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Shawn Conley: Wheat a bright spot in state crop mix – Audio

[audio:|titles=Shawn Conley, agronomy and the state wheat crop]

Shawn Conley, Extension Wheat and Soybean Agronomist
Department of Agronomy
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
(608) 262-7975

The 2012 Wisconsin Wheat Crop

3:00 Total Time

0:16 – How wheat fits in the state
0:57 – Soft red winter wheat
1:16 – Great 2012 wheat season
2:10 – Steps to a great crop of wheat
2:50 – Lead out


Growing wheat in Wisconsin. We’re visiting today with Shawn Conley, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.

Sevie Kenyon: Shawn, why would farmers grow wheat here in the state?

Shawn Conley: Wheat fits very well into the cropping systems we have across the state of Wisconsin. First of all, it fits very well into the dairy operations where we can have some straw that can either go into rations or into bedding as a place to apply manure. But also in some of the crop areas, I think, where our long term rotation data really shows the benefit of adding a third crop into a rotation, such as winter wheat, really benefits the soybean crops. We generally see a significant yield gain in that year following another crop, besides corn, in the rotation. So, there’s a two or three fold benefit to growing wheat in the state of Wisconsin.

Sevie Kenyon: Shawn, what kind of wheat do we grow here?

Shawn Conley: The class of wheat that we primarily grow in the state of Wisconsin in soft red winter wheat. That is a class of wheat that goes into cookies and cakes and most of it goes down into Ohio for milling. If you just look at the class, it’s generally soft red winter.

Sevie Kenyon: What kind of a season are the growers having so far this year?

Shawn Conley: We’re seeing some very high yields in our variety trials alone, we’re seeing ranges in the 80’s to low 90 averages at some locations but at the Arlington site we are averaging, over all of our varieties, over 110 bushels per acre. Along with that, the moistures have dropped significantly because it’s been so hot and dry, so we’re harvesting dry grain. Also the test weights have been tremendous. The last few years growers have been suffering from low test weights but this year our test weights are averaging well above 60 pounds per bushel. So, again, little to no dockage there, so growers are delivering high quality grain with very little dockage and as the price continues to climb, it’s being pulled along with the corn and soybean prices, they’re delivering a very valuable crop with very little down side right now.

Sevie Kenyon: Shawn, perhaps you can describe for us the steps to getting a good crop of wheat?

Shawn Conley: The biggest thing we have to worry about is our establishment. I think, often, we under-seed our wheat and we often plant it too shallow. Generally, we’re looking at planting wheat about an inch deep and I think if I was to grow across all my years of working with wheat, 60% or more of the production related practices are directly related to shallow seeding. Growers are putting it at ¼ inch, ½ inch and then the crown is being exposed to near the soil surface and we’re getting some desiccation, some heaving. Plant about 1.5 million seeds per acre, an inch deep in a timely manner and I think we set ourselves up for very good average wheat yields year in and year out in Wisconsin.

Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Shawn Conley, Department of Agronomy, University of Wisconsin-Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.