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close up of wheat field
YIELD DIPS: Michigan’s average wheat yield was 76 bushels per acre, down 3 bushels from a year earlier.

Wheat yields slightly down; 2019 outlook average

Drought in the Thumb during late May and June greatly reduced the state’s average yield.

Michigan growers harvested 470,000 acres of wheat, up 45,000 acres from 2017. Average yield was 76 bushels per acre, down 3 bushels from a year earlier.

“Overall, disease pressure was very low, with only a few pockets of fusarium head blight and very little stripe rust. Also, preharvest sprouting was not a problem this year,” says Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University wheat systems specialist.

He says drought conditions in the Thumb region during late May and June significantly reduced the state average yield. Grain quality was affected by dry conditions, causing some seed to be aborted and some dried down prematurely.

August and September seed wheat sales in Michigan were up with many varieties selling out.

“Persistent rains delayed dry bean and soybean harvest, which delayed wheat planting,” he notes.

For Michigan, USDA reported 21% of wheat planted by Sept. 30, and 41% of wheat was planted between Oct. 15 and 28.

Pennington says to expect late-planted wheat to have lower yield potential and higher seeding costs due to farmers increasing seeding rates to compensate for late planting

On Nov. 18, only 53% of the wheat crop was rated as “good” or “excellent.”

“The bottom line is I would project 2019 wheat yields to be average at this point.  Early-planted wheat could yield higher,” Pennington says. “It will be important to protect yield potential with proper fertility and disease management in the spring and summer. Farmers should pay attention to market rallies and be ready to act to lock in a profit.”

To see the results of the Michigan 2018 trials, see Michigan Wheat Program’s information Just out! 2018 MSU Variety Trials

Source: GreenStone


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