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Wheat crop yields better than expected

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By Rick Greenwell

We have had a very successful wheat year and it is kind of odd how it happened.  We will share with you this story about what is going on with this year’s wheat crop.

Wheat Disease Situation: What Went Right?
If you have been following some of my wheat disease concerns this spring, you would be pleased to know that wheat yields and test weights for fields harvested (so far) throughout west Kentucky have generally exceeded all expectations. Yields in excess of 90 bu/A and test weights above 60 lb/bu are fairly common. In addition, I have heard of many fields topping the 100 bu/A mark. Everybody is happy, all the way from the farmer to the miller to the end-use food manufacturer.
Since FHB and/or leaf and glume blotch appeared to be at significant levels in many fields, one could reasonably ask, “what’s up with that?” I must confess I do not have all the answers. But I think the good end result probably has something to do with the unseasonably hot early June, which resulted in a very rapid dry-down in fields. For about a week, temperatures existed in early June that are normally experienced in late July. I believe this rapid dry-down, in turn, reduced the negative effects of disease. In essence, the crop “outraced” diseases to the finish line, the result being that the impact of the infections was far less than it otherwise would have been. I also believe many fields started out with a better-than-average yield potential. Thus, small yield reductions related to disease development would not be noticed as much.
A large number of acres remain to be harvested, so the overall state-wide result may not end up being as favorable as I have indicated here. Still, I think 2011 will go down as being one of our better years in terms of wheat yield and quality.