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2008 Ohio wheat crop seen topping one million acres

Agriculture.com Staff 10/23/2007 @ 6:54am

Wheat planting in Ohio is anticipated to hit a million acres or more this year, thanks to historically high futures market prices and continued production efforts to keep wheat in the crop rotation.

"The reason why acreage is up this year is because of the good prices and the need to maintain crop rotations," says Jim Beuerlein, an Ohio State University Extension agronomist. "Wheat is in such high demand that growers are having a hard time finding seed."

The futures price of wheat is around $6.75 per bushel, nearly $3 more than the historic average, stimulated by low wheat inventories due to poor worldwide production of the 2007 crop. In Ohio, growers harvested 730 million acres of wheat out of 820 million acres planted, with an average statewide yield of 63 bushels per acre. Growers harvested 68 bushels per acre in 2006.

The increased planting prospects come on the heels of an optimistic crop for 2008. Timely planting and continued unseasonably warm weather are giving the new wheat crop a strong performance boost that should produce a very hardy condition going into winter dormancy.

"The wheat crop right now is looking fantastic. Because of the warm weather we've been having, it's growing very rapidly," Beuerlein says. "It should produce adequate tillers before dormancy."

According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 78% of Ohio's wheat is planted, 36% ahead of last year and 18% ahead of the five-year average. More than 30% of the crop has already emerged, 23% ahead of last year and 13% ahead of the five-year average.

Beuerlein says that growers could run into problems if the wheat grows too large (over a foot in height) before going into dormancy. Ohio is already a week late with its first frost. But problems are not likely, he said.

"We really don't see any issues with the rapid growth of the crop. If growers are planting wheat in 15-inch rows then they don't even need to worry about crop size," Beuerlein says.

Wheat planting in Ohio is anticipated to hit a million acres or more this year, thanks to historically high futures market prices and continued production efforts to keep wheat in the crop rotation.

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