This was a wheat harvest when typical yields were nothing to brag about. But for the fifth year in a row, the yields in the Kansas Wheat Annual Wheat Yield Contest, were not typical.
This year's top wheat yields belong to Butch Harris of Soldier and Levi Felbush, Eastern Region winners; Doug Keas of Plainville, Central Region winner and Chuck Downey of St. Francis, Western Region winner.
Butch Harris and Levi Felbush are this year's Eastern Region winners. It was Felbush's idea to enter the contest, and he asked if Harris, his father-in-law, would want to join him. Harris then planted and harvested WB-Cedar on a 5.75 acre plot for the contest and consulted with Felbush on maintenance. Felbush then handled the paper trail involved with the contest process. The duo's prize winning yield was 60.43 bushels per acre at 12% moisture.
Felbush said, "I really wanted to enter because I really enjoy seeing how far we can push those yields and I think the sky is the limit. I love the hard work that farming brings and the challenge of trying to top out those yields."
Doug Keas of Plainville is this year's Central Region winner. Keas planted SY Wolf on a 10.32 acre plot in Rooks County. His winning yield was 78.39 bushels an acre. Keas said that he always knew he wanted to farm. While other kids wanted to be firefighters and police officers, Keas dreamed of being a farmer.
Keas said of the contest, "I've been so competitive all of my life and I love to enter any contest. My agronomist told me that I should enter this one, so I just had to give it a shot."
From the Western Region, Chuck Downey of St. Francis is this year's winner. Downey planted WB-Grainfield on 9.12 acres. His prize winning yield was 88.56 bushels an acre.
Downey said, "Things like this really help you maximize your yields across the board. You're able to experiment with your contest plot. When something works for your contest plot, it might work for all of your crop, so you have the potential to maximize your profits with new knowledge every year."
The 2014 Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is sponsored by BASF, Bayer Crop Science, WestBred, Kansas Wheat Alliance, Limagrain, Plains Gold, AgriPro and Kansas Wheat. Winners of the contest receive a $1,000 prize that will be awarded on September 11 by Governor Sam Brownback at the Kansas State Fair.
The contest also has the optional Quality Initiative. Participants collect a sample of their wheat which will then be graded and analyzed for various quality components. The sample with the highest overall quality, mill and bake scores will receive $250. This winner will be announced by Governor Brownback at the State Fair.
Justin Gilpin, CEO of Kansas Wheat said, "Hosting the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest is an exciting time of year for us. Especially in a challenging year like this, it's good to have some success stories."
For more information about the Kansas Wheat Yield Contest, including agronomic information on this year's winning fields, please visit the Kansas Wheat website at www.kswheat.org.