Southeastern Winter Wheat Nearing Finish Line

It’s been one of the toughest wheat crops in recent memory, but we’re finally into the home stretch, and Randy Weisz, NC State Extension small grain specialist says harvest could be begin as early as next week:

“We are coming down the home stretch. I think harvest will be underway in most parts of the state in the next 7-14 days.”

Hessian fly was a bigger problem this year than most explains Weisz:

“We had fields in parts of the tidewater and parts of the central and southern coastal plain that had more Hessian fly than normal. They really did a number on the fall tillers and the wheat attempted to compensate with more tillers. Those were impacted by the wet weather and flooding. And on top of that there was freeze damage.”

Consequently, Weisz says there will be some acres of abandoned wheat and replaced with full-season soybeans, but Weisz feels the number of abandoned acres won’t be more than average.

Weisz projects the yields:

“I think we will see a lot of variability in yields. There is a lot of wheat in the Piedmont that looks really good and some of those fields will be the best yielding with close to 90 bushels per acre. And others where we have had flooding and freezing and fly damage, might be down in the 45 range. In general yields will be a bit lower this year.”

If hessian fly was a problem in this year’s wheat, Weisz has these two recommendations:

“We have probably had more hessian fly this year than normal because of all of the abandoned wheat last year that either wasn’t harvested or was harvested so late that the double crop beans didn’t fallow it. The flies remained in that wheat residue ready to look for this year’s wheat crop.

If growers had problems this year, they can consider a hessian fly resistant variety. We are updating that information in July when the variety performance newsletter is released. The best defense against the fly is a resistant variety, as is considering an insecticidal seed treatment can work as well.”

NC State Extension small Grain specialist Dr. Randy Weisz



A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.