WOOSTER, Ohio — Wheat in some parts of Ohio is approaching the "green-up" stage and it will soon be time for growers to head out to the fields to evaluate plant stands for adequate yield potential.
"We look for a minimum stand of 15 tillers per square foot. But we like to see it in the 30 tiller per square foot range," said Pat Lipps, an Ohio State University research plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
Lipps said that this time of year marks the start of possible stand losses from heaving — a situation where ground freezing and thawing pushes the plant crowns and roots to the surface. The result is the desiccation and eventual death of the plants.
"These plants generally do not show stress until the temperatures warm and they begin to grow. By about mid to late March, growers begin to see these plants turn color and report that the wheat is ‘going backwards'.' This is because it generally takes several weeks for the heaved plants to show water stress and die," said Lipps. "Growers should be watching for heaving when they evaluate their crop. Any heaved plants are not part of stand counts."
Lipps speculates that areas in northwest Ohio, where heavy clay soils favor heaving, may experience some problems going into spring.