Learn how to break the wheat yield barrier

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Growers looking for ways to increase their wheat yields should check out chapter one of the new "iGrow Wheat: Best Management Practices for Wheat Production," says Bob Fanning, SDSU Extension Plant Pathology Field Specialist.

"Wheat is one of the most important crops for semi-arid areas across the world. As corn and soybean production moves west and north, a large number of wheat acres have recently been lost to those crops in South Dakota. Yet for many producers, wheat remains an important crop," said Fanning who is one of the publication's 40-plus co-authors.

"For some, wheat is their major crop and for others it plays an important role in their cropping rotation," he said. "Small grains, particularly wheat, are widely recognized as a valuable crop for producing residue, which is critical in a successful no-till production system."

Fanning says wheat will almost certainly remain an important crop for much of South Dakota. However, he says for it to maintain acres; producers must enjoy yields that make it attractive to grow compared with competing crops.

"A co-op agronomist commented during the 2012 wheat harvest, 'producers in this area seem to have trouble breaking the 50 bushel per acre barrier.' Each farmer and area may have their own barrier that they have trouble breaking through, which can be affected by the land they farm, precipitation they receive and their farming practices'" Fanning said.

Chapter one, "Sustainable Production of 100-Bushel Wheat," as well as many of the other chapters in "iGrow Wheat: Best Management Practices for Wheat Production" provides information on optimizing wheat yields. Producing wheat yields of 100 Bu/acre, or exceeding whatever yield barrier you have been limited by, requires attention to detail. You can download Chapter one online by visiting the iGrow Wheat Resource Library.

The chapter points to key factors in producing satisfactory wheat yields which include: develop and maintain good crop rotations, variety selection, quality seed source, preparing an adequate seedbed, optimize available water, proper planting date, proper seeding rate, fungicide seed treatment, proper fertilization, maintaining active soil organisms, proper weed, insect and foliar disease control, and harvest management.

"In order to remain sustainable and profitable, producers must evaluate each farming practice and input cost to be confident that over the long term, they will provide a positive return. There is no "one size fits all" formula for wheat production practices that will work for every producer,'" Fanning said.

To purchase your own copy of "iGrow Wheat: Best Management Practices for Wheat Production," visit the iGrow Store

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