Typically, wheat growers will keep back enough of their wheat seed to plant again, but also they might be looking to replace a variety in an effort to reduce seed borne diseases, and to improve genetics for yield and disease prevention.

Each year many county agents put out wheat variety demonstration plots and conduct field days to view and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of varieties and wheat production issues. Most demonstration plots are also harvested for yield information to assist farmers.

The Cottonwood Extension District, Ellis County no-till wheat demonstration plot has no fallow in the cropping rotation, therefore is intensively cropped each year, in addition it was double-cropped after corn in 2017. For further details of the cultural practices of the demonstration plot go to our web site at www.cottonwood.ksu.edu click onto the crops and kivestock tab. This demonstration wheat plot should not be used for making your variety selection decisions, it is more for showing and talking about the varieties each year at the field day.

Instead I would highly encourage growers to make your variety selection decisions on the KSU Agricultural Experiment Stations replicated wheat performance tests. They are randomized replicated trials meaning each variety is randomly planted in 4 different spots in the field, all seed is either foundation or registered. Replicated field trials will account for or smooth out the variability within a field, and thus are much more accurate. These results from the KSU Agricultural Experiment Stations can also be found on our web site on the Crops and Livestock page.

Yield should not be the only consideration in your selection. Some other important considerations are stripe & leaf rust resistance, wheat streak mosaic resistance, drought tolerance, winter hardiness, straw strength, shattering reputation, and test weight. Each grower may differ some in what is most important to them and may add other considerations not mentioned. A good resource is “Wheat Variety Disease and Insect Ratings 2018” publication. It is also posted on our web site with the plot results.

Stacy Campbell is a Kansas State Research and Extension agent in Hays for the Cottonwood Extension District Office.