WOOSTER, Ohio — Ohio growers are in the midst of selecting wheat varieties for the next growing season, and results from the 2005 Ohio State University Extension Ohio Wheat Performance Test may prove helpful in the decision-making.
Yields excelled for the 60-plus varieties of soft red and soft white winter wheat that were evaluated in the tests. Average yield was 91 bushels per acre, with numbers ranging between 55 bushels per acre and 130 bushels per acre.
"No winter kills, protection from snow cover and lack of stresses, most notably from diseases, were probably all contributing factors to this year's high yields," said Pat Lipps, an OSU Extension plant pathologist with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. "It's going to make it difficult for growers to pick varieties, because they are going to expect these high yields come next year. The last time we saw yields like this was in 1985, if I remember correctly."
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.
"When growers are selecting varieties, we basically want them to pick more than just those varieties that are high-yielding," said Lipps. "When they consider varieties with yields and standability, they shouldn't jeopardize that yield potential by selecting a susceptible variety. We always suggest good resistance to powdery mildew, leaf blotch, leaf rust and head scab based on which of these is most important in their area."
Lipps recommends the following planting tips for wheat growers:
• Pick several different wheat varieties that excel not only in yield, but also disease and lodging resistance. "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket," said Lipps.
• Pick varieties with different maturity groups to help spread out harvest and reduce the risk of head scab.
• Pay attention to planting detail. That is, don't plant before the Hessian Fly-free date, plant seed at least 1.5 inches deep, plant uniformly and with 18-24 seeds per foot of row. Applying about 25 pounds of nitrogen at planting has also added consistently to yield potential. "Good, timely and accurate planting is probably the most important part of growing wheat," said Lipps.
Lipps said that growers should play close attention to varieties tested with various seed treatments.
"In our trials at the Northwest Branch, seed treatments seemed to be very important, mostly because of seed-born Fusarium from head scab that was present in the 2004 crop," said Lipps. "Seed treatment at this test site increased yields anywhere from five to 10 bushels per acre."
Results of the 2005 Ohio Wheat Performance Test can be found on http://agcrops.osu.edu/wheat. For additional Extension and research information on agricultural production topics, log on to http://extension.osu.edu.