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Lansing, MI – Michigan farmers who plant wheat and are making decisions for this fall, will want to review the results of the high-management work funded by the Michigan Wheat Program.  For the 7th consecutive year, the Michigan Wheat Program has partnered with Michigan State University to have a high-management component as part of the MSU Wheat Performance Trials. Those trials have been harvested and the results are hot off the press.

Farmers will certainly want to study results of the 108 different varieties tested in plots across Michigan before making seed purchasing decisions for planting this fall, according to MSU wheat specialist Dennis Pennington.

“We’d like to think that the Michigan Wheat Program’s focus on high-management research and extension outreach, along with Michigan’s unique climate, and especially these high-management plot comparisons are helping drive increased productivity and quality in the state even when faced with tough weather years,” said David Milligan, chairman of the nine-member Michigan Wheat Program board and a wheat farmer from Cass City.

Results of the 2018-2019 research plots just harvested found that high management produced on average an 11.7 bushel/acre yield advantage, with some varieties responding with more than a 20 bushel/acre higher yield.

“Every wheat farmer in Michigan should be looking at his farm management and how the various varieties respond to high management to make the decision as to what is the best variety for their farm,” Milligan said.

This year’s Performance Trials include 59 commercial wheat varieties and 49 experimental wheat seed lines.  The seed lines were developed by 13 organizations and several seed companies.

“When selecting varieties, it’s important to look at multi-year data from locations that are closest to the soil type and conditions you have on your farm,” commented Pennington.  “Farmers should study individual varieties across all the parameters evaluated in the trials including yield, test weight and disease ratings.  This report is an unbiased, scientifically-based evaluation of varieties in various Michigan regions.”

“This data is meant to give Michigan farmers a leg up over their competition in other states. This report will be a valuable tool in helping farmers make decisions about which varieties to plant on their farms,” Pennington said.

Wheat trial details

MSU’s wheat research team has planted wheat trial plots for more than 17 years.  During the 2018-2019 growing season, research plots were planted on private farmland in five counties and the MSU Research Farm:  Gratiot, Ingham, Huron, Lenawee, Sanilac and Tuscola.

This year’s trials were planned to have two farms that had both conventional and high-management plots, to create a “same farm” comparison. These comparisons occurred in Gratiot and Tuscola Counties; unfortunately, the Gratiot conventional management comparison was lost due to spring rain damage.

Farms hosting the trials included:

• Stuart Bierlein of Reese  (Tuscola County);

• Crumbaugh Legacy Farms of Ithaca (Gratiot County);

• Darwin Sneller of Owendale  (Huron County);

• MSU Mason Research Farm (Ingham County);

• Woods Seed Farm of Deerfield (Lenawee County); and

• JGDM Farms of Deckerville (Sanilac County).

High-management wheat plots included an additional 30 pounds of nitrogen per acre (28% nitrogen), as well as Quilt Excel fungicide at Feekes 9.0 (flag leaf) and Prosaro fungicide at the average flowering date in each location, Pennington sad.

“At their meeting next week, the Michigan Wheat Program board will take a deeper dive into results of the 2019 Wheat Performance Trials including high-management treatments, and will consider whether to continue this multi-year project for the 2019-2020 season,” said Jody Pollok-Newsom, executive director of the Michigan Wheat Program. 

“There is a wealth of knowledge in the report and I know the board is very proud of playing this important role in advancing knowledge about high-management wheat production here,” said Pollok-Newsom.

Results of the 2019 trials, as well as the prior six years of high-management data is available at www.miwheat.org under the Research and High-Management tabs.

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