WOOSTER, Ohio — More than half of the 60-plus wheat varieties tested in Ohio State University Extension's 2004 Ohio Wheat Performance Test are new — providing growers with additional opportunities to better manage disease and produce high yields and quality grain.
Pat Lipps, an Ohio State Extension plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said that the high number of new entries means more of a choice for growers when choosing varieties.
"We always recommend to growers that they choose several varieties to plant so it spreads out their risk from diseases. And when they pick those three or four varieties, they should look at heading date and disease risk," said Lipps. "Growers should pick all varieties based on high yields, high test weights and high standability.
The annual performance test focused on five planting locations (Wayne, Darke, Wood, Crawford and Pickaway counties) and produced data in such areas as yield, test weight, lodging, heading date, disease reaction, and grain quality factors. The tests are designed to aid growers in choosing the best-performing wheat varieties for their particular location.
According to the tests, Wood County received the highest yields, averaging 84 bushels per acre, while Darke County received the lowest yields, averaging 64 bushels per acre. Average yields for all varieties across the five locations ranged anywhere from 64 bushels per acre to 78 bushels per acre.
"This year we didn't see the really high yields that we saw last year of the best varieties," said Lipps. "With all the wet weather in May and the disease pressures, that's not surprising. Weather and disease issues just took the top 10-12 percent of the yields right off."
Lipps said that this year's test produced results similar to data compiled from tests conducted the past few years. "We've had a lot of similarity the past three years or so because of the wet springs and the mild temperatures," said Lipps. "So nothing unusual really stood out."
He did point out that about 15 varieties showed moderate to high resistance to Fusarium head scab, a disease that can impact wheat yields and grain quality if not properly managed.
"Growers have a lot of opportunities now to pick good scab-resistant varieties," said Lipps. "We were also able to score varieties for powdery mildew and various leaf blotch diseases, so we've got some reasonable data compiled."
Lipps recommends that growers look at the results of past performance tests in their area, as well as tests conducted by seed companies, when choosing which wheat varieties to plant in their fields. For more information on the 2004 Ohio Wheat Performance Test, log on to http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/wheat2004/.