Wheat in Illinois 2012
This article was originally published on July 11, 2012 and expired on August 25, 2012. It is provided here for archival purposes and may contain dated information.
Amid the trauma of ongoing drought and declining
corn and soybean conditions in Illinois there is some good news.
According to University of Illinois crop sciences professor
Emerson Nafziger, the 2012 wheat yield came in higher than expected with the
July 1 yield estimate raised to 64 bushels per acre. That ties for
third-highest yield on record for Illinois and is 5 bushels higher than the
average over the last decade.
The good yields were of excellent quality. Test weight
values – an indirect measure of quality – were among the highest ever seen.
Good wheat yields and high test weights both resulted from dry weather this
"Dry weather limits disease, makes harvest possible without
the grain getting wet, and in general provides good conditions for wheat to
fill grain," Nafziger explained.
The very early start to spring growth under high March
temperatures followed by frost the second week of April might have kept yields
from being even higher. The frost did not cause much visible injury, but the
crop was in the boot (pre-heading) stage in many fields and there was probably
some injury to heads.
"The early warm temperatures might also have decreased
tillering and head numbers some, and this might have also decreased the yield
potential," Nafziger said. "Great filling conditions after the frost, however,
helped kernels get larger and minimized the effect of reduced kernel numbers."
The 2012 results of the wheat variety trials conducted at
six locations each year are available at http://vt.cropsci.illinois.edu/wheat.html.
Average yields by location ranged from 61 at Dixon Springs to 100 bushels per
acre at Perry in Pike County in west-southwestern Illinois. Averaged over the
three locations in the region, several varieties yielded more than 100 bushels
per acre in northern Illinois and several yielded more than 85 bushels per acre
in the southern set of trials.
One of the few downsides for wheat in 2012 is that soybean
doublecropping following wheat harvest is unlikely to be successful.
With very dry soils after wheat harvest, many producers did
not plant soybeans. The soybeans that have been planted are doing poorly and in
some cases have failed to germinate or have died after emergence.
"Income from doublecropping helps make wheat work for many
producers in the southern half of Illinois, and a poor doublecrop tends to
discourage wheat production," Nafziger said.
As has happened in some previous dry years, wheat might be
the highest-yielding crop for some producers in 2012. With the ongoing
struggles of the corn and soybean crop and good wheat yields, there might be
more interest in planting wheat this fall.
"Even if corn or soybean crops fail or are harvested very
early, we need to resist the temptation to get out and plant wheat earlier than
the ideal time," warned Nafziger. "The best time to plant ranges from mid-September
at the northern edge of Illinois to mid-October at the southern tip. In the
meantime, we can use results from trials to choose good varieties to plant."
Source: Emerson Nafziger, Extension Specialist, Crop Production, email@example.com
Pull date: August 25, 2012