Small-grain experts to speak at local field day

In two to three weeks, farmers in the area will be harvesting this year’s wheat crop. At this time, the local crop looks very good. Wheat yields have the potential to be above average if temperatures stay below 90 degrees and excessive precipitation does not occur at harvest time.

Wheat is the third-largest grain crop grown in Ohio. However, wheat acres have been decreasing in Ohio and adjacent states, as corn and soybeans have become more profitable for farmers. Ohio still produces more soft red winter wheat than any other state.

Wheat acres have also been in decline in our area. In Hancock County alone, farmers traditionally grew about 40,000 acres of wheat. Today, about 20,000 acres are grown.

Many factors have caused this decline in recent years: better prices for corn and soybean grain, high land rents, delayed soybean harvests, poor planting conditions, poor harvest conditions and Fusarium head scab infestations. Even with these issues, northwest Ohio still produces most of the wheat for the state.

There is a concern that the wheat acres will continue to decline and cropping systems will become less diverse. Monoculture systems — or systems only growing a few different crops — are more susceptible to pest problems, more vulnerable to market fluctuations, and tend to be more destructive on soil health.

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