Wheat performances all over the board

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COLUMBUS – Don’t put your eggs all in one basket when it comes to choosing wheat varieties for next year’s growing season.

If the 2003 Ohio Wheat Performance Test has revealed one thing, it’s learning to analyze data from a variety of different test sites – those close to a grower’s farm, as well as those surrounding neighbors’ farms – for the best-performing wheat varieties.

Five locations. More than 50 soft red and eight soft white winter wheat varieties were evaluated at five locations in Ohio: Wood, Crawford, Pickaway, Wayne and Darke counties.

Not one variety responded the same at every test site, said Pat Lipps, an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist.

“A variety that did well in one location may have done poorly at another location. That’s not normal,” said Lipps, a researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio.

Variable results. “Apparently the environmental conditions were so variable across the state that varieties responded differently. For example, Hopewell yielded 81 bushels per acre at the Wood County site but in Darke County it only yielded 53 bushels per acre.”

The wheat performance trials, conducted annually, evaluate wheat varieties based on a variety of characteristics, such as yield, test weight, seed size, percent lodging, disease resistance and flour yield.

The results are designed to provide growers comparative data to help them select the best varieties suited for their production system and market.

According to the test results, the best yields were obtained at the Wood County location in northwest Ohio, where the area received normal precipitation levels and cooler temperatures.

By comparison, yields in the southern part of the state were poorer because of higher rainfall levels and warmer weather, which spurred on diseases such as head scab, powdery mildew and leaf blotch.

Weights and lodging. Test weights and lodging also varied from one test site to the other. Test weights ranged from zero to 60 pounds per bushel and some varieties had as much as 25 percent to 27 percent lodging.

“Growers should be cautious of planting varieties with high lodging scores,” Lipps said.

Disease evaluations were recorded at two test sites: powdery mildew was rated at the Wayne County site and head scab was rated at the Pickaway County site.

“Higher levels of scab were recorded for varieties that flowered earlier, indicating that the environmental conditions for scab development occurred during this time,” Lipps said.

“In addition, there were substantial differences among varieties for resistance to powdery mildew at the Wayne County site. Some varieties were highly resistant while others were very susceptible.”

See for yourself. For 2003 Ohio Wheat Performance Test results, log onto www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/wheat2003/, or contact Pat Lipps at 330-263-3843; e-mail, lipps.1@osu.edu.

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