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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


2002 Wheat Performance Trials Released

August 22, 2002

WOOSTER, Ohio - When selecting wheat varieties for next season, growers should stick to such characteristics as yield, test weight, lodging potential and disease resistance, and not worry about what the weather might have in store for their crop.

"Those are the factors that will get you farthest down the road," said Pat Lipps, an Ohio State University plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "The weather is just something that you can't plan for." Ohio State researchers have just released the 2002 Ohio Wheat Performance Trials, available online at The report is described by Lipps as a "fairly regular test until the freezing injury got us." According to the results, two of the five test sites - in Crawford and Pickaway counties - had some varieties that suffered yield losses anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent due to freezing injury that occurred during early spring. "When a grower evaluates these performances and sees some low yielding numbers on varieties, it may be due to freezing injury," said Lipps.

Apart from the yield losses due to the freezing temperatures and the test site in Darke County that was lost due to flooding, the performance trials reported good yields from the 50 varieties that were planted. Soft red winter wheat, soft white wheat and Triticale wheat - a cross between wheat and rye - were evaluated.

"The lowest yielding site was in Wood County with varieties averaging 68 bushels per acre, while the highest site was in Wayne County averaging 84.9 bushels per acre," said Lipps. "The one thing the tests show is that there is quite a yield difference based on location, which has to do with a variation in environmental conditions including soil type, moisture levels, winter freezing and thawing conditions, lodging potential and disease intensity." Lipps said growers should keep all of these factors in mind when choosing wheat varieties to plant next season.

"The idea behind choosing varieties is to choose ones that will fit your farming practice," he said. "Look at multiple years' worth of data and at multiple locations. Get performance data from the university and seed companies. Talk to friends and see what they are growing. There will always be 15 or 20 varieties that are consistent top performers and can yield well on any particular farm." A new feature for this year's wheat performance trials was the reporting of seeding rates in seed-per-foot-of-row. "We want growers to start thinking about the number of seed-per-foot-of-row to assist them in doing a better job at seeding rates," said Lipps. "We recommend 1.2 million to 1.6 million seeds-per acre, which is about 17 to 23 seeds per-foot-of-row in a seven-and-a-half-inch row spacing." Additionally, growers should plant seed from one inch to one and a half inches deep and plant within 10 days after the Hessian Fly Safe Date for their county.

The purpose of the annual performance trials is to evaluate wheat varieties for yield, grain quality and other characteristics such as test weight, seed size, lodging potential, plant height, heading date and disease resistance, to assist growers in making informed decisions on which varieties to plant.

Candace Pollock
Pat Lipps