Western Ohio corn and soybean farmers are battling a very wet growing season, limiting the maturity of some crops.
However, they’re not the only Ohio farmers having a hard time. The wet conditions have created quality and harvest issues for soft red winter wheat growers in the state.
The golden fields are good and ready, but this year, there’s a lot of things going against the soft winter wheat crop.
Grower Kent Eddy got a start on his harvest late last week, but rain over the weekend pushed him out of the fields again. “This wheat should have been off right before July 4. It was ripe at that point, but the weather hasn’t permitted it,” Eddy said.
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According to USDA’s Crop Progress report for the week ending July 19, 56% of Ohio’s winter wheat is harvested. That’s 35 percentage points behind the five-year-average. In the Buckeye State, 31% is ranked good, with only six percent excellent.
Farmers in the area are battling some quality issues as well.
“I think the old adage ‘rain makes grain’ doesn’t necessarily do that in Ohio," said Ohio farmer Fred Pond. "Instead, it makes disease."
Fighting raindrops, the crop's health is taking a hit, with lower test weights, sprouting, head scab and vomitoxin all the same year. "I say one out of the five years we have a little vomitoxin problem, but I don’t remember all three in the same year,” Pond said.
Rex Williamson of Williamson Insurance in Payne, Ohio, notes that vomitoxins need to be documented properly, because it's a different story if it goes in the bin.
"With crop insurance and vomitoxin, it has to be more than 2 parts per million before it is considered a problem. Most elevators go with that too," he said. "If it's over 10 parts per million, then it's how are we going to deal with this situation?"
Even while crawling through harvest, Eddy said he’s running at 3.7 parts per million. He expected higher levels, and some places are seeing them, with anywhere from 4 to 12 parts per million.
The higher levels are getting rejected. "Once you get above 10, they don’t want it,” said Eddy.
As a result, farmers may end up resorting to filing a claim with their crop insurance agent.
"It's even stated in the policy that if you have to haul an extra distance, to some extent, the policy will accommodate you on that," Williamson said. "If the wheat is just of no use and it's exposed to toxins, substances that are harmful, it will have to be destroyed. It needs to be destroyed before an indemnity can even be paid on it when we get to the extreme examples."
Eddy said he has already been docked around $1 for some quality issues, but the details of how widespread the problem might be will have to wait until fields dry out and combines get busy.
How are these disease worries affecting yield? Eddy said he thinks the wheat yield could be anywhere from 40 bu. to 90 bu. per acre, and he's seen test weights ranging from 50 to 58 pounds.
Are you seeing any disease issues in your fields? Let us know in the comments or send your photos and observations to AgWeb's Crop Comments.