Wheat Quality Council
4th Annual Coastal Plains Wheat Tour

Tillers Per Square Foot     Tour Participants      Summary

Tillers Per Square Foot in Selected Counties of Each State
Georgia 47 48 47 --
South Carolina 49 52 47 49
North Carolina -- 60 53 57
Virginia -- 58 71 66
A more moderate temperature range and greater annual precipitation in the Chesapeake region compared to the climate of the southern Coastal Plains account for the observed yield differences in the winter wheat crop nearly every year.

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4th Annual Coastal Plains Wheat Tour Participants
(May 7-8, 2002)


Karen Bryan, N.C. Ag Statistics Svc
P.O. Box 27767
Raleigh, NC 27611 ph. 919-733-6333


Don Ledford, N.C. Ag Statistics Svc
P.O. Box 27767
Raleigh, NC 27611 ph. 919-733-7293


Dennis Tucker, ADM Milling
P.O. Box 31155
Charlotte, NC 28231-1155 ph. 704-332-3165


Jim Quinton, Crop Information Associates
P.O. Box 301
Farmersville, IL 62533 ph. 217-227-3314


Stephen Mannheimer, Virginia Ag Statistics Svc
P.O. Box 1659
Richmond, VA 23218-1659 ph. 804-771-2493


Brian Borysewicz, Perten Instruments.
4717 Benthaven Lane
Charlotte, NC 23219 ph. 704-598-9190


Phil Farmer, Syngenta
358 Honeycutt
Wilmington, NC 28412 ph. 910-452-5597


Gary Powell, Syngenta
7500 Olson Memorial Hwy
Golden Valley, MN 55427 ph. 763-593-7290


Bunny Brooks, Virginia Ag Statistics Svc
P.O. Box 1659
Richmond, VA 23218-1659 ph. 804-771-2493


Ben Handcock, Wheat Quality Council
P.O. Box 966
Pierre, SD  ph. 605-224-5187

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Wheat Quality Council
4th Annual Coastal Plains Wheat Tour

May 7-8, 2002     Summary by James Quinton

Soft red winter wheat yield prospects in counties with the highest concentrations of wheat acres across the Southeast are not recovering very well from the poor yields of a year ago. Persistent drought is the main culprit. Stands thinned out as tour participants traveled southward from the Greenville, North Carolina starting point. Not only that, head sizes were seen to be limited as well with only two berries per spikelet the norm and a reduced number of spikelets per head. We suspect kernel size may be limited as well.

To the north and east of Greenville, scouts found some very good wheat yield prospects. Lack of moisture was not an issue. In several fields that were scouted some degree of wheat disease pressure was found. Powdery mildew has been particularly heavy in this area and fungicides have been needed. There was a marked difference in yield prospects for treated and untreated wheat. Also visible were light to moderate levels of leaf rust, septoria leaf and glume blotch, and just a hint of fusarium head scab. Tour participants found three and even four berries per spikelet, long heads with high numbers of spikelets per head in some instances, and generally higher tiller counts along those routes. Conditions were actually muddy in NE North Carolina and SE Virginia during this year’s Tour. However, it was obvious that wheat acreage was reduced.

The historical spread in wheat yields between the six states of the Coastal Plains region needs to be understood. Climate in the three northern states (flanking Chesapeake Bay) is more favorable for wheat development. Compared to the states to the south, elevated yields in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware reflect this. The warmer climate in the Carolinas and Georgia often limits wheat yield potential.

The 4th Annual Wheat Tour found conditions that will re-affirm these differences. Though tiller counts found this year do not entirely reflect this, it appears the yield spread may be wider than average because of the differences observed in head size. Drought conditions are severe in South Carolina and adjacent counties of North Carolina. Wheat acres in these counties also have been reduced. Low prices caused a switch to other crops.

It should be remembered that the Tour scouts only selected counties in the region. These preliminary yield indications may not necessarily describe the entire wheat crop within each state. Statistically, the tiller counts ought to only be compared with previous Tour results -- not with official yield estimates for entire states! The Tours are timed to supplement public information about crop conditions during a period of rapid change rather than compete with official estimates released near the first of each month.

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