Despite a spring freeze, one of the warmest winters on record and major problems with rust, more than 20 North Carolina wheat growers posted yields in excess of 100 bushels per acre in the statewide wheat yield contest this year.

Allen Weeks won the annual yield contest with 119.4 bushels per acre. He planted Dyna-Gro Shirley variety and farms in Pasquotank County in the northeast corner of the state.

Paquotank County Extension Agent Al Wood worked with Weeks on his award winning crop.

Wood notes that growers in his area of the state benefitted from good weather throughout the growing season, especially some late season rains that helped finish the crop out.

The second and third place winners both farm in Beaufort County. Poole Farms came in second with 117.6 bushels per acre, followed by Scattered Acres Inc. with 115.4 bushels per acre.  Parker farms grew Southern States SS 520 variety and Scattered Acres planted SS 8404.

First place in the Coastal Plains Region went to Aycock Brothers Farms with 107.5 bushels per acre. Second place in the region went to Ralph Britt with 107.1 bushels per acre and third went to Moses Farmer with 104.8 bushels per acre.

The Piedmont Region was especially hard hit by the late spring freeze and with a number of disease and insect problems. Top producer in the region was McClain Farms in Statesville, N.C., with 100 bushels per acre. Gene Alexander and A.L. Baucom Farms took second and third place, respectively, in the Piedmont Region.

The 2012 wheat crop in North Carolina was the largest in the modern era with more than 870,000 acres harvested. Total production also set a modern record with 44.7 million bushels.

“At one time during the growing season we had the potential to have a record breaking crop yield wise, too,” says Dan Weathington, executive director of the North Carolina Grain Growers Association.

Some contend North Carolina wheat acreage may come close to a million acres next year. “I think we will be in the 950,000 range, but I wouldn’t be surprised to reach a million acres,” Weathington says.

He adds that continued high prices for soybeans is likely to push those acres up next year and a high percentage of beans grown in North Carolina are grown in a double-crop system behind wheat.

rroberson@farmpress.com