Clearly, the yield potential of a wheat variety is a top priority, but resistance to diseases and insect pests is also an important factor to consider when selecting a wheat variety. This year was definitely a challenge with the 2018 wheat crop, however, many producers are evaluating the performance of their wheat varieties and considering new varieties they should plant here soon.
The Wheat Variety Disease and Insect Ratings publication from K-State Research and Extension can help growers identify the best varieties for their farms. The publication also provides helpful summaries to help producers better understand the historical risk of diseases in their area and quickly identify the varieties with the best overall disease resistance. The 2018 KSU Wheat Variety Disease and Insect Ratings publication can be found online or at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices.
The Post Rock Extension District had four wheat demonstration test plots in our district, with the Mitchell County plot an official K-State Research and Extension “replicated” plot which simply means varieties were planted multiply times in one specific area of the field. This particular yield report will be listed in the KSU wheat performance booklet.
All of the yield reports are posted on our district website and are available at any of our Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center. Be sure to also look at the K-State Research and Extension experiment field yield reports across Kansas with close fields in Belleville and Hays which are also online or at any of our Post Rock District Offices. If you are looking for an opportunity to participate in our Wheat demonstration test plot program, contact me at any of our Post Rock District Offices.
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The use of wheat variety blends is also a big question with producers. Blends can offer producers some yield stability in most cases. While any one variety may do much better or worse than other varieties in the same vicinity, having a blend of two or three varieties can usually even out those ups and downs. Using blends also reduces the chances of having a landlord possibly upset because the variety planted yielded considerably less than other fields in the area.
There are just a few guidelines to remember when using blends. Use varieties with different disease resistance. Although the cost effectiveness of fungicides now may reduce the importance of this factor, there is still value to having at least one natural source of resistance to diseases. Use varieties with slightly different maturities. If producers can spread out the maturity just a bit, there is a better chance that at least one of the varieties can benefit from a given weather pattern.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to try new varieties in a blend. If you have additional questions on selecting wheat varieties or wheat production contact me at any of the Post Rock Extension District Offices in Beloit, Lincoln, Mankato, Osborne or Smith Center.