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Ohio Wheat Evaluation Part 2 - Some Green, Some Not. Why?

Last week I met our regional product specialist, Mark Apelt, at L & S wheat plot in Pandora, OH to revisit our initial wheat evaluation from earlier this spring.

The wheat is now greened up, however, some fields that looked great when we first scouted them in late March now have parts of the field that are now dead. The question is, “why?”     

To answer that question, let’s start by comparing a few things we noticed from 2014 to 2015:

The ground thawed out around March 13 in 2015 and around March 19 in 2014 based on the 2 in. ground temperatures remaining fairly consistent prior to those dates.

When you look at the average minimum and maximum soil temperatures at the 2 in. depth in 2015, you will notice there were higher highs and lower lows compared to 2014. In other words, soil temperature variations were greater in 2015.

In addition, there were six occurrences in 2015 where the ground temperatures at the 2 in. depth fell below 32ºF, while there were only four in 2014. Those four times in 2014 occurred within eight days of the ground thawing out, while in 2015 it was 15 days later.

A hard freeze of wet soils occurred on March 28, 2015.

Within two weeks of the hard frost on March 28, I started seeing dead spots in the field. The main factor causing this wheat to be injured or killed was that it broke dormancy before this hard freeze, unlike 2014 in which the freeze was within about a week of the ground thawing out.         

The carcasses that are left are evidence of the plants that did survive winter, but were probably killed in this event.

We are seeing greater injury in some fields versus others, with the more injured fields sharing some common characteristics. These include:

Field areas that were planted shallower because of a drill following a wheel track.

Later planted fields which did not get a lot of fall growth due to cold fall temperatures.

Not much nitrogen or phosphorus was applied in the fall to promote fall growth.

Shallow planting depth which caused more heaving to occur.

Genetics - some genetics have a tendency to develop their nodal root systems in the fall versus the spring. This becomes more evident when we see more freeze-thaw cycles.

For additional photos, please
visit the full article posted on the Beck's Hybrids Blog

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