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Meade County crops continue to set records for wheat yield PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 04 December 2017 09:57


• Leader & Times

For the second year in a row, area farmers from Meade County received state and national recognition for their wheat yields during this past year’s harvest. 

Tyler Ediger received second place in the Kansas Winter Wheat-Dryland with the WestBred variety WB4303 with 110.98 bushels per acre and Brandon Friesen received first place nationally in the Winter Wheat – Dryland category with WestBred variety WB-GRAINFIELD with a yield of 115.26 bushels per acre. 

“One of the neat things about this contest is it goes off a percent of your county average for the year, so it doesn’t really matter where you live, you still have a chance of competing,” Friesen said. “We entered in March, you’ve got to enter a certified variety, the wheat has to be certified to enter. Then you enter your field and then around harvest time, you have to have a third party come out and monitor the process, it has to be at least 1.5 acres for the test plot. I had the Meade County Extension Office come out and they went to the plot in the field and then when they came out, they measured it all – you have to make sure your combine’s empty, the combine grain bin’s empty and the truck’s empty. They measure all that, it gets cut, then you dump it on the truck and then they have to follow the truck to town and watch it weigh and as it goes across the scale. That’s the process.”

After the results came out in October, the winners were all notified and Friesen said he was excited when he received the news. 

“I knew I had a pretty good yield and a pretty good chance at winning the contest, so when I did find out, I was pretty excited,” Friesen said. “All the hard work had paid off, so it was pretty exciting.”

The WestBred wheat varieties did especially well with this year’s competition, according to a release from WestBred. 

“Of the WestBred winners, nine growers placed first through fourth nationally in their sectors with an average yield of 129.81 bushels per acre, a collective average of 122 percent higher than their corresponding county averages,” the release noted. “The average yield for all 22 WestBred state winners was 111.94 bushels per acre, which is almost exactly twice their corresponding county averages of 56 bushels per acre.”

“It’s very flattering and it’s also very rewarding in terms of we work very hard to bring new varieties to farmers throughout the High Plains, including Kansas, to really try and help them with management decisions and bring that top-tier yield, quality, sustainability, test weight,” Dr. Jeff Koscelny, Global Wheat Commercial Strategy Lead, added in a phone interview Tuesday. “It starts with great genetics but then the management is really what’s coming out of the contest – what’s really coming out of the contest is that combination of great genetics and great management by the producers who are entering the contests and winning the contests. We’re paying close attention to all the input needs of the crop starting with our variety and seed selection and then of course the fertility program, the disease management program, all that. That’s why we’re excited about the contest and heavily engaged from the get-go. We know wheat’s got a lot of potential but obviously Mother Nature has her curveballs and farmers have to work through that. When you’ve got products like what won at contest, those are certainly testimony to some of what’s to come.”

And overall, Friesen said, the WestBred variety was a good one to go with for this year’s competition. Koscelny added he sees a good things coming for future competitions. 

“Last year I went with Grainfield and last year, Grainfield won the irrigated category, and I’d heard a lot of good things about it, but this was the first year planting any on my farm, so I went with that and entered it,” Frisen said. “I’d just heard a lot of good things about it through word of mouth and I’d also talked to my seed dealer, they gave me some advice too. It was a good wet spring and it was looking like we had some good crops out there so I decided we might have a chance so I decided to enter, and it’s one of those you never know. And it was still spring and around that time it’s not like your crop’s made yet so when you enter, we could tell it was setting up to be a good yield.”

“We’re in the business to help farmers and seed suppliers grow the agriculture business and when you think about wheat globally, it’s relied on for about 20 percent of all calories on a global basis, so it’s a very important crop – we see more than 45 million acres planted, and it’s the third most cultivated crop in the U.S.,” Koscelny added. “We saw a great opportunity in working with the industry in 2009 and there’s a lot of tools we’ve developed for crops as far as improved genetics. It takes a long time to deploy those tools and see results. It’s been a great past eight years since we’ve owned WestBred as Monsanto and I’m really excited about the future because we’re going to see all those tools and technologies we’ve developed deployed for farmers to use.”

Friesen also said he is excited for next year to come. 

“It was a pretty good year, so it’s going to be pretty hard to beat this year,” Friesen said. “For us, the conditions really were right. There’s always new varieties coming out and new techniques and all that, so you never know.”

“We’re extremely proud of all the winners and we’re proud of how WestBred did and the support it’s gotten from farmers because it takes that time and dedication to plant the crop, harvest the crop, all that, so we certainly appreciate all that,” Koscelny added. “Also, for them to be willing to share some of their management tips to a broader audience is great – it’s not just about the 100+ bushel yields, it’s the management techniques it takes to consistently get those yields. That’s the exciting thing is there are so many things farmers have to manage in their control and out of their control, so if we can help share that advice, that’s going to be really beneficial to the wheat industry as a whole.”




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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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