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Indiana Wheat Comes Out of Field

Yield reports variable depending upon field location.

Tom Bechman 1, Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

June 30, 2011

2 Min Read

If fields were wet and ponded, or just not well-drained, wheat didn't respond particularly well and the yield monitor didn't display very high numbers during wheat harvest. While still not complete in Indiana, wheat harvest is moving northward rapidly, as long as the weather permits.

Part of the problem was getting on wet ground. In many locations, farmers worried about waiting until the ground was dry enough to cross without making big ruts. Heavy rains over the past two weeks came at a time when much of the wheat was maturing and ready for harvest. In some cases, they had to consider it a cost of doing business, as soil compaction Gary Steinhardt sometimes says, and harvested the wheat anyway. The wheat needed to come out and doublecrop soybeans plus spraying needed to happen. Stienhardt is an Extension agronomist at Purdue University.

Over all, some farmers estimate wheat harvest is running slightly behind schedule. The same people claim that varieties are ripening slightly later than they normally would this year. Still, those who can get through the field and get wheat out are coming back and doublecroping soybeans as log as they get through the field. This is especially true in southern Indiana where doublecropping is a more accepted practice.

Yield reports are variable. A mid-70's report for Gibson County left the farmer smiling. That's partly because he got soybeans back in the field by June 25. Another farmer says his wetter fields yielded average at best.

However, on a hilly-type field in a different location, where water drains off the field, actually sent the yield monitor over 100 bushels per acre. In fact, the field averaged 100 bushels per acre. The farmer said he applied fungicides and did special things that are recommended for high yields. The performance convinced him this was a year when the key was about keeping the wheat's feet (roots) out of water. When hillier ground outperforms flatter, typically considered better ground, water is usually at the root cause.

What was also surprising about the high-yield, sloping field was that it was no-tilled into corn stalks last fall. Some people don't recommend that as a key practice. However, even though last fall was very dry, the farmer noted that the field did get off to a decent start.

About the Author(s)

Tom Bechman 1

Editor, Indiana Prairie Farm

Tom Bechman is an important cog in the Farm Progress machinery. In addition to serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer, Tom is nationally known for his coverage of Midwest agronomy, conservation, no-till farming, farm management, farm safety, high-tech farming and personal property tax relief. His byline appears monthly in many of the 18 state and regional farm magazines published by Farm Progress.

"I consider it my responsibility and opportunity as a farm magazine editor to supply useful information that will help today's farm families survive and thrive," the veteran editor says.

Tom graduated from Whiteland (Ind.) High School, earned his B.S. in animal science and agricultural education from Purdue University in 1975 and an M.S. in dairy nutrition two years later. He first joined the magazine as a field editor in 1981 after four years as a vocational agriculture teacher.

Tom enjoys interacting with farm families, university specialists and industry leaders, gathering and sifting through loads of information available in agriculture today. "Whenever I find a new idea or a new thought that could either improve someone's life or their income, I consider it a personal challenge to discover how to present it in the most useful form, " he says.

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