Cooler weather a boon for wheat crop

The last two-plus weeks have ?really been a godsend? for the area wheat crop, according to Rickey Roberts, Marion County agriculture extension agent.

Roberts is much more optimistic that the county will have at least average to only slightly below average wheat yields, mostly due to the cooler temperatures, although the rain was beneficial, too.

?I?m much more optimistic than I was back then,? Roberts said. ?Back about the 8th to 10th of May, we were up to 95 degrees, and we were losing a lot of yield potential in two days.

?Since then, we?ve really been cool, and that?s what?s really, really saved our bacon. It?s just been a saving grace that we?ve cooled down to some highs around 68 degrees.

?Wheat is a cool-season crop,? he added. ?The rain was huge for us, but it was really the cool weather that saved the wheat.?

Roberts said the wheat heads have been filling over that two-week period, and the cool weather put a stop to the chance of filling failure that would have produced empty or partially empty heads.

Roberts said extension personnel, here for wheat tours on May 18 and 23, told him Marion County wheat looks better than wheat hurt by dry weather in many other areas of the state.

The drier, cooler weather this year also suppressed disease development, and Roberts said Marion County wheat yields should benefit from very little reduction due to disease.

He expects warmer, normal weather over the next two weeks going into harvest.

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