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Agronomic Crops Network

Ohio State University Extension


Wheat Production

Variety Selection  Producing Wheat in 15-Inch Rows
High-Quality Seed and Seed Treatment  Fertilization
Crop Rotation  Nutrient Value of Wheat Straw
Land Selection and Preparation  Disease Management
Planting Date  Insect Control 
Seedling Practices Weed Control

Ohio is a leading state in the production of soft red winter wheat and enjoys an outstanding reputation for the quality of its crop. Flour made from soft red winter wheat is superior for making cakes, crackers, cookies and all sorts of pastries. Any contamination from hard red wheat or soft white wheat in marketing channels reduces its market value and the quality of flour made from it. 

Attempting to produce ultra-high yields by using extra inputs is not always profitable for most Ohio wheat producers. That is because the climate of Ohio limits maximum wheat productivity. Most years, Ohio’s weather is too wet in May and June, resulting in diseases and yield loss. June and July are usually too hot and kill the crop well before it has time to reach its maximum yield potential. When we have one of those rare dry springs with low disease levels followed by a cool June, the yields of some fields have reached 120 bushels per acre or more. Because those good growing seasons are rare, we should manage for the more normal weather. It is the weather that usually prevents us from taking advantage of high management inputs such as high seeding rates and extra nitrogen. 

The most prudent production system is one of defensive management: planting after the fly-safe date to dodge diseases, holding seeding and nitrogen rates down to reduce disease and production cost, using resistant varieties, applying fungicides only when warranted (weather conditions are favorable and varieties are susceptible), etc. This management system will not produce the maximum possible yield in those really good years, but it will be the most profitable system for all those other years (the norm) when the weather is not ideal for maximum yields. 

High yields and low production cost are necessary for wheat to be a viable economic partner in the crop-rotation sequence. Increased profitability will only come from improved management. The guidelines presented here will help minimize the factors limiting wheat yields and also lower production costs. Additional specific information on wheat can be obtained at Ohio State University Extension offices or on the internet at: