Deciphering the Wheat Trials

Deciphering the Wheat Trials

2017 Spring Wheat Trials showed interesting results

We are already back to Spring Wheat decision time and I thought I would do a little analysis for each growing area of our spring wheat trial results for you.  The C&M team is very pleased with the performance of our varieties.   We are #1 on multiple fronts in the trials once again in 2017.

Before analyzing the trials on your own keep a few things in mind

        There is a conventional trial (no fungicide applied) and an intensive trial (typically a T1 and T3 fungicide).   The conventional trial will help determine natural disease tolerance, while the intensive trial will be closer to a “real field” scenario.  Nitrogen applications are the same – fungicide application is the only difference between the two.

        There is a Mean bu/acre at the bottom of the trials.   The mean is equal to 100 yield index.   If you have a variety that is 110 yield index, take the mean bu/acre and multiply it by the percentage (eg.  110 yield index on 55 bu/acre mean = 1.10 x 55 = 60.5 bu/acre)

        The yield index is always based on that column.  In the managed trials there are yield indexes that are higher in No fungicide column.  This does not mean that the yield is higher, but rather that its yield index vs competitors is higher in that column.  Example – Easton is 149 yield index on No fungicide column but only 143 in Yes column.   When converted to bu/acre these numbers change to 85 bu/acre in No and 90 bu/acre in yes column.   Actual yields are still higher with fungicides.

I have broken down the yield results for C&M varieties below for each growing area.

Area 2 Results – Midwestern Ontario

Conventional Trials – No fungicides applied, normal N application (goal of around 90 actual N)

Yield Index Bu/acre Yield Index Bu/acre Number of
Variety 2017 2017 Long Term Long Term Years Tested
Wilkin 124 54.9 106 66.3 5
Easton 130 57.6 113 70.6 5
AAC Fairwind 110 48.7 101 63.1 5
Mean (bu/acre) 44.3 62.5

From the conventional trials we see that C&M has the #1, #2 and #4 ranking varieties for yield.   All three of these new varieties out yield Sable.  Long term data proves that 70 bu/acre is easily achievable even when not managed with fungicides.

Intensive Trials – 2 fungicides applied (T1, T3) and normal same N rate as Conventional trial

2017 Index Bu/acre 2017 Index Bu/acre Bu/acre
Variety No Fungicide 2017 w Fungicide 2017 Difference
Wilkin 111 49.2 136 74.0 24.8
Easton 116 51.4 144 78.3 26.9
AAC Fairwind 98 43.4 127 69.1 25.7
Mean (bu/acre) 44.3 54.4

The Intensive trials showed us some great results.  The variety yield rankings remained the same whether sprayed or unsprayed.  The yield increase was amazing.  An average of 25 bu/acre was gained from spraying fungicides.   Again, C&M Seeds varieties ranked #1, #2 and #4 for yield.  If you are spraying your wheat, 80 bu/acre is achievable when using the top ranked varieties in Midwestern Ontario.  These numbers have 4 years of similar results.

All Trial Information, including the varietal characteristics are available by clicking the link below:
http://www.gocereals.ca/performance.php?id=sw

Area 3 Results – Eastern Ontario

Conventional Trials – No fungicides applied, normal N application (goal of around 90 actual N)

Yield Index Bu/acre Yield Index Bu/acre Number of
Variety 2017 2017 Long Term Long Term Years Tested
Furano 102 48.5 106 56.3 5
Wilkin 103 48.9 106 56.3 5
Easton 120 57.0 113 60.0 5
AAC Fairwind 109 51.8 101 53.6 5
Mean (bu/acre) 47.5 53.1

From the conventional trials we see that C&M has the #1 yielding variety in Easton and over long term data 4 of the top 5 yielding varieties.  Long term data proves that 60 bu/acre is the normal yield when not managed with fungicides.

Intensive Trials – 2 fungicides applied (T1, T3) and normal same N rate as Conventional trial

2017 Index Bu/acre 2017 Index Bu/acre Bu/acre
Variety No Fungicide 2017 w Fungicide 2017 Difference
Furano 90 46.1 106 68.3 22.2
Wilkin 82 42.0 109 70.2 28.2
Easton 104 53.2 127 81.8 28.5
AAC Fairwind 106 54.3 130 83.7 29.4
Mean (bu/acre) 51.2 64.4

The Intensive trials continue to prove C&M has the top yielding varieties.  Keep in mind that some of these higher yielding varieties are taller and should be managed for lodging.  Late applications of Nitrogen should be considered.  Again the yield increase was well over 20 bu/acre when using a fungicide, and there was always an increase in yield.  These numbers prove that sprayed wheat fields can push yield potential well over 80 bu/acre in Eastern Ontario – There is 4 years of data to prove this.  Wilkin continues to be the choice for the combination of yield and standability in high fertility scenarios.

All Trial Information, including the varietal characteristics are available by clicking the link below:
http://www.gocereals.ca/performance.php?id=sw

Area 5 Results – Northern Ontario

Conventional Trials – No fungicides applied, normal N application (goal of around 90 actual N)

Yield Index Bu/acre Yield Index Bu/acre Number of
Variety 2017 2017 Long Term Long Term Years Tested
Furano 100 55.0 102 64.3 5
Wilkin 119 65.5 108 68.0 5
Easton 123 67.7 107 67.4 5
AAC Fairwind 108 59.4 104 65.5 5
Mean (bu/acre) 55.0 63.0

From the conventional trials we see that C&M again has 4 of the top 5 yielding varieties proving strong natural disease tolerance and yield ability.   Easton again proves it is a good choice, although it’s day length should be considered – it is a couple days later than Wilkin.  With 5 years of data showing similar results the results are undeniable.

 

Intensive Trials – 2 fungicides applied (T1, T3) and normal same N rate as Conventional trial

2017 Index Bu/acre 2017 Index Bu/acre Bu/acre
Variety No Fungicide 2017 w Fungicide 2017 Difference
Furano 108 62.2 92 58.1 -4.2
Wilkin 139 80.1 135 85.2 5.1
Easton 149 85.8 149 94.0 8.2
AAC Fairwind 103 59.3 103 65.0 5.7
Mean (bu/acre) 57.6 63.1

The Intensive trials are were the fun begins.  Easton and Wilkin showed potential to get in the high 80’s and low 90 bu/acre range even without high rates of Nitrogen.  We saw a continued response from spraying fungicides, increasing yields by between 5 and 10 bu/acre – more than worth it.   This is where the C&M varieties really pulled away from the competition.   These varieties outperformed all of their competitors by a large margin.

All Trial Information, including the varietal characteristics are available by clicking the link below:
http://www.gocereals.ca/performance.php?id=sw

Final Thoughts

The trials are not just about yield.   You should also always consider the standability and fusarium tolerance of varieties when making a selection.   Easton appears to tiller better than previous varieties, but that excessive tillering can lead to lodging.   Control population and split apply nitrogen applications to lower lodging risk.  Wilkin continues to have the strongest combination of yield and standability, but Easton shows great advantages such as greatly improved fusarium tolerance and higher yield indexes over a 5 year term.

Also, we are approaching a new level of yield potential with the new genetics of spring wheat available.   As we approach higher (almost winter wheat) yield potential we can’t overlook how important protein is.   Mills are becoming far more price sensitive to low protein deliveries.

In order to get both yield and protein (which is entirely possible), we need to increase N rates. A move to a proper split application to maintain acceptable protein levels is very important (ideally second application should be as close to flag leaf as possible).   In the past, spring wheat was typically receiving a first application either pre-plant, or just post emergence and a second application at the tillering stage.  Consider moving that second application later for protein.  Change the game – we don’t evolve without trying new things!

About the Author

Rob has been involved with C&M Seeds since 1999, working in many roles throughout the organization. He now is the Sales and Marketing Manager and a self proclaimed “wheat geek”.