Observation made on our farm this wheat harvest.
Another wheat harvest in the books, and another year of gathering data to take wheat further down the road. As we continue to advance the way we test and select wheats, it is advancing our farm’s profitability and your farm at the end of the day. We are starting to look at wheat varieties a year or two in advance through our Strip Trial, which will give us a better indication of what will happen once those wheats go into production. So the vetting process of us selecting a wheat that makes it to production to go out to the farmer is going to have a higher confidence once it hits your field. I don’t want to discount small plot replicated data, and University plots, I think they are good for looking at disease ratings and wheat characteristics in multiple locations, but when it comes to yield data there is too much variation and inconsistency. Our larger Strip Trial cleans up a lot of that variation, and gives us a lot better view of how a wheat will yield on a larger scale. We can have 10 wheats or 100 wheats out here, but only 3-5 wheats will make it to the top.
Luckily, we did not have to deal with a large outbreak of Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus this year, largely due to the problem being fresh in everyone’s mind and holding back for a later planting date. For the most part we were forced into that late planting date with the big rains at the end of September and first part of October. However, planting dates played a big role in how things yielded. For our area, you could take the date of October 15th and anything planted past that date had a 10 to 20-bushel yield loss to it. Our 10th to 15th planted wheat was very good considering the lack of moisture we had from the time it went in the ground to harvest. It was a profile year and thankfully for most of western Kansas there was a good sub soil moisture profile for the wheat to live on. I don’t think we can always expect to have wheat running in the mid-60s on two inches of in-season rain without the profile we started with. As far as seeding rates go, the varieties we had planted before the 15th the lower populations were winning and running in the 60’s and 70’s. Once the planting date got later we saw a yield increase with every higher population. As far as the strip trial goes, it is disappointing to have a down year for yields, but it also helps to solidify the varieties we choose to plant and sell, with number one this year being drought tolerance equal to yield. The last couple of years we have seen the newer, high yielding varieties yield capability’s, and this year got to see how they handled a tougher year, to make sure they are a good choice for all situations. Our strip trial was planted the 17th of October which was not optimum this year, but even though its yields are lower than most of the production fields, as far as what varieties still come out on top holds true. It is great to see a lot of experimental and non-commercially released choices showing up just above what we believe to be the top varieties for western Kansas. Our top four dryland varieties for western Kansas are WB-Grainfield, Langin, Joe, and T158. Our top irrigated wheat’s, depending on the situation, are WB4269, WB-Cedar, and WB4303.
This is an all-around good wheat. Good yields, plant health, tests weights, and protein. This is one of the wheat’s that did not like a planting date past the 15th of October and had a slightly off year; but planted toward the front end was a solid performer. Always remember to watch where you put this wheat as out of our top four it will probably struggle the most with wheat streak, but as we saw last year in our strip trial it will yield just fine through a mild infection. This wheat can be dropped at a lighter population in a good fertility program to go for very high yields, as this wheat is the best wheat out there for putting a lot of grain into the head. It will need a flag leaf fungicide application if stripe rust shows up big, but will get away with it with a very slight infection. The yield history on this variety is very tough to beat.
This is an early maturing variety with excellent straw, very high tillering, and yield. This is a wheat for full irrigation. It is a short wheat which makes it very well suited for irrigation. This is a good choice to follow corn taken for grain, especially late. It is moderately resistant to stripe rust, leaf rust, and is intermediate on tan spot. It had great test weight and protein for the year. This is a very forgiving wheat as it can help make up for some of the struggles associated with irrigated wheat. This has been our number 1 irrigated wheat.
This is a new wheat performing very well in its first big year out. It is a lot like WB-Cedar, but has better stripe rust resistance, and improved Scab resistance. It also handled the heat stress we had toward the end very well and came in with the best test weight of the irrigated varieties. I would say following corn stalks it has the best get up and go and establishes a stand very fast. It may lean a little more than WB-Cedar but we did not have an issue with it lodging. I look for this wheat to take the place of WB-Cedar for western Kansas irrigated production
If you want to shoot for the moon on irrigation, this is the wheat. We will have a very in-depth conversation about how to raise it, and it’s not for all producers.
Joe is a white wheat. It is a very well rounded wheat with excellent yield. It is a medium late maturing, medium tall wheat, with stripe rust resistance. This wheat is carrying the WSM2 gene which has resistance to wheat streak mosaic up to 70 degrees, so it is not 100%, but as good as it gets going up against mosaic. It is a top yielder, and with its maturity through the heat we had to finish in says a lot about how good this wheat is. It was up at the top of our farm again this year. If you can handle a white wheat this is a must have on the farm.
We replaced Tam 112 and Byrd with this wheat. We now have two years of history with it, and it has performed in every situation. It is going to be a big-dog yielder, and in the droughty years hangs in and produces more wheat than you thought it should have. It is a medium to medium early wheat with a medium long coleoptile. It may have a lodging issue if planted too thick, so watch your seeding rates with this variety. We have seen it yield all the way up to 100 bpa and stand just fine. Remember to fertilize for a high yield if going into the protein market because if it is a good wheat year it will probably out-yield your available nitrogen and struggle to have protein. It is also carrying some wheat curl mite resistance.
This wheat is definitely getting up there in age, but for it being a true early maturity, adult plant resistant to stipe rust, good tolerance to Wheat Streak, consistent yields and test weight in tough conditions, that is why this wheat has hung around. This wheat is not going to win any yield contest, but it will not fall apart on you either. It is still the best all-around wheat for its maturity class. I will also touch on the variety 14-89, which is a Limagrain experimental wheat meant to replace T158. It is a T158 cross, which performed very well in our strip trial. It looks to be everything T158 is with better straw strength, and higher yield potential. We did have a small amount of production from it, so if it is released this fall there will be a modest amount available.
The wheats above are all varieties we believe will excel on your farm. We have other wheats that we tested; some made it, some did not. We will be putting 2 to 3 new wheats in the ground this fall that we are very excited about. We take the wheat varieties we sell very seriously and want to bring you the best the industry has to offer. Give us a call as we can provide you with a lot more information on how to manage each one of these wheats to provide you with the best harvest the weather will allow.
2018 Strip Trial
2017 Test Strips Yield
2017 was a tough year for wheat in West Central Kansas. We had insues with the snow the end of April, some wheat streak, some hail damage, and a dry windy finish. This year definitely was tough on the medium-late varieties. Overall, we still had some decent looking wheats.
2017 Strip Trial
2016 Test Strips Yield
2016 was a very good year for wheat. However, we did have some hail and the strip trial had 40% hail damage. The Byrd won the test plot for the second year in a row and we had several varities with very good yields. The LCS Chrome was planted on the 17th of October and that could be why its yield is lower than expected.
2016 Strip Trial