problems across the state.
“We saw more leaf rust this year than last year and that was
probably because of the mild winter, which allowed the leaf rust
fungus to overwinter here in the state. Some areas saw high
levels of Stagonospora. But the good news is that these two
diseases stepped in late in the growing season and did not
affect yields,” said Paul, who also holds a partial Ohio State
University Extension appointment.
Additionally, levels of Fusarium head blight, or head scab,
ranged from low to moderate throughout the state.
“A few fields had up to 30 percent incidence of infection, but
it was very localized in the state,” said Paul. “Late season
warm temperatures and excessive rain also increased the chances
of vomitoxin accumulation in the grain. As a result, a few
farmers saw vomitoxin contamination as high as 3 parts per
million in their harvested grain.”
The warm temperatures and moist conditions during harvest also
resulted in sprouting problems in some of the late-harvested
“When that happens the seed quality is compromised and this seed
is not recommended for use by farmers for fall planting,” said
Paul. “Farmers should conduct a germination test to determine
the quality of the seed, as well as use seed treatments.”
Low test weights are a good indication of seed quality, said
Paul. Although U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics on test
weights have not yet been released, Paul estimates test weights
for much of the wheat crop to range in the mid-to-upper 50s.
For more information on preparing for next year’s wheat crop,
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