Wheat School: Assessing the impact of drought in winter wheat

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Much of Ontario’s winter wheat has fallen victim to hot, dry, June growing conditions, and yields will likely suffer, reports RealAgriculture agronomist Peter Johnson.

On this episode of the Wheat School, Johnson describes how drought-like growing conditions that brought high temperatures (34 degree days, 24 degree nights) and high winds for the better part of a week in mid-June have sapped the Ontario crop of its high yield potential.

“Just like the people in Kansas have learned for a long time – you get a week of high temperatures and big winds and the wheat crop just shuts down. Unfortunately, that’s what’s happened in Ontario.”

Johnson explains that if the wheat crop has moisture, even at high temperatures, it can transpire and cool itself off. But without moisture it swelters and simply crashes. He adds that under these conditions the traditional grain-filling period is shortened considerably. “Instead of a nice 38-day grain-fill period, we’re back to 30 or less. Yields will be okay, but not a bin buster.”

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