If you want to attend:
The joint Barton-Ellsworth county wheat plot tour will take place at 6 p.m. at the plot, located on the Barton-Ellsworth County line near the intersection of NE 160 Ave and 200 Rd. This is 8 ½ miles north of K-156 on the blacktop road heading to Wilson Lake. Reservations for the supper need to be made by Friday by calling the Barton County Extension Office at 620-793-1910.
For area wheat farmers, these are the best of times with prices at $8 per bushel and the worst of times with a nagging drought.
Although it may be too late to do much to milk a better crop out of fields this summer, producers will see how to improve future harvests at this year’s wheat plot tour. Barton and Ellsworth county extension offices will join forces to sponsor the tour Wednesday, May 18.
The visit will take place at 6 p.m. at the plot, located on the Barton-Ellsworth County line near the intersection of NE 160 Ave and 200 Rd. This is 8 ½ miles north of K-156 on the blacktop road heading to Wilson Lake.
“A lot of people’s fields look really good and lot of them look really bad,” said Ellsworth County Extension Agent Brent Goss. This fluctuation will be among the topics on the tour.
Jim Shroyer, state specialist in crop production from Kansas State University, will provide information about this year’s wheat crop and the varieties that were planted. Supper will follow.
“We want to help producers learn how they can scout their fields,” Goss said. This way, they will know what to look for and how they can respond in the future.
They will look for insect, disease and growth issues. They will also examine how the 36 wheat varieties in the plot are developing.
In all, Goss said there are 50 wheat varieties on the market. These hybrids are designed to handle disease, weather and insects differently, and are tailored to work in different soil conditions.
Goss compared these varieties to tennis shoes. Different people prefer different brands and different styles work better uses.
Only a decade ago, farmers had just a handful of wheat types to pick from. “But, farmers need to keep on technology and they need to keep up on the varieties available. They are much more diverse today.”
“We will look at the varieties in the plot and their strengths and weaknesses,” Goss said. Results from this plot’s harvest, as well as plots around the state, will also be shared.
However, “this is a non-typical year with the dry conditions,” Goss said. So, some of the lessons gleaned next week may or may not be relevant come the 2012 harvest.
“There won’t be very many bin-buster yields out there,” Goss said. But, wheat is a hardy plant. “It has nine lives” and will produce a crop regardless.
“Going to a wheat lot tour was a real eye opener for me,” said Berny Unruh, Barton County 4-H and youth development agent. “The neat thing about going to a wheat plot tour is you can see the different characteristics” in the varieties.
Some are taller. Some have bigger heads. “You can’t see this in picture,” Unruh said. “Hands-on is a good way of learning.”
Unruh also looks at the tour from a 4-H and youth prospective. Several of the young people in 4-H have their own wheat plots, keep records and report their results to the state.
Reservations for the joint wheat tour supper need to be made by Friday by calling the Barton County Extension Office at 620-793-1910.