Crop Sciences Special Report 2001-01
July 2001

Emerson D. Nafziger, Darin K. Joos, and Ralph W. Esgar
Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana

The 2000-01 wheat crop was planted on time, and under relatively good soil conditions, following a 2000 crop that yielded well, but that was damaged considerably by excessive rainfall in June and July, 2000, with a great deal of damage to grain quality (low test weights), and some serious problems in getting doublecrop soybeans planted. The unusually heavy snow and cold weather in November and December 2000 did little harm to the crop, and the dry spring weather in 2001 was a great advantage in decreasing disease pressure. Still, planted acreage fell sharply to less than 800,000 acres, probably due to wheat crop problems in 2000 and to unusually high yields of other crops - especially corn - in much of Southern Illinois in 2000.

The weather in the spring of 2001 was dry through April and the first half of May, with cool temperatures after rains resumed. As a result, it was probably the most disease-free crop we have had in at least 20 years. Unfortunately, fall armyworms attacked the wheat with a vengeance in many areas of the state, often causing serious defoliation before they were detected. Some fields were treated with insecticide, but often not in time to prevent damage. Grainfilling was rapid due to favorable conditions, and test weights were the highest we have seen in Illinois in years. As a result, the statewide yield averaged 60 bushels per acre, which is the second-highest (after 61 in 1999) ever in Illinois. It is possible that this will increase slightly before the final figure is recorded.

Plots in these variety trials were seeded at the rate of 36 seeds per square foot, and consisted of six 7.5-inch rows trimmed to about 15 feet long before harvest. There were three replications. Yields were corrected to 13.5% moisture. There was some armyworm damage at Belleville and Urbana, and this damage appeared to be worse on certain varieties. Overall, though, this did not seem to affect yield much even in the varieties with most damage.

Location Cooperators Soil Type Planted N fertilizer Harvest
Dixon Springs

Steve Ebelhar
Ron Hines

silt loam
Oct.12 40 Fall
75 Spring
June 13
Belleville Ed Varsa
Ron Krausz
silt loam
Oct. 12 40 Fall
70 Spring
June 18
Brownstown Adam Anderson
Lindell Deal
silt loam
Oct. 13 40 Fall
June 25
Orr Center Glenn Rainess
Mike Vise
silt loam
Oct. 2 40 Fall
60 Spring
June 26
Urbana Bob Dunker
Mike Kleiss
silt loam
Oct. 2 40 Fall
60 Spring
June 27
DeKalb Lyle Paul
Dave Lindgren
silty clay loam
Sept. 29 40 Fall
60 Spring
July 12