Wisconsin saw a 37 percent increase in winter wheat acres harvested (315,000) in the 2010 -2011 growing season compared to the previous year. The forecasted yield for the 2011 crop is 68 bu/a, up 4 bu/a from last year. The increase in winter wheat acres was due to timely corn and soybean harvest coupled with increased commodity price. Wheat that was established in a timely manner last fall looked very good to excellent going into winter dormancy; however some areas had delayed emergence and poor fall growth due to dry soil conditions. Late planted wheat suffered from poor tiller development that led to thin stands and weed control problems. Spring growing conditions were mostly favorable across the state; however excessive rainfall did impact wheat in some low lying areas. Warmer-than-normal temperatures in July accelerated crop maturity, however yields were largely unaffected by the hot weather.

Winter wheat yields were variable across our testing locations due to variable rainfall, planting date, and disease pressure. Wheat yields at the Janesville, Lancaster and Arlington, and Chilton locations averaged 86, 102, 97 and 71 bu/a, respectively. Wheat yield and test weight at Chilton was reduced due to variable stands and poor tillering caused by adverse weather conditions (extremely wet and cool early spring) as well as delayed harvest caused by frequent rainfall events. Overall, winter wheat test weights were excellent in 2011. No winterkill was noted at any location in 2011.

As we await the professionally formatted 2011 WI Winter Wheat Performance Test Results please go to www.coolbean.info to view the official draft results. The “official” Extension pub will be reposted when it's completed.