Crop Sciences Special Report 2003-01

July 2003


Emerson D. Nafziger, Darin K. Joos, Ralph W. Esgar, and Brian R. Henry

Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana


With only 650,000 acres of wheat harvested in Illinois in 2002 and an average yield of only 49 bushels per acre, there was concern that acreage would continue its downward slide. However, disastrously dry weather in most of Southern Illinois resulted in low corn and soybean yield, with higher average wheat yields than corn yields in a few counties. This, along with a recovery in wheat price, led to increased interest in wheat among producers, and planted acreage in 2002-03 recovered to 800,000 in the State.


The fall of 2002 was relatively cool and dry, and wheat got off to a rather slow start, with less than average amounts of tillering and ground cover before dormancy. The crop came through the winter well, in part because it stayed cold, without repeated freezing and thawing cycles. Early spring weather was extremely favorable, with cool, dry weather in March and April. It was rainy and cool through much of May, with many wheat fields in Southern Illinois saturated at points during May and June. Despite wet conditions, there were not serious problems with leaf and head diseases in most fields, probably due to cool temperatures and low inoculant loads. Fusarium head scab was an exception, but it was at high levels in only some fields. The weather in late May and early June remained cool, with enough good, sunny days to result in very high yields. The estimated yield on 780,000 acres harvested this year is 62 bushels per acre – the highest ever in Illinois – according to the July estimates. Final yield could be even higher. Farmer field yields in the range of 120 bu/acre have been reported. As you will see in this report, a wheat variety at DeKalb topped 150 bu/acre this year, and all but a few varieties in the Northern region produced regional average yields of more than 100 bu/acre. With regard to wheat, Central and Northern Illinois, and parts of Southern Illinois, looked almost like Europe in 2003.


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 16 feet long before harvest. There were three replications. Yields were corrected to 13.5% moisture. As there were few diseases to rate, we did not take systematic ratings at any of the locations. But this year, we are including Fusarium head scab ratings from Dr. Fred Kolb’s misted, inoculated scab trial at Urbana. This trial included some of the commercial entries in our variety trials.




Soil Type
N fertilizer
Dixon Springs

Steve Ebelhar
Ron Hines

silt loam
Oct.15 40 Fall
75 Spring
June 24
Belleville Ed Varsa
Ron Krausz
silt loam
Oct. 15 40 Fall
70 Spring
June 25
Brownstown Lindell Deal Cisne
silt loam
Oct. 9 40 Fall
June 25
Orr Center Glenn Raines
Mike Vose
silt loam
Oct. 1 40 Fall
60 Spring
July 1
Urbana Bob Dunker
Mike Kleiss
silt loam
Sept. 26 40 Fall
40 Spring
July 4
DeKalb Lyle Paul
Dave Lindgren
silty clay loam
Sept. 25 40 Fall
40 Spring
July 14









Participating Companies


Following is a list of addresses and phone numbers of companies that entered wheat varieties in the 2003 University of Illinois trials reported in this publication. We thank these companies for their support of this program, which is designed as a neutral comparison of all wheat varieties available for production in Illinois.



AgriPro Seeds, Inc.                                                       Miles Seed

Box 411 East 8th St.                                                     P.O. Box 22879

Brookston, IN 47923                                                     Owensboro, KY 42304

(765) 563-3111                                                             (800) 685-0877


Armor Seed Co.                                                           Ohio Seed Improvement Assn.

P.O. Box 178                                                                6150 Avery Rd

Fisher, AR 72429                                                          Dublin, OH 43013

(870) 328-7222                                                             (614) 889-1136


Beck’s Hybrids                                                              Pioneer Hi-Bred Int’l.

6767 E. 276th St.                                                          14171 Carole Drive

Atlanta, IN 46031                                                           Bloomington, IL 61704

(317) 984-3508                                                             (800) 950-3489


DeRaedt Seeds, Inc.                                                     Royster-Clark, Inc.

10 N 971 Tower Road                                                   999 Waterside Drive

Hampshire, IL 60140                                                     Norfolk, VA 23510

(847) 464-5553                                                              (800) 776-0665


Diener Seeds, Inc.                                                         Steyer Seeds

371 N. Diener Rd.                                                          6154N Co Rd 33

Reynolds, IN 47980                                                       Tiffin, OH 44883

(219) 984-5837                                                              (419) 992-4570


Excel Brand Seeds                                                        Syngenta Seeds, Inc.

Box 320                                                                          P.O. Box 1240

Camp Point, IL 62320                                                    Winterville, NC 28590

(217) 593-7708                                                              (252) 746-3004


GROWMARK, Inc.                                                         UAP Richter Co.

1701 Towanda Ave.                                                       P.O. Box 230

Bloomington, IL 61701                                                   Pittsfield, IL 62363

(309) 557-6399                                                              (800) 533-8309


JGL, Inc.                                                                        Wilken Seed Grains, Inc.

3540 S. US 231                                                             P.O. Box 770

Greencastle, IN 46135                                                   Pontiac, IL 61764

(765) 6535-5402                                                            (815) 844-3458


Lewis Hybrids, Inc.                                                         

P.O. Box 38                                                                   

Ursa, IL 62376                                                               

(800) 252-7851