Authors as Published

Keith Balderson, Extension Agent, Essex County; Paul Davis, Extension Agent, New Kent/Charles City Counties; David Moore, Extension Agent, Middlesex County; Matt Lewis, Extension Agent, Lancaster and Northumberland Counties; Mike Parrish, Extension Agent, Dinwiddie County; Cyndi Estienne, Greensville County; Scott Reiter, Prince George County; Wade Thomason, Extension Grains Specialist, Virginia Tech


The demonstration and research plot results discussed in this publication are a cooperative effort by seven Virginia Cooperative Extension agents, several extension specialists from Virginia Tech, area producers, and agribusinesses.  We are proud to present this year’s on-farm wheat plot work to you.  The 2008-09 wheat season was a tough one for producers.  Below normal temperatures in the fall and winter reduced tillering, and wet conditions in the spring delayed harvest and resulted in low quality and yields in many areas. With wheat prices down considerably and input costs relatively high, wheat producers will need to really focus on maximum economic yields during 2009-10 to produce profitable wheat.  We hope this information in the publication will help them do so.

The field work and printing of this publication are supported by the Virginia Small Grains Check-Off Funds. The cooperators greatly acknowledge this support.  Any small grain producer who would like a copy of this report should contact his/her local extension agent, who can request a copy from Keith Balderson in Essex County at 804-443-3551 or

This is the sixteenth year of this multi-county project.  Further work is planned for the upcoming growing season.

The authors wish to thank the many producers who participated in this project. Appreciation is extended to the seed, chemical, and fertilizer representatives who donated products and/or assisted with the field work.

DISCLAIMER: Trade and brand names are used only for educational purposes, and Virginia Cooperative Extension does not guarantee or warrant the standards of the product, nor does Virginia Cooperative Extension imply approval of the product to the exclusion of others which may also be suitable.



  1. VARIETY SELECTION:  Variety selection remains one of the most important components of wheat production. In our variety plots, yields and test weight values varied considerably between varieties. Five varieties averaged over 80 bushels per acre across the New Kent, Westmoreland, and Middlesex locations: USG 3555 at 85.3 bushels per acre, Pioneer 26R15 at 83.6 bushels per acre, Dominion at 82.4 bushels per acre, USG 3665 at 82.3 bushels per acre, and Pioneer 26R22 at 81.9 bushels per acre. Producers should also review test weight and disease resistance packages when selecting wheat varieties.  The best source of information available for selecting small grain varieties is Virginia Cooperative Extension publication “Small Grains in 2009,” which can be found at
  2. SEEDING RATE DEMONSTRATION: In a replicated demonstration plot evaluating seeding rates of 22, 26, and 30 seeds row foot in 7.5 inch row spacing, there was no difference in yield with yields around 70 bushels per acre.  For 2 consecutive years, seeding rates of 22 seeds per row foot have produced yields as good as seeding rates of 30 seeds per row foot in 7.5 inch rows. To maximize profits producers need to continue to plant based on seeds per row foot rather pounds per acre.  Our work the past 2 years verifies that planting 22 seeds per row foot in 7.5 inch rows is adequate when planting properly and timely.
  3. SOIL FERTILITY PLOTS: In a nitrogen management plot under long-term continuous no-till in New Kent County, 90 pounds of spring applied nitrogen produced the maximum economic yields. See the individual studies from Charles City and New Kent for more information.
  4. CROP PROTECTION PLOTS: An at heading application of Prosaro fungicide on Southern States 8309 wheat increased yields by 8 bushels per acre. Test weight was 59.3 pounds in the Prosaro plots and 56.7 pounds in the check plots.



Cooperators: Producer: Charles Skalsky    Extension: Scott Reiter, Prince George

Previous Crop:  Full Season Group IV Soybeans 

Soil Type: Norfolk, Emporia, and Slagle fine sandy loam 

Tillage: No-Till 

Test/Plot Size: 804 feet x 20 feet; 3 replications 

Planting Equipment: Great Plains 1005 No-till Drill 

Planting Date: November 6, 2008 

Row Spacing: 7 inches 

Variety: Eve hulless and Thoroughbred hulled barley 

Seeding Rate: see treatments 

Fertilizer: 30-30-60 preplant, 70-0-0 topdressed as 30% UAN, February 20, 2 qts/A 10% Manganese, March 20

Crop Protection: 
  Herbicides: glyphosate 1 lb/A + 2,4-D 1 pt/A burndown, October 25  Harmony Extra SG 0.75 oz/A, February 20
  Insecticides: None
  Fungicides: None 

Harvest Date: June 11, 2009 

Harvest Equipment: John Deere 4420 with 13 ft. head

TreatmentRep 1Rep 2Rep 3Test Wt.Avg. Yield
Eve – 20 seed/ft38.133.131.95234.4
Eve – 24 seed/ft37.936.841.95338.9
Eve – 28 seed/ft38.336.837.55337.5
LSD (0.10)    NS
Thoroughbred – 16 seed/ft70.361.454.64362.1
Thoroughbred – 20 seed/ft73.068.169.44370.2
Thoroughbred – 24 seed/ft69.462.157.44363.0
LSD (0.10)    NS

Discussion: The objective of this field trial was to determine if barley seeding rates need to be increased in early November no-till plantings.  This is of concern because most barley will follow Group IV soybeans rather than corn. We did find that Eve hull-less barley should be planted early due to its earlier maturity in the spring. It headed out about 10 days ahead of the Thoroughbred but yielded about 40% less. The yield decline in Reps 2 & 3 of the Thoroughbred plots was due to severe manganese deficiency confirmed through tissue testing. Soil tests revealed that the pH was 7.8 in the severe Mn deficient areas.  Test weight of Eve ranged from 52-54 lbs/bushel and Thoroughbred 42-44 lbs/bushel.  There was no significant statistical difference among the seeding rates tested for each variety. However, the medium seeding rates did produce the highest yields.

Lessons learned:

  • Eve should be planted in October
  • Medium seeding rates produced yields as good as high seeding rates
  • Late seeded barley will likely be lower yielding
  • Soil pH should be closely monitored in fields with a history of biosolids or other by-product soil amendment applications

We hope to repeat this study in 2009. Use this and other Virginia Cooperative Extension recommendations for barley production this year. Thanks to Wade Thomason, Extension Grains Specialist and Bruce Beahm, Virginia Crop Improvement Association, for their assistance in obtaining seed for the trial.



Cooperators: Producer: F. F. Chandler, Jr.   Extension: Keith Balderson, VCE, Middle Peninsula; Matt Lewis, VCE, Northern Neck; Eric Jochum, VCE Summer Intern; Agribusiness: Curtis Packett, Crop Production Services; Various Seed Company Representatives

Previous Crop: Corn

Soil Type: Kempsville

Tillage: No-tillage

Planting Date:  November 10, 2008

Row Spacing:  7.5 inches

Variety: Various

Seeding Rate: 2.5 bushels per acre

Fertilization: 40-50-60 at planting

Crop Protection: February: 50-0-0-6 plus .75 oz. per acre Harmony Extra; April: 50-0-0-6 plus 2 oz per acre Warrior T; May: 7.5 oz. per acre Prosaro

Harvest Date: June 30, 2009

Harvest Equipment: John Deere 9400 with 18 foot header

VarietyTest WeightMoistureSeed Trt.Yield
Tribute60.214.8Dividend Ext.75.4
Dominion58.413.4Dividend Ext.75.5
Vigoro 951057.612.5Dividend Ext.69.1
SS 864158.413.0Raxil/Thiram69.6
SS 52056.813.1Raxil/Thiram71.9
Renwood 343458.313.9Dividend Ext.75.3
USG 366558.213.8Dividend Ext.72.1
USG 355558.714.0Dividend76.1
Pioneer 26R1557.813.2Raxil/Thiram72.4
Pioneer 26R2257.413.5Raxil/Thiram74.1

Discussion: Wheat yields were down considerably compared to 2008. Yields and test weights in this plot were very good for the season. Scab infection was low in this field compared to many fields in the area. Later planting may have delayed flowering to a point where scab infection conditions were not favorable. The use of Prosaro may have also reduced scab infection.   Use this with other variety information to select high-yielding varieties in 2008.



Cooperators: Producer: Jason Benton   Extension: David Moore, VCE-Middlesex   Agribusiness: Participating Seed Company Reps.

Previous Crop: Corn

Soil Type: Suffolk fine sandy loam

Tillage: No-Till following stalk shredder

Test/Plot Size: 15’ X 560’

Planting Equipment: Great Plains 1500

Planting Date: October 24, 2008

Row Spacing: 7.5 inches

Check Variety: Southern States 8309

Seeding Rate: 25-26 seeds per ft. of row

Crop Protection:
Herbicides: Glyphosate @ 1 qt/A at planting; Finesse at 4/10 oz in February 
  Insecticides: Warrior in December   
  Fungicides: Prosaro in May

Harvest Date: July 1, 2009 

Harvest Equipment: AGCO R62

VarietyMoistureTWYield% of Check
USG 366512.95888.0101.6
Check—SS 830912.95986.6 
USG 355512.95996.1106.3
Renwood 343412.05888.093.6
Pioneer 26R2212.35886.394.6
Pioneer 26R1512.65996.9111.4
Coker Branson13.35992.1104.8
Coker 980413.05778.884.4
Featherstone 17613.65971.978.8
Southern States 52012.95866.073.4
Southern States 864113.25674.884.2
Vigoro 951012.25878.990.5
Variety Average  82.9 
Check Average  89.2 

Discussion: Great plot! Prosaro fungicide was applied in early May, but was somewhat late for Scab protection. Some varieties had noticeable scab and seed quality issues. Yields from this plot were good. Decision-making for 2009-10 will be tough due to low prices and high input prices.  When choosing a variety, look for more than yield as the major buying factor.  Look for good disease package and a variety with above average test weight. I have included heading dates and disease rating for the Benton and Corbin Hall plots. Use this with other variety information to select high-yielding varieties in 2010.

Heading Dates:

April 24 - Jamestown, SS 520

April 26 - Featherstone 176, USG 3555

April 28 - Coker 9804, Branson, Tribute, Sisson, SS 5205, Renwood3434, USG3665 

April 30 - Dominion, Vigoro 9510, Pioneer 26R15, Pioneer 26R22, SS 8641


Scab Rating (Done 6-2-09) (0-9 with 0=none)
VarietyBenton RatingCorbin Hall Rating
Renwood 34343-43-4
USG 36651-23-4
USG 35551-24-5
Coker 98042-35
Shirley 5
Vigoro 951033-4
Pioneer 26R224-55-6
Pioneer 26R152-32-3
Featherstone 1763-47
SS 5205 5-6
SS 86413-45
SS 5202-36-7
McCormick 4-5



Cooperators: Producer: John Black & Sons/Providence Forge   Extension: Paul H. Davis, New Kent & Charles City Counties; Wade Thomason, VT Grain Specialist   Agribusiness: Jim Wallace, Colonial SWCD

Previous Crop: Cotton

Soil Type: Kempsville, fine sandy loam

Tillage: No-Till

Test/Plot Size: 20’ x 25’

Planting Equipment: 10’ Great Plains No-Till Drill

Planting Date: November 6, 2008

Row Spacing: 7 ½”

Variety: See Treatments

Seeding Rate: 28 seeds/ft of row

Crop Protection: 
  Herbicides: Osprey @ 4.75 oz. – 12/30/09; Harmony @ .40 oz – 3/11/09 
  Insecticides: Baythroid @ 1.5 oz – 3/11/09 
  Fungicides: None

Harvest Date: June 30, 2009

Harvest Equipment: VA Tech Plot Combine

Axiom Rates/Acre on 11/21/08(0 oz)(8 oz)(16 oz)% of Check
Variety(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A)Without Axiom
USG 343476.676.572.288.4
USG 355583.881.073.196.5
Check (Pioneer 26R22)86.882.868.5 
USG 366586.880.973.0100.0
Pioneer 26R2298.283.675.7113.0
Pioneer 26R1581.479.666.496.1
Vigoro 951069.462.857.281.9
SS 52056.3*59.869.666.5
SS 864168.877.864.896.5
Coker 980470.776.459.999.2
AgriPro X543*50.1*41.2*-
Featherstone 176***-
Check Average80.958.468.0 
*=Deer Damage


Wheat yields varied greatly in this plot because of deer damage. Some varieties were more susceptible and/or favorable to deer than others with or without beards. Pioneer 26R22, Branson, and Jamestown were the highest yielding followed by Dominion and USG 3665. At the recommended labeled rate of 8 oz. per acre applied at the 1 leaf stage (early emergence), Axiom did not effect wheat development or yields, but at the 16 oz. rate yields were reduced by 10 bushels per acre across all varieties.  Please compare these yields with other variety plots from your area before making your 2010 wheat production decisions.



Cooperators: Producer: Glenn Moore   Extension: Cyndi Estienne, Greensville County; Ag Agent Kevin Lynch, Greensville County Extension Intern   Agribusiness: Crop Production Services; Southern States; Hawkins Supply

Previous Crop: Double Crop Soybean following Wheat

Soil Type: Slagle fine sandy loam

Tillage: No-Till

Test/Plot Size: 25 ft by 440 ft

Planting Equipment: 20 ft John Deere 750 Drill

Planting Date: November 19, 2008

Row Spacing: 7 inches

Variety: Multiple Variety Test

Seeding Rate: 30 seed/ft

Crop Protection: 
  Herbicides: Finesse Grass and Broadleaf @ .75 oz, January12, 2009

Harvest Date: June 25, 2009

Harvest Equipment: Case International 2188 with 25 ft head

BrandVarietyMoistureTest WeightYield
N/ABin Run9.95532.2
Southern States5209.95842.4
Southern States5209.95745.5
Southern States84049.453.837.4
Southern States83029.853.536.3
Southern States52011.25344.1

Discussion: Cold weather immediately after planting slowed initial growth in this field. Frequent and intense rainfall delayed harvest for several weeks. The crop rotation in this plot of wheat double crop soybeans followed by wheat double crop soybeans is a very poor rotation for good wheat production. Use this with other variety information to select high-yielding varieties in 2009.



Cooperators: Producer: Alvin Blaha  Extension: Mike Parrish, Dinwiddie

Previous Crop: Corn

Soil Type: Mattaponi Sandy Loam

Tillage: No-Till

Planting Equipment: Case IH 5400

Planting Date: 10/27/ 2008

Row Spacing: 7 inches

Seeding Rate: 22 seed/ft.

Crop Protection: 
  Herbicides: Roundup @ 1 qt/A, 10/20/08
  Insecticides: Warrior @ 3oz, 3/20/09
  Fungicides: Stratego @ 10oz, 5/08/09

Harvest Date: 6/27/2009

Harvest Equipment: Case IH 1666

BrandVarietyMoistureTest WeightYield
Southern StatesSS840413.05839.70
Southern StatesSS56013.55353.21
Southern StatesSS864112.54532.23
Southern StatesSS52013.05761.75
Southern StatesSS840413.05844.99
Southern StatesSS840413.05843.06

Discussion: During the planting season the plot experienced extensive periods of rain that delayed planting. In addition to the fall rains we encountered more wet conditions during the month of April. The plot was treated with a fungicide (Stratego) to help with powdery mildew. Varieties with low test weight had more glume blotch injury. Use this and other variety information to select high-yielding varieties in 2009.


2009 On-Farm Wheat Variety Plot Yield Summary
VarietyWestmorelandMiddlesexNew KentAvg.Ranking
Featherstone 17671.871.9*  
Vigoro 951069.178.969.472.4710
SS 864169.674.868.868.1311
SS 52071.96656.3*64.712
Renwood 343475.38876.679.976
USG 366572.18886.882.34
USG 355576.196.183.885.331
Pioneer 26R1572.496.981.483.62
Pioneer 26R2274.186.385.3**81.95
Coker Branson 92.177.4  
Coker 9804 78.870.7  
Panola  69.1  
* Indicates Deer Damage
** Pioneer 26R22 was used as check variety in the New Kent plot and the average of the 4 checks is reported here. Yield averages given only where a variety yield is reported in all 3 sites.


2009 On-Farm Wheat Variety Plot Test Wt. Summary
Featherstone 17657.45958.27
Vigoro 951057.65857.810
SS 864158.45657.213
SS 52056.85857.412
Renwood 343458.35858.158
USG 366558.25858.19
USG 355558.75958.854
Pioneer 26R1557.85958.46
Pioneer 26R2257.45857.711
Coker Branson 59  
Coker 9804 57  




Cooperators: Producer: Keith Balderson  Extension: Keith Balderson, VCE, Middle Peninsula; Eric Jochum, Summer Intern

Previous Crop:  Corn

Soil Type: Tetotum

Tillage: No-tillage, corn stalks bush hogged

Planting Date: October 16, 2008

Row Spacing: 7.5 inches

Variety: Dominion

Seeding Rate: Various

Fertilization and 30-60-90 plus Gramoxone Inteon at planting

Crop Protection: 28-0-0-8 plus Finesse @.4 oz per acre and Mustang Max @ 3.25 oz. per acre in late November; 70-0-0-8 per acre in early March

Harvest Date: June 24, 2009

Harvest Equipment: John Deere 7720 with 18 foot header


TreatmentRep 1Rep 2Test Wt.Heads per sq. foot @ harvestAvg. Yield
175 lbs. per acre 64.775.856.76170.1
22 seeds per row ft.71.769.556.76170.6
26 seeds per row ft.69.870.256.76070.0
30 seeds per row ft.71.172.456.76471.7
18 seeds per row ft.70.0one rep. only56.75870.0


Wheat producers continue to ask questions about wheat seeding rates, especially in no-tillage systems, where wheat is planted into corn stalks. For timely planted, conventionally tilled wheat in 7 inch rows, 20 seeds per row foot is the recommended seeding rate. The standard recommendation has been to increase this rate by 10-20 percent in no-tillage systems.  In this plot, the 155 pound per acre seeding rate on the drill setting actually resulted in a seeding rate of 175 pounds per acre, illustrating very well the importance of calibrating seeding rates based on seeds per row foot, not pounds per acre. It should be noted that even with the wide range in seeding rates in this plot, the number of seed heads produced per square foot in all plots was very similar. Remember that 60-70 heads per square foot with an average of 30 seeds per head should produce wheat yields of 100 bushels per acre.  These results verify that no-tillage wheat seeding rates probably do not need to be increased more than 10-20 percent over conventionally planted wheat.



Cooperators: Producer: Randolph Aigner  Extension: Paul H. Davis, New Kent & Charles City Counties; Wade Thomason, VA Tech Grain Specialist

Previous Crop: Soybean

Soil Type: Pamunkey fine sandy loam

Tillage: No-Till

Test/Plot Size: 7’ x 30’

Planting Equipment: 10’ No-Till Drill

Planting Date: October 24, 2008

Row Spacing: 8” inches

Variety: Pioneer 26R15

Seeding Rate: 30 seeds/ft of row

Fertilizer: Preplant: 30-40-60 on 10/22/08

Crop Protection: 
  Herbicides: Glyphosate 1 qt. burndown – 10/22/08; Harmony .5 oz + Osprey 4.75 – 1/12/09; Finesse – 2/5/09 
  Insecticides: Karate 1.5 oz – 2/5/09; 
  Fungicides: None

Harvest Date: June 30, 2009

Harvest Equipment: VA Tech plot combine

TreatmentRep 1Rep 2Rep 3Rep 4Avg. YieldLodging 0-5
GS25 + GS30(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A) 
DD=Deer Damage


What a difference a year makes!! Last year the adjacent field yielded 86 bu/ac with no winter or spring nitrogen following corn.  This year no amount of nitrogen yielded 70 bu/ac. Delayed harvest allowed the deer to concentrate in this plot which caused some yield losses. The soil organic matter in this field was 2.3% vs. 3.0% last year, so that has some influence on available nitrogen between the two fields.  Last year was an excellent wheat growing season especially in May 2008, but this May 2009 we had over 6 inches of rainfall and it rained the whole time wheat was trying to flower. Continue to make tiller counts in February at G.S. 25 and take plant tissue samples in late March at G.S. 30 to fine tune your wheat nitrogen needs. As your soil organic matter gets to 3.0% and higher, you should be seeing significant reductions in wheat nitrogen application needs.



Cooperators: Producer: John Black & Sons, Keith & Jon   Extension: Paul H. Davis, New Kent & Charles City 

Previous Crop: Cotton 

Soil Type: Kempsville, fine sandy loam 

Tillage: No-Till 

Test/Plot Size: 7’ x 30’ 

Planting Equipment: 30’ John Deere Airseeder 

Planting Date: November 14, 2008 

Row Spacing: 7 ½” 

Variety: Vigoro 9510 

Seeding Rate: 30 seeds/ft of row 

Fertilizers: Preplant: 30-60-80 on 11/14/08 

Crop Protection: 
  Herbicides: Glyphosate 1 qt. – 11/14/08; Harmony @ .5oz. – 2/14/09 
  Insecticides: Karate @ 1.5oz – 2/14/09 
  Fungicides: None 

Harvest Date: June 30, 2009 

Harvest Equipment: VA Tech Plot Combine

TreatmentRep 1Rep 2Rep 3Rep 4Avg. YieldLodging 0-5
GS25 + GS30*(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A)(bu/A) 
LSD (0.10)    0 
* GS 25 on 2/10/09; GS 30 on 3/27/09 with 28% N


These are good wheat yields for this season, ranging from 79 bu/acre to 50 bu/ac.  The soil organic matter in this field was 1.8% at planting. This is good for a cotton, wheat, soybean rotation even after 7 years of continuous no-till cropping.  The best nitrogen rates for this year on this field was 90 lbs/ac and it didn’t matter if it came in one shot early or late or split between GS 25 and GS 30. We have seen in other fields in other years where the soil organic matter is 3.0% or higher that nitrogen application rates have been significantly reduced without effecting yields.  To help take the guess work out of your nitrogen needs, make time to take tiller counts at GS 25 in February and plant tissue samples at GS 30 in late March, then follow intensive wheat management nitrogen application recommendations.



Cooperators: Producer: Jason Benton   Extension: David Moore, VCE-Middlesex

Previous Crop: Corn

Soil Type: Suffolk fine sandy loam

Tillage: No-Till following stalk shredder

Test/Plot Size: 20’ X 650’

Planting Equipment: Great Plains 1500

Planting Date: October 22, 2008

Row Spacing: 7.5 inches

Variety: Southern States 8309

Seeding Rate: 25 seeds per row foot

Crop Protection: 
Herbicides: Glyphosate burndown, Finesse in February 
  Insecticides: Warrior in December 
  Fungicides: Prosaro 421C; 7 ounces/A May8, 2009

Harvest Date: July 1, 2009

Harvest Equipment: AGCO R62

TreatmentRep 1Rep 2Rep 3Avg. Yield
Treatment (Prosaro)92.788.186.689.1
LSD (0.10)   1.1

Discussion: Prosaro is a relatively new fungicide that boasts Fusarium Head Blight (Scab) suppression. The fungicide was applied actually a little later than we wanted due to the wet early May we had. These weather conditions were perfect for scab.  Many producers found this out the hard way. The proper time for application would be at or shortly after heading. When Jason made his application, the plants were well into flowering. Flowering is when the plants are most susceptible to scab.  Southern States 8309 is rated above average in its resistance to scab, so we did not expect a lot of difference in the yields. We did, however find that the treated reps yielded significantly better than the control and the average 8 bushels better would pay for the treatment. Test weight was 59.3 pounds in the treated plots and 56.7 pounds in the untreated plots.

What does this mean? It means that we must take into consideration the weather at heading and flowering and act accordingly. We also should find and use varieties that are tolerant of scab.  Virginia Tech variety information is a great tool to use when making planting decisions for your next wheat crop.

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.

Publication Date

August 28, 2009