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'LI E> RARY

OF THE

UNIVERSITY
OF 1LLI NOIS

630. T



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CIRCULATING COPY



SPRING^WHEAT



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Early seeding is essential to the success of spring
wheat in Illinois. This is especially true in the
central and southern parts of the state, where
favorable weather lasts but a relatively short time.



Bulletin 483
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION



CONTENTS

PAGE

EARLY SEEDING ESSENTIAL 531

SEED 6 TO 8 PECKS AN ACRE 534

SOW WITH DRILL IN GOOD SEEDBED 535

CHOOSE BEST ADAPTED VARIETY 535

CONSIDER PROBABLE INSECT DAMAGE 538

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS.. . 540



Urbana, Illinois February, 1942

Publications in the Bulletin series report the results of investigations made
or sponsored by the Experiment Station



Spring Wheat: Adaptability for Illinois

By G. H. DUNGAI? and W. L. BURLISON'

AVERSE WEATHER conditions for winter wheat often cause
growers to consider sowing spring wheat in a predominantly
winter-wheat area. This happens especially when winter wheat
freezes out, as it did on a wide scale in 1927-28, and when wet weather
in the fall prevents the seeding of winter wheat, as it did in 1941.

Under normal conditions the acreage of spring wheat in Illinois
is limited and is confined mainly to the northeastern part of the
state (Fig. 1). During the fifteen years 1927-1941 the acreage in the
state sowed to spring wheat was only about 4.4 percent of that sowed
to winter wheat.

According to the state average, spring wheat yielded 16.8 bushels
an acre compared with 17.6 bushels for winter wheat during 1927-
1941. State-wide average yields do not, however, show the compara-
tive producing ability of these two grains nearly so well as experi-
mental plantings on the same field. Such tests have been made in
northern, central, and southern Illinois (Table 1). On the northern
Illinois experiment field winter and spring wheats have been grown
in the same rotation for fifteen years. In central Illinois the two kinds
of wheat have not been grown in the same rotation but they have been
grown on soils of similar productive capacity. At Alhambra in south-
western Illinois, spring and winter wheat have been grown in the same
rotation thru five seasons.

Even in northern Illinois, where the crop is best adapted, spring
wheat produced only about two-thirds as much as winter wheat. Its
yield in central Illinois was slightly better altho it was only three-
fourths that of winter wheat. In southern Illinois, which is entirely
outside the spring- wheat area, the yield of spring wheat was less than
one-third that of winter wheat.

EARLY SEEDING ESSENTIAL

Spring wheat needs to make its growth largely before hot weather
sets in. Also the relatively short days of early spring favor stooling.
Early seeding is therefore essential to the success of this crop, espe-

J G. H. DUNCAN, Chief in Crop Production; and W. L. BURLISON, Chief
in Crop Production.

531



532



BULLETIN No. 483



[February,



cially in the central and southern parts of the state, where weather
favorable for this crop lasts but a relatively short time. Since spring
wheat can endure a great deal of cold there is little, if any, danger
from low temperatures when seeding is done especially early. Occa-
sionally a heavy rain or snow following early seeding may puddle the




Fig. 1. Acreage of spring wheat in Illinois. Each complete dot represents
100 acres planted to spring wheat as an average for 1939 and 1940. (Figures
were secured from the Illinois Cooperative Crop Reporting Service, Illinois De-
partment of Agriculture cooperating with the U. S. Department of Agriculture.)



SPRING WHEAT: ADAPTABILITY FOR ILLINOIS



533



TABLE 1. YIELDS OF SPRING AND WINTER WHEAT ON EXPERIMENT FIELDS IN
NORTHERN, CENTRAL, AND SOUTHERN ILLINOIS



Location of field


Years
compared


Average acre-yield


Yield of
spring wheat
in relation
to winter
wheat


Spring
wheat


Winter
wheat


Northern Illinois (DeKalb. Mt. Morris) . . .
Central Illinois (I'rbanu)


15 (1927-41)
15 (1927-41)
5 (1937-41)


bu.
18.4

25.1
7.4


bit.
28.1

33.4*
25.6


percl.
65.5

75.1
28.9


Southern Illinois (Alhambra)





This includes 1927-28. when the crop was completely winterkilled.



soil to a considerable depth and make emergence so difficult that poor
stands result.

When weather and soil conditions do not permit early seeding it is
advisable to substitute some other crop for spring wheat, especially in
central and southern Illinois, because there is danger of a complete
crop failure. Even when delayed seeding does not result in a crop
failure it lowers the yield and quality of the grain, as has been shown
by tests made at Urbana during 1918-1922 (Table 2). A delay of
eleven days after March 4 reduced the yield 4.2 bushels, or about 16
percent. About one month's delay from March 4 to April 8 reduced
the yield 7.8 bushels, or 29 percent. Holding off seeding until after
the middle of April sometimes results in a complete crop failure or a
yield so low that the grower gets little more back than the amount of
seed he sowed.

To illustrate the importance of early seeding an experience on the
Alhambra field in 1928 may be cited. Since winter wheat had failed
spring wheat was substituted. On March 2, Illinois 1 was broadcast
without any further seedbed preparation. At that time the soil was

TABLE 2. DATE OF SEEDING SPRING WHEAT AS IT AFFECTS YIELD AND QUALITY
OF GRAIN AT URBANA, 1918-1922



Average date of
seeding


Number of
trials


Acre-yield


Test weight
per bushel


Heads Infected
with scab*


March 4


g


bu.
26 7


Ib.
57.7


perct.
1.5


March 15 .


8


22.5


56.4


3.4


March 26


6


19.1


55.4


6.5


April 8. . .


5


18.9


56.1


14.8


April 23


4


10.3

















Data on scab infection were obtained in 1918 only.



534



BULLETIN No. 483



[February,



thawed to a depth of about 2 inches and was excessively moist. In
fact the surface was so soft that the impact of the wheat kernels as
they fell from the broadcast seeder was sufficient to embed them in the
soil. Hence a tillage implement was not used to cover the seed. A




Fig. 2. A good seedbed in which spring wheat has been drilled. The

ground was prepared by plowing cornstalk land in the fall and by double-disking
and harrowing before the seed was drilled. (Photographed April 5, 1940)



fair stand was obtained and a crop averaging 15.4 bushels an acre was
harvested. The results indicate that, with early seeding, a fair yield
of spring wheat may be secured even in southern Illinois, where the
crop is not considered to be adapted.



SEED 6 TO 8 PECKS AN ACRE

On the Illinois experiment fields spring wheat was seeded at ap-
proximately 8 pecks per acre. Considerable variation from this rate
does not greatly affect yield. Since early seeding gives the plants more
opportunity to tiller it can perhaps be done at a slightly lower rate than
later seeding.

To control seedling blight and stinking smut all seed should be
treated before sowing with some good organic mercury dust. 1

'See Illinois Circular 444, "Seed Treatments for Farm Crops," by
Benjamin Koehler, 1936.



1942] SPRING WHEAT: ADAPTABILITY FOR ILLINOIS 535

SOW WITH DRILL IN GOOD SEEDBED

When spring wheat follows corn in the rotation, as is usually the
case, the cornstalks should be plowed under well, preferably in the
fall if this conforms to good soil-conservation practice in the area.
Plowing not only incorporates the stalk residues in the soil but it is
also an important step in the control of the scab disease of cereals and
the European corn borer. Fall-plowed cornfields and soybean stubble
require only double-disking and harrowing in the spring to fit them
for the drill.

Ordinarily drilling is preferred to broadcasting because drilling con-
serves seed, secures its even distribution, and puts it at a uniform
depth (Fig. 2). However, in order to get wheat seeded early, it may
at times be advisable to sow with an endgate seeder and cover the seed
with a disk and harrow. When the seed is broadcast, the rate should
be increased to 9 or 10 pecks an acre.

CHOOSE BEST ADAPTED VARIETY

To find the varieties of spring wheat best suited to different parts
of the state, variety trials have been conducted annually by the Illinois
Station at three locations. Data on the yield in the different sections
are summarized in Tables 3, 4, and 5, and a description of the varieties
grown in the yield tests is given in Table 6.

On the basis of these tests Sturgeon, Progress, and Illinois 1 are
recommended for the entire state.

Northern Illinois. Of the five varieties yielding highest on the
northern experiment fields at DeKalb and Mt. Morris, Progress,
Sturgeon, and Illinois 1 are recommended. Garnet and Triumph, tho
high yielding, produce grain low in bread-making quality.

Four varieties Merit, Premier, Rival, and Pilot which have
been tested for two years only, show considerable promise. They have
yielded above the average and are resistant to stem rust. With the
exception of Merit they are also resistant to leaf rust.

Central Illinois. Varieties that have produced above the average
thru three or more years' tests at Urbana in central Illinois are:
Triumph, General San Martin, Garnet, White Australian, Reward,
Purdue W38, Sturgeon, Progress, and Illinois 1. Purdue W38 is
resistant to the scab disease and to attacks of the spring brood of the
hessian fly.

Rival and Premier, varieties tested for two years only, seem to be
promising for this area.



536



BULLETIN No. 483





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538 BULLETIN No. 483 [February,

TABLE 5. SOUTHERN ILLINOIS: YIELDS OF VARIETIES OF SPRING WHEAT

AT ALHAMBRA, 1937-1941
(Bushels per acre; date of seeding indicated under year)



Bushels
above (+)








or below














Rank




Variety


(-)


Average


1937


1938


1939


1940


1941








average


yield


Apr. 13


Apr. 21


Mar. 22


Apr. 1


Mar. 25








of all




















varieties*














1


General San Martin . . .


+3.3


16.6




3 4


10.7


19.1




2


Illinois 1


(Station)


.4


5.4


8.9


1.8








3


Sturgeon




2.0


6.5






4.2


13.6


1.7







Grown the same years.

Southern Illinois. Since all varieties of spring wheat are hard
wheats and do not possess milling and baking properties comparable to
the soft red winter wheats grown extensively in the south central and
southern parts of the state, there is serious objection to growing spring
wheat in this area. Therefore only a limited number of trials of
spring-wheat varieties have been made on the Alhambra field in
southern Illinois (Table 5).

Even tho General San Martin is much higher yielding in this area
than other varieties, it is not recommended because of the extremely
low quality of its grain. Illinois 1 and Progress approach more nearly
the type of soft winter wheat than any spring wheats that have been
tested by this Station.

CONSIDER PROBABLE INSECT DAMAGE

Chinch bugs are not so likely to infest spring wheat as barley
but they prefer it to oats. If spring wheat is grown in areas where
chinch bugs are abundant, it is liable to severe damage.

Altho spring wheat is not believed to be more susceptible to in-
jury from the hessian fly than winter wheat is, the same infestation
will cause more damage to spring wheat because the plants are smaller
at the time when the spring brood is active. Therefore spring wheat
should not be grown next to a badly infested field of winter wheat.

(For summary of recommendations see page 540.)



1942}



SPRING WHEAT: ADAPTABILITY FOR ILLINOIS



539



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(Marquis X Hard
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(Preston A X Riga M)


Java
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Monad, durum*


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Red Fife)


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540 BULLETIN No. 483

SUMMARY OF RECOMMENDATIONS

1. In a rotation spring wheat usually follows corn, soybeans, or
winter wheat that has been winterkilled or drowned out. If it follows
corn, the land should be plowed by late fall or early winter, and care
should be taken to cover all stalks. Double-disking and harrowing
just before drilling are the only preparations needed for a seedbed
on plowed cornstalk land, soybean stubble, or on land where winter
cereals have failed.

2. Choose a variety that gives a high yield regularly and pro-
duces grain of good quality. The highest yielding varieties are not
always best because they often possess some serious fault which more
than offsets their superiority in yield. The best all-round varieties for
Illinois include Sturgeon, Progress, and Illinois 1. Rival and Premier
show considerable promise but they have been tested for two years
only.

3. Treat the seed with Ceresan or some other reliable material
to control seedling blight and covered smut.

4. Seed spring wheat as early as weather and soil conditions will
permit. The seedlings can endure a great deal of cold.

5. Sow the seed with a drill and use 6 to 8 pecks to the acre. If
it is not possible to use a drill, the seed may be broadcast, but the rate
should be increased to 9 or 10 pecks an acre.

6. Harvest the grain when it has fully matured. It may be cut
with a binder and threshed with a separator or it may be harvested
with a combine.

7. Spring wheat should not be grown in areas where chinch
bugs are abundant. Also it should not be seeded next to fields of
winter wheat that are badly infested with hessian fly.



15,0502-4223006



UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS-URBANA

Q 630.7IL6B C002

BULLETIN URBANA
470-4851940-42




30112 019529301





1

Online LibraryGeorge Harlan DunganSpring wheat : adaptability for Illinois → online text (page 1 of 1)