The same weather conditions that have delayed corn and soybean harvest are also keeping wheat out of the ground. As a result, intended acreage may not be fully realized, says an Ohio State University Extension plant pathologist.

“We are in the high-risk time now for planting wheat. Ideally, the wheat should have been in the ground by mid-October, but the first week of November is considered the drop-dead date,” Pierce Paul says. “Farmers have less than a 50-50 chance of getting anything out of the crop if they plant now.”

According to the Ohio Agricultural Statistics Service, 95% of Ohio’s wheat crop has been planted to date. Farmers intend to plant about 900,000 acres for next season, down from the 1 million acres that was planted in 2009, but due to unfavorable weather conditions, even less wheat may end up in the ground.

“Wheat is a winter crop, however, so I’m confident that what does get into the ground will do well, especially since we have had very mild late-fall weather conditions,” Paul says

Paul says the biggest issue associated with late planting is lack of tiller development before winter dormancy, and farmers won’t know how well the crop will develop until green up in the spring.

“What is in the ground so far looks great, with plants having two to four tillers,” Paul says. “But what is not in the ground at this point, probably won’t be planted.”