August 31, 2017
Michigan wheat farmers working through the Michigan Wheat Program partnered again this year with Michigan State University to add a high-management component to the variety trials. Results of the 2017 Wheat Performance Trials were released by MSU in August.
Farmers will want to study results of the 125 different varieties tested in plots across Michigan before buying seed this fall, says Jody Pollok-Newsom, MWP executive director.
About 40% more seed lines were evaluated this year than last by MSU wheat breeder Eric Olson and his team.
High-management plot comparisons have been part of the Wheat Performance Trials since 2013, when the Michigan Wheat Program board of directors voted to fund the project. The high-management trials continue to show promising results for over 90% of the wheat seed lines being tested, adds Pollok-Newsom.
This year’s Performance Trials include 61 commercial wheat varieties. In addition, 64 experimental wheat lines were evaluated — up from the 26 experimental seed lines tested last year. The seed lines were developed by 14 organizations including MSU, Michigan Crop Improvement Association, Virginia Crop Improvement Association and several seed companies.
This is the fifth year that the MSU Wheat Performance Trials included high-management plots funded in partnership with the Michigan Wheat Program. “The high-management treatment resulted in an average response of 8.6 more bushels per acre across all the varieties we looked at,” says Olson. “Farmers should study individual varieties across all the parameters looked at in the trials, including yield, test weight, fusarium head blight resistance, visual sprout, lodging, flower date, percent moisture, other disease conditions, and milling and baking qualities.”
MSU’s wheat research team has planted wheat trial plots for more than 16 years. During 2016-17, trials were on private farmland in six counties, plus the MSU Pathology Farm in Ingham County.
This year’s trials were planned to have two farms that had both conventional and high-management plots to create a same-farm comparison. While this comparison is available for review in Tuscola County, the Clinton County site fell through due to water damage.
Farms hosting the trials included:
• Stuart Bierlein of Reese (Tuscola County, two sites)
• Harvey Jipping of Hamilton (Allegan County)
• Darwin Sneller of Owendale (Huron County)
• Woods Seed Farm of Deerfield (Lenawee County)
• JGDM Farms of Deckerville (Sanilac County)
High-management trials included:
• extra 30 pounds of nitrogen per acre (28% N)
• Quilt at Feekes stage 8.5 to 9
• Prosaro at average flowering date in each location
“The Michigan Wheat Program congratulates MSU’s wheat team on such an aggressive trial program this past year,” says David Milligan, chairman of the MWP and wheat farmer from Cass City. “While overall wheat yields are down as expected compared with 2016, the high-management results are again very promising. Every wheat farmer in Michigan should be taking a look at the input costs and increased yields possible under high management, and considering whether it works for their farm.”
Pollok-Newsom adds, “The checkoff board will again consider supporting high-management treatments for the 2018 Michigan State Wheat Performance Trials at its meeting in a couple of weeks. There is such a wealth of knowledge in this 27-page report that I am sure the board will continue its support and remain proud to play a role in advancing knowledge about the future of high-management wheat production in Michigan.”
To see the results of the 2017 trials with the 61 commercially available seed varieties, or to see the 2017 results with commercial varieties plus 64 experimental seed lines, go to miwheat.org and click on the variety trial information in the “What’s Hot” box. The Michigan Wheat website also includes links to the 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013 MSU variety trials, and a link to data from 2012 and prior years. MSU researchers and the MSP recommend reviewing at least three years of trial research when making decisions.
The MWP is a checkoff organization funded by nearly 8,000 wheat farmers who grow wheat in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Michigan wheat farmers plant 500,000 acres of red and white winter wheat annually, resulting in a crop of 40 million bushels on average. The state’s wheat crop has a total economic impact of about $388 million annually.
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