WOOSTER, Ohio -- Despite a rocky season of localized drought problems, nutrient deficiencies and disease development, Ohio's wheat crop yielded a pleasing average of 68 bushels per acre, just three bushels shy of last year's production.
"That's not bad, given the rough ride we had this season," said Pierce Paul, an Ohio State University plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center.
According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, total production is estimated at 68.7 million bushels, 17 percent more than what was produced last year. Acreage harvested is up 180,000 acres from 2005, to over 1 million acres.
During the growing season, the crop was faced with some diseases, such as powdery mildew, Stagonospora leaf and glume blotch, leaf rust and head scab, but except for a few areas with high levels, most of the disease levels were low and caused little problems across the state.
"We saw more leaf rust this year than last year and that was probably because of the mild winter, which allowed the leaf rust fungus to overwinter here in the state. Some areas saw high levels of Stagonospora. But the good news is that these two diseases stepped in late in the growing season and did not affect yields," said Paul, who also holds a partial Ohio State University Extension appointment.
Additionally, levels of Fusarium head blight, or head scab, ranged from low to moderate throughout the state.
"A few fields had up to 30 percent incidence of infection, but it was very localized in the state," said Paul. "Late season warm temperatures and excessive rain also increased the chances of vomitoxin accumulation in the grain. As a result, a few farmers saw vomitoxin contamination as high as 3 parts per million in their harvested grain."
The warm temperatures and moist conditions during harvest also resulted in sprouting problems in some of the late-harvested grain.
"When that happens the seed quality is compromised and this seed is not recommended for use by farmers for fall planting," said Paul. "Farmers should conduct a germination test to determine the quality of the seed, as well as use seed treatments."
Low test weights are a good indication of seed quality, said Paul. Although U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics on test weights have not yet been released, Paul estimates test weights for much of the wheat crop to range in the mid-to-upper 50s.
For more information on preparing for next year's wheat crop, log on to http://agcrops.osu.edu.