Local wheat producers had the opportunity to compare the condition of various winter wheat varieties grown throughout McPherson County in May.
The annual demonstration tour guided farmers to several test plots throughout the county. Participants and guides discussed about a dozen varieties, including new entries Red Hawk and Southwind. This allowed farmers to effectively evaluate treatments, disease resistance, pH levels and other factors for next season’s decision making. Precipitation, soil types and farming practices vary throughout the county, but more plots mean better evaluations.
Stu Duncan, area K-State Research and Extension agronomist who spoke at the tour, was pleased with what he saw.
“The wheat looked good over the whole county,” he said. “Looks like yields are going to be good.”
A main factor in this result was cooler temperatures that fostered excellent filling weather. Although it could have been severely damaged by several late freezes, the winter wheat was spared. Other locations in the state, especially western Kansas, weren’t so lucky.
“The thing that surprised me is, I thought we’d see more freeze and frost damage,” Duncan said. “We dodged lots of bullets in April and May.”
Last year, Everest, Art, C.J. and Fuller proved to have more strengths than others. This year, however, Duncan said all varieties appeared equally successful.
“They all looked good,” he said. “There was not anything that looked bad. They were just consistently good.”
Additionally, last year diseases such as stripe rust and barley yellow dwarf took its toll on the wheat.
This year, although wheat streak mosaic was seen in some places, diseases didn’t take as firm of a grip. Duncan said when wheat production is less fruitful in the South as it is this year, the wind-borne diseases aren’t as prevalent in this area.
Overall, farmers were happy with the plot tour’s wheat.
“They were pretty optimistic,” Duncan said. “This ought to be a prime crop.”
Contact Jenae Pauls at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel.