Our editor in Wisconsin, Fran O'Leary, says wheat is maturing and ready to harvest three to four weeks ahead of normal in central Wisconsin. It normally isn't ripe until after mid-July. It's the same trend that has been observed in wheat all the way from southern Indiana north all season long. Wheat matured earlier than normal, driven by fast accumulation of growing degree days.
Growing degree says are a measure of heat units. They are very precise in predicting corn growth, and also have some application to wheat, since it's also a grass crop that it influenced by heat unit accumulation.
O'Leary is concerned about what wheat yields will be like in her area. She is worried that the drought may have caused some wheat to be affected during grain fill.
That could be true there, but it wasn't true in Indiana. Most of the wheat in the Hoosier state matured before very dry conditions set in. In fact the dry weather may have helped offset potential problems with disease that can develop if it is wet and humid while wheat is flowering and developing. Yields into 90 bushels per acre aren't uncommon in central Indiana.
Eric Rife, Beck's Hybrids, says he doesn't yet have official word on how wheat seed will test on germination. However, he expects ample supplies, given the high yields reported by many growers. He believes that seed availability for sowing this fall should not be a problem.Another clue as to what to expect from wheat seed quality, he says, is that he heard virtually no reports of wheat head scab from growers bringing wheat seed into the facility this year. Instead, he says many of the test weights he's heard are very high. Normally if wheat scab is an issue, farmers pass the word along, and test weights are affected. Wheat should have a 60-pound test weight. It's a volume measurement. If too many kernels are affected with head scab, test weight will be lighter than it should be. That's not the case as far as Rife knows this year.