Last week, area farmers met in a wheat field to survey our Extension wheat plot. It is taller than a lot of the stands around the county, but you can still see some of the stress that the frigid winter, cool spring, varying temperatures and overall drought has caused. The difference here is that there were fifteen different varieties to look at and compare all in a row. Every year wheat plots are important to the community in order to help producers make decisions on what seed they will want to plant for the following year. Having several different varieties in one area shows how they match up to each other with the various stressors of that particular growing year.
Dr. Jim Shroyer K-State Research and Extension crop specialist and Dr. Erick De Wolf, KSRE plant disease specialist led the plot tour with a discussion on each variety that had been planted by our field host Brian Bitter. Dr. Shroyer discussed the properties of each variety as we walked down the plot. Overall, he felt that Bitter’s plot was one of the best he has seen so far this year.
Dr. De Wolf normally would talk about the disease issues that have shown up, which are minimal, as compared to most years. This is because of adverse conditions, mainly drought. Normally, you can have an indication of what pressures we will see in Kansas by what has happened in Texas and Oklahoma. With the drought in these states as well, many of the diseases and some insects have not been able to gain ground.
After the tour, everyone enjoyed a meal sponsored by American Ag Credit and Great Bend Farm Implement. There, Dr. Lucas Haag, NW area agronomist gave a small talk about harvesting short wheat. The issues that may arise from it include getting the heads into the combine with the less available straw, and the greater chance of contact with the ground. It may be more of a challenge to harvest this year, but with a few adjustments, it can still be done.
The Wheat Plot sign as well as the variety signs will remain on site if you would like to see how the different varieties are faring; feel free to take a peek. The plot is located ½ mile south of Susank on Susank road. It will be on the west side.
I have also asked Jim for a brief synopsis on the Bitter plot to be able to share with everyone in a few weeks. There are also limited handouts from the experts at the Extension office about diseases and tips for harvesting. If you have any questions, please contact me and I will be happy to assist you. I would also like to thank Brian Bitter, American Ag Credit and Great Bend Farm Equipment for your help hosting the wheat plot. Without you, the plot and tour would not be a success. Thank you!
Alicia Boor is the Agriculture and Natural Resources agent for Barton County K-State Research and Extension. You can contact her by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 620-793-1910