IL winter wheat crop ahead of schedule

A small grains breeder at the University of Illinois says the state’s wheat crop is well ahead of schedule.

Dr. Jessica Rutkoski, assistant professor, tells Brownfield…

“It was really warm in February and March and that got the wheat to come out of winter dormancy much earlier than normal.”  She says, “The crop is about 10 days ahead of what we would normally see in terms of its heading date and anthesis.”

She says farmers who utilized fungicides in that warm window should benefit.

“Everything that I’ve seen has looked amazing.”  She says, “We didn’t have any late spring freezes really. So, conditions are really good. Another good thing is that the grain filling period being a little bit earlier in the season is coinciding with some cooler temperatures. So that could extend the grain filling period.”

Rutkoski says the early maturing wheat crop is also beneficial for farmers planning to double crop soybeans.

“We have more wheat acres than all of our neighbors.”  She says, “Basically, in the East we’re leading the way here. I think a lot of people don’t realize that because they think of Kentucky as being a big wheat state. But in fact, Illinois has more acres of wheat.”

Rutkoski says there are some concerns the wet spring could lead to wheat head scab for the first time in a few years but doesn’t expect widespread issues at this point.

The Illinois Wheat Association hosts its annual yield estimate tour on May 21st to further evaluate the crop.  Details can be found HERE.

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