University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Variety Testing
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Crop Sciences Special Report 2002-01
July 2002

 Emerson D. Nafziger, Darin K. Joos, and Ralph W. Esgar

Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana


There was widespread rainfall in early October, 2001, and as a result, the 2002 wheat crop was planted slightly later than normal, and often under wetter than ideal soil conditions. Planted acreage fell again, to 680,000 from 800,000 acres the previous year. This occurred despite the fact that both yields (statewide average of 60 bushels per acre) and quality in 2001 were very good, and doublecrop soybeans also performed quite well. The problem, of course, is that wheat prices continued to lag, making it difficult for producers to see wheat as a crop with high profit potential. Wet fall weather further contributed to the decline in acres. 

The winter of 2001-02 was relatively mild, and even though wheat got a rather slow start in the fall, it came through the winter well, having produced some additional growth and tillers before cold weather ended. The spring weather was not very favorable, however. It was rainy and cool through much of March, April, and May, with most wheat fields saturated at points during the spring, resulting in standing water damage, loss of nitrogen, and uneven growth. The main disease problem in most areas was barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV), which was spread by aphids, in the fall or in the spring, or perhaps in both seasons. This disease caused uneven, ragged-looking growth in susceptible varieties, especially where the disease occurred along with injury from saturated soils. Despite wet conditions, there were not serious problem with leaf and head diseases in most fields, probably due to cool temperatures and low inoculant loads. The weather in late May and early June turned warm and dry, resulting in rapid fill. As a result, test weights were good, but yields, responding to the very wet soil conditions in the spring, averaged only 50 bushels per acre, down 10 bushels from 2001. 

Plots in these variety trials were seeded at the rate of 36 seeds per square foot, and consisted of six 7.5-inch rows trimmed to about 16 feet long before harvest. There were three replications. Yields were corrected to 13.5% moisture. As there were few diseases to rate, we did not take systematic ratings at any of the locations. Unfortunately, the trial at Brownstown was so badly damaged by standing water that we decided it would impossible to get useful data from it, and so we abandoned it.


Soil Type
N fertilizer
Dixon Springs

Steve Ebelhar
Ron Hines

silt loam
Oct.21 40 Fall
75 Spring
June 19
Belleville Ed Varsa
Ron Krausz
silt loam
Oct. 21 40 Fall
70 Spring
June 20
Brownstown Adam Anderson
Lindell Deal
silt loam
Oct. 9 40 Fall
Not harvested
Orr Center Glenn Raines
Mike Vose
silt loam
Oct. 3 40 Fall
60 Spring
July 1
Urbana Bob Dunker
Mike Kleiss
silt loam
Oct. 4 40 Fall
60 Spring
July 2
DeKalb Lyle Paul
Dave Lindgren
silty clay loam
Sept. 27 40 Fall
60 Spring
July 10