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LITTLE ROCK – Winter wheat planting wrapped up in Arkansas a few weeks ago with the
2015 crop looking good as it emerges with no pressing issues. The situation is optimistic
after the state posted its second consecutive record yield, reaching 63 bushels per
acre over a 395,000-acre harvest for 2014, up from 62 bushels the previous year.
“In 2015, the overall grain yields were very good, better than most anticipated with
the cool, wet weather that we experienced for most of the spring,” said Jason Kelley,
extension wheat and small grains agronomist for the University of Arkansas System
Division of Agriculture. Producers usually get their highest yields after a cool dry
spring, so the record yields for 2014 were a pleasant surprise, he said.
The crop received too much rain before and during the harvest. “The highest quality
wheat comes when we have a dry harvest period,” Kelley said. “We had a delayed harvest
due to rainfall in May and June. This in turn reduced the quality of the grain.”
Kelley explained that when rain falls on mature wheat that’s ready for harvest, the
wheat typically ends up with a lower test weight. “Test weights that are below the
standard of 58 pounds per bushes for No. 2 wheat suffered high discounts. The discounts
were substantial in many areas.”
Looking at the 2015 crop that was just planted, Kelley said the wheat acreage is most
likely reduced compared to last year, likely because of lower grain prices and price
prospects at planting.
“Grain prices have fallen dramatically compared to previous years and many are wondering
how they will be able to turn a profit in 2015,” Kelley said. “Wheat producers are
facing the same dilemma this year on how to maximize yields and still minimize input
costs. The obvious answer to that dilemma is to make as high yields as possible with
the same inputs.”
Kelley said that so far the crop doesn’t appear face any major problems with insects
or disease. Ryegrass continues to be the weed that is most troublesome for wheat,
especially on acres where wheat has been previously planted. In those cases, Kelley
recommends herbicides that contain Axiom® or Zidua®. In fields where ryegrass is an
issue, he cautions against broadcast seeding of wheat so producers can have greater
flexibility in selecting herbicides.
For more information about winter wheat production, contact your county extension
office or visit www.uaex.uada.edu.
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
By Dave EdmarkCommunicationsU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Dave EdmarkU of A Division of Agriculture(479) firstname.lastname@example.org