Variety tests help farmers pick what seeds to plant in the fall.

Wheat yields vary statewide in MU variety tests

Wheat yields were good at most test sites in the 2016 University of Missouri Variety Testing Program. A lack of precipitation during the early part of the growing season allowed an early wheat harvest.

Tests from parts of southeastern Missouri showed the highest yields of soft red winter wheat, some topping 100 bushels per acre, said Bill Wiebold, MU Extension agronomist. Yields dipped as low as 25 bushels per acre in other plots.

Variety tests help farmers pick what seeds to plant in the fall. For more than 75 years, seed companies have supported the program by paying fees. The tests include new and older varieties at nine locations—three MU research farms and six farmer-owned fields. Varieties are grown on plots of 1 acre or smaller and harvested with specially designed small combines.

“We test the best,” said Bill Wiebold, MU Extension agronomist. Top performers vary from year to year, reflecting the changing environment, weather and planting date. Varieties test better in different parts of the state due to Missouri’s diverse topography.

A review of several years of data shows consistent performers, Wiebold said. Yield is important, but other factors to consider include standability, hardiness, drought tolerance, and insect and disease resistance.

The grand mean average for the North Region was 76.8 bushels per acre. The North Region includes Boone, Knox and Grundy counties. In Boone County, the grand mean was 76.9 bushels per acre, with top yields at 93 bushels per acre. Knox County wheat registered a high yield of 92.3 bushels per acre with the grand mean at 73.5 bushels per acre. Grundy County wheat yielded a high of 94.9 bushels per acre with the grand mean at 80 bushels per acre.

The Southwest Region’s counties include Cass, Barton and Henry. The Garden City tests in Cass County showed a high yield of 75 bushel per acre and a grand mean of 54.8 bushels per acre. Lamar plots in Barton County had a high yield of 91.9 bushels per acre. The grand mean was 62.5 bushels per acre. Montrose fields in Henry County showed 83.8 bushels per acre with a grand mean of 59.7 bushels per acre. Overall, the region’s grand mean was 59 bushels per acre.

The Southeast Region includes the counties of Mississippi and Scott. The site at Portageville was abandoned because of poor yields with excessive variability. Late-season storms caused some lodging at the Oran location. Yields ranged from 107 bushels per acre to 59.5.

The highest yield in Charleston was 107 bushels per acre, with plant height of 44 inches. Test weight was 59.5 pounds per bushel. The grand mean was 83.8 bushels per acre. In Oran, the high yield was 90.9 bushels per acre, with high test weights of 61.1 pounds per bushel. Yields on some plots that suffered lodging dipped to 23 bushels per acre. The grand mean was 55.9 bushels per acre.

The grand mean for the region was 69.8 bushels per acre.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported July 12 that Missouri’s harvested wheat acres were estimated to be 2 percent lower than last year. USDA forecast wheat yield at a record high of 69 bushels per acre statewide, up 16 bushels from 2015. Production is forecast at 41.4 million bushels, up 28 percent from last year.

Results of the 2016 tests are available at varietytesting.missouri.edu. Go to your MU Extension center for a copy or call 573-882-2307.

Source: William Wiebold, 573-673-4128 (cell); 573-882-0621


For more than 100 years, University of Missouri Extension has extended university-based knowledge beyond the campus into all counties of the state. In doing so, extension has strengthened families, businesses and communities.

The Caldwell County News

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