Annual Report Ohio State Board of Agriculture for 1857, p. 757 (1858)


John H Klippart

To convert winter into spring wheat, nothing more is necessary than that the winter wheat should be allowed to germinate slightly in the fall or winter, but kept from vegetation by a low temperature or freezing, until it can be sown in the spring. This is usually done by soaking and sprouting the seed, and freezing it while in this state and keeping it frozen until the season for spring sowing has arrived. Only two things seem requisite, germination and freezing. It is probable, that winter wheat sown in the fall, so late as only to germinate in the earth, without coming up, would produce a grain which would be a spring wheat if sown in April instead of September. The experiment of converting winter wheat into spring wheat, has met with great success. It retains many of its primitive winter wheat qualities, and is inferior in no respect to the best varieties of spring wheat, and produces at the rate of 28 bushels per acre.

Grain which ripens in cold weather, late in August or September, will be heavier ordinarily than that which is hastened to maturity in hot weather. By grain is meant spring wheat. From this it might be inferred that spring wheat should be sowed late, without reference to the grain worm; and yet before the appearance of that insect, it was found that early sown wheat was ordinarily the best. This may be remedied, and late sown wheat rendered a certain and uniform crop. When the wheat grows rapidly with a large straw and broad leaf of a peculiar deep green color, having the appearance of that which grows about burnt places, the straw will rust, and the grain blast. Grain sown the 1st of May or June will be more luxuriant, with a greater growth of stalks and straw than when planted early. It follows, therefore, that so long as spring wheat is obliged to be sown late to avoid the grain worm, there is more certainty of a crop to sow it on medium soil which will yield from 15 to 18 bushels per acre, than to sow it on very rich land.

The first paragraph is Klippart's entire report on the subject of vernalization. The basic facts were previously reported by Allen (1849 and 1847). While interesting, it does not come close to Lysenko's research. For example, Klippart wrote that germination and freezing seem requisite Allen, however, wrote, "Germination before exposure to frost, does not, however, seem absolutely essential to its success, as fine crops have been raised from seed sown early in the spring, after having been saturated with water and frozen for some weeks."

Lysenko's treatment of partial imbibition prevented germination by the low level of moisture in the seeds, which were maintained a few degrees above freezing. Furthermore, Lysenko tested various strains of winter wheat (and rye, oats, barley, etc.) and found that each strain had a characteristic chilling requirement.

Knight (1819) came closer to anticipating part of Lysenko's work when he noted that, "the same degree of temperature, which may promote the growth, and exuberant health of the plant, may, at the same time, render it wholly unproductive of fruit or offspring."

The second paragraph relates to Physiological Pre-determination. The temperature at the time of germination influences the subsequent growth and development of the plant.