What wheat varieties should I plant?
August 2, 2010
Well, harvest has been finished for awhile now and everyone has compiled their tickets. Almost immediately, you have to turn around and decide what to plant this fall so you can get what you want ordered.
Harvest was terrific for most everyone northwest of the Ellinwood area but as you went east and south, the yields fell off rapidly, especially in the sandy soil. Western Kansas was great but southern and eastern Kansas, not so much.
I went through the last several years of our county plots and will mention several varieties you should be planting this fall because they have done well over several years and not just one.
TAM 111 is one that comes to the top. Some of the others are Armour, Winterhawk, Millenium and Infinity CL. Some of these may be hard to find without putting out some effort, but it will be worth it. I have not given up on Art but it has a mediocre track record. TAM 112 is another one you might strongly consider. If you have Fuller, Sante Fe or Post Rock, I would probably keep them if they are not over two years from certification but if you have to buy new seed, forget them and move on. Everest looks promising but I would like to see it in this area a little more before recommending it on more than 10 percent of your acres or so. There are some wheats that have performed really consistent on sandy soils like Keota.
If you are still planting varieties like Jagger, Jagalene and Overley, you are just kidding yourself to think they are just as good. They have given up at least 15 bushels per acre the last 4 years to the better varieties. Not all of that can be gained back by spraying a fungicide every year. 2137 is only slightly better than these.
Every year is different, you really don’t know which one is going to do best and that’s why you have to spread your risk out and try to play the odds. What did well this year may not be the top variety next year.
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I would suggest you plant 3-6 varieties or blends each year if you have a lot of wheat acres. Buy 1-2 new ones each year and don’t keep your own seed back more than two years. If you are a smaller operator, for every 100 acres of wheat you plant, you should be looking at a different variety.