BISMARCK, N.D. - This year's winter wheat variety trials show that early summer heat may have done more good than harm for this year's crop in North Dakota and South Dakota. According to Ducks Unlimited Agronomist Steve Dvorak, abnormally warm temperatures in June and July did suppress some winter wheat yield in the 2012 Winter Cereals: Sustainability in Action test plots, but yields were still well above average.
The results suggest the early heat stress did more to help with protein deposition than it did to limit yields, Dvorak said. The combination of high yields and protein also suggests that more nitrogen was mineralized from soil organic matter than is typical.
Dvorak explained that the increased nitrogen availability was likely due to a combination of the relatively warm soil temperatures through the winter months, the early breaking of spring and the continued above-normal temperatures extending throughout the summer.
With the heat, early varieties generally out-performed later varieties in all areas, except the extreme northeastern part of North Dakota, he said.
The winter wheat plots also had very little disease pressure this year from tan spot or head scab. Varieties with good 'disease packages' were not as dominant as they have been the last few years, Dvorak said. However some varieties, such as CDC Falcon, that normally have not been as competitive because of susceptibility to disease, had resurgence in performance this year.
More test plot information available at wintercereals.us.