Every year, the National Wheat Foundation promotes a National Wheat Yield Contest, with winners coming from many states and, in many cases, from Kansas (Figure 1).
Central Plains growers are enduring very tough conditions during the season. While at first, this may make you think that with these drought conditions, your wheat will never compete in a yield contest. In fact, these conditions may increase the chances of a given field winning within some categories of the contest. This is because the contest is designed to recognize not only yield but also yield over county averages. Thus, some lucky fields that received some rain when the majority of the county did not may be good candidates to win this category – should the management be appropriate.
Figure 1. Field of the white winter wheat variety Joe near Leoti, KS, that won state and national wheat yield contest in 2016. Growers include Alec, Ken, Matt, and Rick Horton. Photo by Romulo Lollato, K-State Research and Extension.
Last year, Brett Oelke from Hoxie, Kansas, was a national winner in the “percent over county” category (Figure 2). Brett had a later-maturing variety and was able to take advantage of late May rains. Just like all contest winners, Brett received a trip to the Commodity Classic and was recognized at the Winner’s Reception. His wheat was also recognized for top quality ensuring that he received a $250 gift card. Moreover, Brett also was selected out of a drawing of the hard wheat winners to receive a hand-held GrainSense analyzer.
Figure 2. Brett Oelke, from Hoxie, Kansas received the recognition as a National Wheat Yield Contest winner in the percent over county category. Photo by Anne Osborne.
Entering is easy and must be done by May 15 for winter wheat, although you are encouraged to enter by April 15 to get into an early entry drawing for a Bushel Farm Business subscription. You only need a 5-acre plot to enter. Each entry costs $100, but we have several partners with vouchers you can use to enter at no cost to you. You must be a current member of the Kansas Wheat Commission or your state’s wheat grower organization.
Even if you are not sure how your winter wheat will finish, please enter by May 15. No late entries will be accepted. Go to www.yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org to enter and read the complete rules.
Romulo Lollato, Wheat and Forage Extension Specialist
Anne Osborne, Project Manager, National Wheat Foundation