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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Ohio Growers Face Development Risks on Late-Planted Wheat

November 23, 2009

Editor's note: The number of intended acres of wheat was incorrectly reported in this press release last week. The number should be 900,000 acres. Please note the change in the revision below.

WOOSTER, Ohio – The same weather conditions that have delayed Ohio corn and soybean harvest are also keeping wheat out of the ground. As a result, intended acreage may not be fully realized, says an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist.

"We are in the high-risk time now for planting wheat. Ideally, the wheat should have been in the ground by mid-October, but if you have to push it, the first week of November is considered the drop-dead date," said Pierce Paul, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "Farmers have a 50/50 chance of getting anything out of the crop if they plant now."

According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 95 percent of Ohio's wheat crop has been planted to date. Farmers intend to plant about 900,000 acres for next season, down from the 1 million acres that was planted in 2009, but due to unfavorable weather conditions, even less wheat may end up in the ground.

"Wheat is a winter crop, however, so I'm confident that what does get into the ground will do well, especially since we have had very mild late-fall weather conditions," said Paul.

Paul said the biggest issue associated with late planting is lack of tiller development before winter dormancy, and farmers won't know how well the crop will develop until green up in the spring.

"What is in the ground so far looks great, with plants having two to four tillers," said Paul. "But what is not in the ground at this point probably won't be planted."

For future updates on Ohio's wheat crop, refer to the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team Web site at

Candace Pollock
Pierce Paul