Short Wheat Does Not Necessarily Mean Reduced Straw Yield

As most wheat across Wisconsin has headed, county agents as well as crop scouts alike are commenting on the overall “shortness” of the 2009 winter wheat crop. It has been well documented that plant height alone is a poor predictor of straw yield. However, Morrison et al. (2007) found a strong relationship among plant height, grain yield, and straw yield in high yielding wheat varieties in Northern Illinois (Predicting Wheat Straw Yields in Northern Illinois). A more critical factor for Wisconsin growers in 2009 would be their planting date. Donalson et al. (2001) found that planting date proved to be a strong driver in increasing straw yield (earlier planting date increased straw yield). In Wisconsin many acres of wheat were planted later than normal due to delayed corn and soybean harvest. Wisconsin growers also experienced significant winter-kill that thinned wheat stands. Though these thin wheat fields did compensate somewhat through increased tillering, straw yields may be reduced.

Edwin Donaldson, William F. Schillinger and Stephen M. Dofing. 2001. S traw Production and Grain Yield Relationships in Winter Wheat. Crop Science. 41:100-106

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