Wheat yield champs top 100 bushels In a year when 100 percent of some South Carolina wheat fields were destroyed by Hessian flies, five individual growers harvested yields of more than 100 bushels per acre.

"That should give us a greater appreciation for the importance of pest resistance (both insect and disease) in South Carolina wheat production," says Clemson University Entomologist Jay Chapin. "Hessian fly and leaf rust are moving targets which require that we evaluate resistance every year."

The top five winners of the 2000 South Carolina Wheat Yield Contest, along with their yields and the variety they grew are: State Champion Leonard Cogdill, Pioneer 2684, 119.53 bushels; second place Trinity Farms, Pioneer 2684, 118.17 bushels; third place Ricky McKeithan, Coker 9835, 107.93 bushels; district winner Jameson Farms, Pioneer 26R61, 105.85 bushels; and fifth place Brunson Farms, Pioneer 2684, 103.26 bushels. The winners will be recognized at the statewide Ag Expo awards luncheon in Myrtle Beach on Feb. 9, 2001.

As growers prepare for the upcoming wheat planting season, Chapin urges them to begin by selecting varieties with resistance to leaf rust, powdery mildew and Hessian fly.

In his annual "Wheat Cheat Sheet," Chapin notes that growers can use preventive chemical suppression to reduce Hessian fly damage on susceptible varieties.

"Use in-furrow treatments of Di-Syston 15G at 6.6 pounds per acre; Thimet 20G or Phorate 20G at five pounds per acre; Di-Syston 8 at one pint per acre; or Gaucho at one to two ounces per hundred weight seed-treatment," he says.

For disease control, Chapin recommends a seed treatment of Dividend/Apron or Raxil XT to control loose smut and pythium. "We usually don't see much yield response to seed treatment in South Carolina, but these treatments provide relatively cheap stand insurance," he says.

"Baytan seed treatment is highly effective against powdery mildew, but Baytan can cause stand reduction and varietal resistance is a better way to control powdery mildew.

"Foliar fungicide treatment is most profitable on leaf rust susceptible varieties like Coker 9835. Apply Quadris or Tilt to the fully emerged flag leaf before heading. A reduced rate of four ounces per acre of Quadris has been highly effective against leaf rust in our tests," Chapin says.

For a copy of the latest Wheat Cheat Sheet, contact any South Carolina Cooperative Extension agent or Chapin at jchapin@clemson.edu