Eastern ND cereal's yield won't take a major hit from heat

Eastern North Dakota has seen an increase in heat this season, causing many cereals in the region to become stunted. However, some experts believe the sweltering heat will not drastically impact the overall yield.

Though eastern North Dakota saw increased heat this summer, the overall yield in cereal crops in the region will not suffer greatly.

The sweeping heat in the eastern part of the state caused some of the cereal crop to become stunted, not reaching full height potential. Cereal crops, such as wheat and barley, preferring cooler night time temperatures, were impacted by the sweltering heat.

“The small grains are cool season crops, so they like it when it's cool. Of course we did have above-average temperatures in late May and June. So I think it did take some of the yield potential off,”Joel Ransom, NDSU Extension small grains agronomist, said.

Ransom expects the wheat crop to be in the 60 bushel range for yield. While the simmering heat caused the wheat to not reach its normal height, the heads have filled out nicely and the overall quality is good.

The field did see a problem with bacterial leaf streak, but it came in late this season, causing no reduction in the overall predicted yield.The North Dakota State University Seed Farm also did not have to worry about head blight in their wheat crop this year, something that is normally a concern.


“This wheat field will yield well with reasonable quality at the end of the day,” Ransom said.

While the Seed Farm’s wheat field did not suffer greatly from rainfall, Ransom noted that some fields in the region have been drowned out.

As for the barley crop, Ransom estimates the crop will be in the 80 bushel scale. Both anticipated yields are little lower than optimal targets, but nevertheless favorable outcomes despite the vigorous heat.

“The barley crop would be doing better if we would've had cool nights during early development. I'm sure the abnormally warm weather we have been having in June and more recently have taken a toll on the yield,” Ransom said.

In addition to the heat, the rainfall posed an issue for the barley crop as well. Weed control was harder this year due to the sporadic and continuous rainfall, making it difficult for producers to get into their fields and spray. In addition, the unwavering wind also was a roadblock for producers trying to spray.

Barley is not a popular crop in the eastern part of the state due to a wetter cycle of weather in the region. The consistent rainfall can cause head blight to develop on the crop, ultimately impacting the barley’s overall quality. Quality is of particular importance for barley.

“Of course with barley, the overall quality is really important because the intended market is for malting,” Ransom said.

Ransom was pleased with the quality of barley in their field on the NDSU Seed Farm, and estimates it will be harvested within the next week or so, dependent on the weather.

Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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