Dale Wehmeyer kneels to check the fall tillering of his winter wheat and wonders aloud why more farmers don't take advantage of this crop. Planted with care and tended with weed control and nutrients, the Mascoutah, Illinois, farmer can push wheat beyond triple digits then follow with double-crop soybeans. Good growing conditions coupled with more favorable market prices made that a winning combination in 2020.
Wheat country has long been associated with a geographic belt that extends from Texas north into the Canadian prairies. However, National Wheat Foundation 2020 National Wheat Yield Contest results show getting wheat to yield knows no boundaries if intensively managed.
Growers from 25 states entered the 2020 contest. Now, in the fifth year, the contest recognizes winners in two primary categories: winter wheat and spring wheat, and two subcategories: dryland and irrigated. In a separate category, winners are also recognized by the percentage increase their yield exceeds the most recent five-year Olympic county average as determined by USDA. Quality components are also measured as part of the contest.
Precise seed placement, intensive scouting and addressing production issues in a timely fashion are all part of Wehmeyer's wheat strategy. "It is an amazing crop that responds so well to management," he says. His 119.4-bushel-per-acre soft red winter wheat entry was enough to secure a fifth national yield ranking in the highly competitive dryland winter wheat category.
DTN/Progressive farmer is the official publication for the National Wheat Contest. Watch for detailed coverage of the national winners in the March issue. Find a complete listing of the 2020 winners and how to enter the 2021 contest at yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org.
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