Posts filed under ‘wheat’

Dry Weather and Fall Herbicide Options

OSU’s Dr. Mark Loux provided an overview of dealing with fall herbicide applications during dry conditions in the most recent CORN Newsletter. I have summarized a few basic points below:

  • don’t be in a rush to apply. There is really no risk of less effective control by delaying treatment, even through mid to late November
  • herbicides are more effective on dandelion after a frost in late October or November
  • waiting until early November could also allow for a more informed decision on whether fall treatment is actually necessary

This same thinking can be applied to winter weed management in no-till wheat:

  • postemergence herbicides applied in November,  such as dicamba plus Express (or the equivalent generic product), can be an effective option
  • cautionary note: labels for many wheat herbicides specify that they should not be applied in the fall until wheat has 2 to 3 leaves, which does allow substantial time for growth of weeds that have already emerged

Full podcast available here:

September 28, 2010 at 5:51 pm

Vomitoxin in Wheat – Legal Ramifications for Producers, Buyers

The following article was written by Robert Moore, Wright Law Co. LPA:

The unusually wet spring has predictably caused disease problems in Ohio’s wheat crop.  In addition to head scab and other more common diseases, vomitoxin is being found in this year’s crop.  Vomitoxin is a mycotoxin that causes suppressed appetite in livestock and can be harmful to people as well.

Producers with a Contract

Producers who have a contract with a buyer must look to the contract to determine their rights.  All provisions, including any small print on the back of the contract, must be read entirely before assessing legal rights.  The language of the contract is what matters; any verbal agreements made outside the contract have very little effect in enforcing legal rights.  Even if the producer and buyer agree to certain terms, if the terms do not find their way onto the contract then the parties are probably not bound by the terms.

In regards to Vomitoxin, the key terms are those describing the quality of the wheat required to be delivered.  Contracts usually require No.2 wheat to be delivered.  No. 2 wheat is a grade established by the USDA and may have up to 4% damaged kernels.  The USDA defines damaged kernels as “Kernels, pieces of wheat kernels, and other grains that are badly ground-damaged, badly weather-damaged, diseased, frost-damaged, germ-damaged, heat-damaged, insect-bored, mold-damaged, sprout-damaged, or otherwise materially damaged..”  Therefore, if the only grade standard in the contract is No. 2 Soft Red Wheat, a producer’s wheat should not be rejected or discounted solely for Vomitoxin unless more than 4% of the kernels are diseased or otherwise damaged.  The 4% threshold is the accumulation of all damaged kernels and not just a single type of damage.

Some contracts will include more restrictive grade terms such as “must be suitable for human consumption” or “must meet all FDA guidelines”.  The FDA has not established a minimum threshold for raw wheat for human consumption.  The milling and manufacturing of wheat can reduce vomitoxin levels.  Finished wheat products like flour and bran must contain less than 1 ppm if used for human consumption. The FDA has established a 5 part per million (ppm) threshold for hogs and 10 ppm threshold for cattle and poultry.  Therefore, a miller that requires wheat to meet FDA standards can reject wheat if the flour or other final product would contain more than 1 ppm vomitoxin.  It is important to note that wheat could have less than 4% damaged kernels but have more than  1 ppm vomitoxin.  That is, the USDA No.2 wheat grade is a completely different standard that the FDA’s ppm standard.

Producers that have wheat rejected can have the dual problem of having wheat rejected and still being obligated to fulfill the contract.  A worse case scenario would see a producer not being able to sell his wheat due to high vomitoxin levels while still being required to fulfill his contract obligations for untainted wheat with the elevator.  Typically a buyer will reject the wheat without requiring the producer to fulfill the contract.

Producers without Contracts

A producer who intends to sell a load of wheat to a buyer without a contract has very little legal protection from the corn being rejected.  The buyer is under no obligation to buy the wheat and can simply opt not to buy the wheat for any reasonable reason.  Without a contract, the buyer is not bound to any predetermined grade standards.  Even the smallest amount of vomitoxin in the wheat could cause it to be rejected.

Disputed Grain Samples

Producers have the right to appeal the grain grading determination performed by the elevator.  The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) oversees grain grading procedures and methods and also provides inspection and appeal services.  A producer who disputes the elevator’s grading can send a sample to FGIS and FGIS’ determination will be binding on both parties.  A FGIS office is located in Toledo.  For more details and information on grading appeals, contact FGIS at 419- 893-3076‎.

Crop Insurance

Some crop insurance policies cover Vomitoxin damage. The wheat must be checked by an adjuster while still in the field to avoid tainted wheat from being mixed with untainted wheat in bins.  Many producers opted to not file a claim on their corn crop due to the significant impact on APH.

Future Implications

Will we see grain contracts move away from the USDA No.2 Wheat standard and towards the FDA ppm standard for vomitoxin and other mycotoxins?  Buyers relying on the USDA standard could get stuck buying grain that exceeds the FDA’s ppm standards.  Unless blended with non-tainted grain, this grain would seemingly be unmarketable as it could not be used for human consumption, livestock consumption, and/or export. Producers should anticipate possible changes to grading standards in contracts offered by elevators and other buyers.  A careful reading of all new grain contracts should be a must for producers to make sure they fully understand the quality and grade of grain they are expected to deliver to the buyer.

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June 25, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Crop Insurance and Vomitoxin In Wheat: What are Farmers Options?

The following was written by Chris Bruynis, Assistant Professor/Extension Educator, OSU Extension:

Producers that carry multi-peril crop insurance policies subsidized and reinsured by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (as overseen by the Risk Management Agency (RMA)) may be eligible for quality loss adjustments if the reason for the loss in value is due to a covered event such as the excessive precipitation received this spring. Reports coming from the elevators on harvested wheat indicate that not only are wheat yields lower than expected but vomitoxin levels are high, ranging from 5 – 10 ppm in Northwest Ohio.

In order for producer’s to protect their rights, it is imperative to report any damage in the required time frame and seek advice from the insurance company before proceeding with harvest or destruction of the damaged crop. Failure to do so may jeopardize the claim. Crop insurance policies require that farmers notify their company within 72 hours of noticing a loss. It is important that farmers be proactive in checking their fields to determine if there is any damage to the crop before harvest. Quality adjustments are available for loss in value for conditions such as low test weight, damaged kernels, and shrunken or broken kernels. Discounts made for crop loss purposes may not be the same as those seen at the elevator. For example, quality discounts begin when the test weight is less than 50 pounds, defects are above 15% or grade is U.S. No. 5 or worse.

Any production of extremely poor quality wheat that has a value not located on the discount factor charts in the Special Provisions of Insurance (“off the discount tables”) is adjusted by taking the actual sale price based upon the Reduction In Value divided by the local market price to equal the discount factor for the production. In the event that the production has a Zero-Market Value Production, RMA loss procedures require insurance providers to make every effort to find a market for the production before declaring a zero value. Therefore, insurance providers will not be making declarations of zero market value until they can firmly establish that there is no market for poor quality grain.

Quality adjustments are based on samples obtained by the adjuster or other disinterested parties authorized by the insurance provider, such as an elevator employee. Harvested and delivered production samples taken from each conveyance and then blended may be accepted under certain conditions. If vomitoxin is suspected, the sample must be collected before the grain is placed in storage to be eligible for quality adjustment. The samples should be placed in a heavy paper bag for delivery to an approved laboratory for a determination of whether vomitoxin is present.  There is a minimum number of samples required based on acreage.  For a field of 10 acres or less 3 samples are required: 40 acres or less 4 samples and the one additional sample for every additional 40 acres or fraction thereof.  Examples: 9 acres = 3 samples; 13 acres = 4 samples; 63 acres = 5 samples; 110 acres = 6 samples.

There are special problems that arise when examining quality adjustments such as vomitoxin in wheat.  The first problem is the elevator’s discounts that are applied to the wheat.  They may not align with the calculations determined by RMA, resulting in a discrepancy between the discounts taken by the elevator and the coverage provided from the indemnity payment.  The second problem is the adjustment that occurs to the proven yield for this year’s crop that becomes part of the farm’s 10 year actual production history (APH).  Since price is fixed at the planting or the harvest price, the quality loss adjustment is attributed to the yield.  In the example below, a producer has purchased 4,500 bushels of coverage (45 bu/a) on his 100 acres of wheat. At harvest 40 bu/a were harvested with an average vomitoxin level of 10 ppm. If no quality adjustment is made, the APH for 2010 is 40 bu/a and the indemnity payment is for 500 bushel.  If quality adjustments are made, the APH becomes 20 bu/a in this example and the payment would be for 2,500 bushels.  This difference in yield might lower the farms APH enough to make the increased indemnity payment less attractive, especially if the discount taken at the elevator was significantly less than the calculated loss.


Example of coverage calculation:

Producer has actual production history (APH) of 60 bu/acre

Producer plants 100 acres; elects 75% coverage level

60 bu/acre X 100 acre X 75% = 4,500 bu coverage


Example with no quality adjustment:

Producer harvested 4,000 bu Production to Count (PTC)

4,500 bu coverage – 4,000 bu PTC = 500 bu shortfall

Indemnity based upon 500 bu X price election


Example with quality adjustment:

Producer harvested 4,000 bu Production to Count (PTC)

Production is quality adjusted to 2,000 bu PTC

4,500 bu coverage – 2,000 bu PTC = 2,500 bu shortfall

Indemnity based upon 2,500 bu X price election


Farmers also need to think about the implication on ACRE and SURE in claiming the quality adjustment for crop insurance purposes.  SURE payments are 60% of the difference between the SURE guarantee and all crop revenue.  All crop revenue includes insurance indemnities, prevented planting payments, other federal aid for same loss, 15% of direct payments, all ACRE, counter cyclical, and market loan program payments, and the estimated actual crop revenue from farm.  Taking the quality adjustments would increase the insurance indemnities while lowering the estimated actual crop revenue for a net sum of zero (or close to zero).  In the event there is a 2010 SURE payment, taking the quality adjustment should have minimal impact on the SURE payment.

If the producer has enrolled in ACRE, the farm’s five year Olympic average is used to set the farm trigger.  There is nothing in the literature that would indicate that the quality adjustment would affect the 2010 crop yield used in this calculation. Producers can still use elevator receipts to verify yield so the actual yield before quality adjustments would be used.  Even if the 20 bushel yield in this example was used in calculating the Olympic average, it would be the low year and excluded from the average. This only becomes problematic if there is another very low year in the past five years or in the future.

As a final comment, producers should contact their crop insurance provider as soon as possible to discuss potential losses and receive the correct procedures to follow. This will help insure that the producer can collect an indemnity payment if the conditions warrant.  Just because a producer contacts their crop insurance provider, does not require them to file a claim, if they choose not to following harvest.

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June 25, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Hail Damaged Wheat: Two Week Followup

On May 5, 2010 a hailstorm came through parts of Northwest Ohio and damaged soft red winter wheat in very early heading stage.  At this stage, the concern is assessment of the flag leaf and damage to the wheat head.  Initial assessment on May 7 revealed that 50-80% of flag leaves had been shredded or stems/leaves bent.

Note damage to both the flag leaf and head. May 7, 2010

I revisited the field on May 20, 2010 and the bent flag leaves are dying. Even though some of the flag leaves were not torn/shredded, they were bent from the hail and are not recovering.

Note dying flag leaf. May 20, 2010

Up close examination shows that the sheath, approximately 0.75″ below the flag leaf, has been torn. This ultimately led to the death of the flag leaf.

I am working with the grower to get a harvest yield assessment. The field may yet get destroyed, but we will leave a small area to take to yield.

I’ll update this post in mid-July with some yield data… stay tuned.

An excellent reference on hail damaged wheat available here

May 20, 2010 at 6:40 pm

2010 Ohio Corn, Soybean and Wheat Enterprise Budgets

This article was written by Barry Ward, Production Business Management, OSU Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics:

Budgeting helps guide you through your decision making process as you attempt to commit resources to the most profitable enterprises on the farm. Crops or Livestock? Corn, Soybeans, or Wheat? We can begin to answer these questions with well thought out budgets that include all revenue and costs. Without some form of budgeting and some method to track your enterprises’ progress you’ll have difficulty determining your most profitable enterprise(s) and if you’ve met your goals for the farm.

Budgeting is often described as “penciling it out” before committing resources to a plan. Ohio State University Extension has had a long history of developing “Enterprise Budgets” that can be used as a starting point for producers in their budgeting process.

Newly updated Enterprise Budgets for 2010 have been completed and posted to the Farm Management Website of the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics. Updated Enterprise Budgets can be viewed and downloaded from the following website:

Enterprise Budgets updated so far for 2010 include: Corn-Conservation Tillage; Soybeans-No-Till (Roundup Ready); Wheat-Conservation Tillage, (Grain & Straw).

Our enterprise budgets are compiled on downloadable Excel Spreadsheets that contain macros for ease of use. Users can input their own production and price levels to calculate their own numbers. These Enterprise Budgets have a new look with color coded cells that will enable users to plug in numbers to easily calculate bottoms lines for different scenarios. Detailed footnotes are included to help explain methodologies used to obtain the budget numbers. Starting this year we will be updating these Enterprise Budgets periodically during the year is large changes occur in price or costs. Budgets will include a date in the upper right hand corner of the front page indicating when the last update occurred.

November 2, 2009 at 9:05 am

Increase Wheat Seeding Rate If Late Planting Becomes a Concern

The following is from the October 6, 2009 issue of the OSU CORN newsletter. The article is written by: Pierce Paul, Jim Beuerlein, Edwin Lentz, and Dennis Mills.

The prospect of a late soybean harvest again this year already has some Ohio wheat growers concerned about having to plant wheat later than recommended (Hessian Fly Safe date; between September 22 for northern counties and October 5 for the southern-most counties). Ideally, all the wheat should be planted by the second week of October in order to ensure adequate tiller development before winter dormancy. Due to late soybean harvest, growers in some areas will more than likely be planting wheat well into October. Wheat planted late is at greater risk for poor stand establishment (fewer tillers per foot of row), increased winter kill, and spring heaving. However, this all depends of the weather conditions during the fall and early winter. In any given year, if warmer-than-usual conditions occur during late fall-early winter (freezing weather delayed until early December), even wheat planted as late as the first week of November may still do fairly well.

If late planting becomes an issue, growers should plant at a higher seeding rate than the regularly recommended rate of 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre for 7.5-inch rows (that is about 18 to 24 seeds per foot of row with normal sized seed) to compensate for fewer tiller development in late-planted wheat (during the third and fourth week after the fly-safe date). Plant at a rate of 1.6 to 2.0 million seed per acre instead of the normal seeding rate. The number of seeds per pound and germination rate are important for determining the correct seeding rate and drill calibration. There are fewer seeds per pound of large seeds than per pound of small seeds. The number of seeds per pound can be found on the seed bag. Additionally, late planting also means plants will be smaller than normal when entering dormancy, have smaller and more shallow root systems than normal making them more susceptible to heaving next March. The best heaving control is to place the seed between 1.0 and 1.5 inches deep and to plant no-till. These two practices combined will reduce heaving potential by more than 95 percent. Also, do not increase your fall N rate in an attempt to get more tiller development or larger plants. The recommended 20 to 30 pounds of N will be adequate even at the later planting date. Larger N rates will most likely be lost and not benefit the crop.

Full podcast here:

October 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm 2 comments

Graphical Display of Major US Crops, 2009

Please click on the image for a larger view:

Major US Crops

October 5, 2009 at 1:00 pm 4 comments

Wheat Seeding Rate Tips and Recommendations

In 2008 and 2009 Gary Prill and I conducted wheat seeding rate trials with the objective to evaluate the yield response of one wheat variety to four different planting populations ranging from 1.2 to 2.1 million seeds per acre.

This studies were set up with four different seeding rates replicated up to six times in a randomized complete block design. The seeding rates used the trials were:

  1. 1.2 million seeds/acre
  2. 1.5 million seeds/acre
  3. 1.8 million seeds/acre
  4. 2.1 million seeds/acre

For both 2008 and 2009 the studies were planted following the fly-free date for Van Wert County, Ohio (September 26) using a John Deere 750 no-till drill. The drill was calibrated for the proper seed drop for each target seeding rate based on the seeds per pound seed count on the variety. Plot size was 300 feet long in 2009 and 1070 feet long in 2008. Pre-harvest head counts at harvest time were estimated by counting the number of heads in one foot of row at six separate locations within each plot. These counts were converted to heads per acre. Harvest was accomplished with a John Deere combine equipped with a calibrated AgLeader PF3000 yield monitor. For each plot, grain weight was determined with a calibrated weigh wagon. Moistures were taken from the yield monitor average reading for each plot. All yields were adjusted to 13.5% moisture.


Treatment                     Yield (2009)            Yield (2008)

1.2 M seeds/acre                   97                               93

1.5 M seeds/acre                   99                               96

1.8 M seeds/acre                   99                               96

2.1 M seeds/acre                 101                               97

M = million; yields reported in bushels/acre

There were no statistical differences (P=0.05) among the treatments for moisture, yield, or head count. The head counts taken in this study would indicate that lower seeding rates were able to produce comparable number of heads per acre, and comparable yields to the higher seeding rates. From an economic standpoint, each 300,000 seeds/acre increase in the seeding rate increased seed cost by $6.75 per acre. This is based on the 2009 seed cost of $31.50 for 1,400,000 seeds. This would require an additional 1.7 bushel/acre yield increase to pay for each additional 300,000 seeds planted based on a harvest time market price of $4.00 per bushel for wheat.

According to Ohio State University agronomists, the optimum seeding rate is 1.2 to 1.6 million seeds per acre (18 to 24 seeds per foot of 7.5-inch row) when planting during the two weeks following the fly-safe date. During the third and fourth week after the fly-safe date, the optimumseeded rate is 1.6 to 2.0 million seeds per acre (24 to 30 seeds per foot of row).

Full studies available here-

2009: 2009 Wheat Seeding Rate Report

2008: 2008 Wheat Seeding Rate Report

Full podcast here:

September 23, 2009 at 8:20 am

Winter Wheat Pest: Wheat Stem Maggot

My colleague and friend, Glen Arnold, stumbled across a pest of winter wheat that I was unfamiliar: wheat stem maggot. Thanks to Greg LaBarge for the correct identification.

Glen indicated that 5% of the wheat field had “bleached heads”.

Closeup of the white, bleached wheat heads.

Damage caused by maggots feeding in the upper portion of the stem cuts off nutrient flow and the heads turn a whitish color.

The farmer indicated the variety was bin-run wheat with no seed treatment planted about October 1st, 2008, following corn. The field was topdressed with urea but no fungicides or insecticides have been applied. The wheat field looked normal prior to heading. The bleached heads are dead but the plant looks healthy. No other fields in the area seem to have these symptoms.

The heads easily pull out from the top of the plant and look rotten where they attach to the plant. Wheat stem maggot larvae overwinter in grass species. The females lay one egg per stem near the flag leaf. The larvae burrow into the stem, killing the upper part of the stem and the head. This pest does not cause widespread damage to winter wheat in Ohio and chemical controls are not recommended at this stage.


June 18, 2009 at 7:30 am

Tips on Assessing Wheat Disease

The May 1, 2009 issue of Purdue’s Pest and Crop newsletter had a really good article on assessing wheat disease. In the article Kiersten Wise discusses how wind damage can mimic certain wheat diseases, such as powdery mildew.  Wheat plant samples were submitted to Purdue University for diagnosis:

The wheat samples in question had gray to brown flecking on the leaves that resembled powdery mildew. After careful inspection, the cause of the leaf flecking was ruled to be wind damage rather than disease. Inspecting wheat leaves with a hand lens can help determine if the spots on the leaves are caused by a fungus. The fungus that causes powdery mildew will produce white fluffy strands of fungal growth, known as mycelia, on the leaf tissue.

In Ohio, according to OSU Pathologist Dr. Pierce Paul, stagonospora leaf and glume blotch, powdery mildew, and leaf rust are the most important yield-reducing leaf diseases. Of these, stagonospora leaf and glume blotch are most common statewide and powdery mildew is most common in the northeast, east central and south central parts of the state.

Tips on wheat disease diagnosis can be obtained from the Ohio Field Crop Disease web site

Full podcast available here:

May 6, 2009 at 7:30 am

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