Coastal Plain Wheat Crop Saved by Mowing

NC State Extension along with the North Carolina Small Grains Association hosted four small grain field days around the state in the past couple of weeks. Each region presented its own challenges and issues, particularly after 2011 was billed as one of the most perfect wheat growing seasons anyone could ask for.

NC State Extension Small Grain Specialist Dr. Randy Weisz says the Coastal Plain had the most issues this year, starting with tall, wooly wheat, which, back in January at the Joint Grains Conference, he recommended mowing, if grazing wasn’t feasible. Weisz describes how mowing probably saved the crop:

“The mowing definatley held the wheat back, and that was important. For the most part it prevented a lot of the wheat from falling down, and I don’t think they’d have the crop now if they hadn’t mowed it, it would have lodged, and they would have lost it. Rust was such a serious problem in the coastal Plain, it didn’t matter whether you mowed or not. I think many parts of the Coastal Plain, any variety with any degree of resistance got rust and fungicides were required almost every where in the eastern part of North Carolina this year.”

“I know it’s a little early…harvest numbers looking like they’re probably going to be good?”

“I think so. There’s some people that’s saying they think their wheat looks better than last year, which is amazing, and lot of the wheat I’m looking at isn’t 100 bushel wheat like last year, but looks like really nice yields. So, I think we’re looking at a good crop with lots of acres.”

“Outstanding! Alright, anything you’d like to add?”

“I hope people don’t delay their harvest, get their wheat harvested early and on time.”

Tuesday’s field day tours had to be postponed due to wet conditions at the Piedmont Research Station near Salisbury. Weisz says that when the more than 1,500 plots are harvested, and the data tabulated, it will be available, probably in July for anyone who would like to have it. Weisz suggested contacting him via email to receive a copy of that report. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.