WOOSTER, Ohio – Ohio could be looking at record wheat yields this year, driven mainly by near-perfect growing conditions and negligent disease development.
Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist and wheat specialist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, said preliminary reports indicate growers are harvesting 80-and 90-bushel per acre wheat, with 100 bushels per acre in some locations.
According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, over 70 percent of Ohio's wheat has been harvested and the crop is getting good marks.
"We've had a fairly good wheat season this year. It was established well and we had a good crop going into spring," said Paul. "That carried over into late spring/early summer because we had cool conditions, which meant excellent conditions for grain fill and less favorable conditions for disease development."
Compared to neighboring states, Ohio wheat growers escaped any major disease problems, including head scab, which turned out to be a low risk for growers this year.
"There is the odd field that has experienced some lower yields, and when we say lower, we mean in the 50 or 60s. And there is the odd grower who planted wheat after corn and had problems with head scab. And there is the odd grower who had some seed-associated diseases," said Paul. "But, in general, everybody is doing well and we expect a great harvest."
Paul said that preliminary test weights are also good, with estimates in the upper 50s and 60s.
Paul said that weather conditions were the contributing factor toward the successful wheat season.
"We always estimate our wheat potential as in the mid to upper 60s, but not because of genetics. We have varieties out there that can produce 100-bushel wheat," said Paul. "Our weather conditions don't always permit that. Our spring is usually wet, summers are usually warm, and it just shuts down grain fill. When it's cool throughout the season and you don't have diseases, you expect to see bumper yields, and that is what we are seeing this year."
The highest wheat yield ever recorded in Ohio was 72 bushels per acre, set in 2000, according to Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service records that have been kept since 1909.
Ohio wheat growers produce some of the highest quality soft red winter wheat sought after by millers and bakers in the nation. Ohio's wheat production brings in over $250 million to the state's agricultural industry, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.