Different Year, Same Messages

Growing Great Wheat Begins With Selection of Proper Soy Maturity

“What is YOUR Wheat Bean?” Pardon? What IS a Wheat Bean…? A New GMO crop option? (No, please do not leave this page to perform a Google search, is won’t help you as it is a made up term.)

In my last five years as an agronomist with The Wheat Team it has been fun to observe a few agronomic trends. There is no doubt that Soil Health is a current buzz word and taking steps on your farm to improve Soil Health is effort worth making that will pay long term dividends. Five years ago the main message in the soybean world was to use good agronomy applied to the longest possible maturity to obtain chance of highest yield. There are not many agronomists that would argue with that statement. But, when we look at the system approach, the long maturity soys never give the chance to obtain high yielding wheat. And we all want great wheat.

In the last few years, just from my observation, the benefits of having wheat in the rotation have been well documented and well promoted. A few years ago, the message of wheat in the rotation was discussed by extension people and real wheat lovers, but still somewhat confined. Last year the promotion grew to conferences, agronomy days, and more visibility in farm publications. The promotion continues in great ways to date, but I would say that there has been even another powerful step made in the right direction… Not only are the extension people talking about the value of wheat, the press is promoting it, the farmers are talking about it, NOW we even have the soybean seed personnel are creating their positioning discussions to center around the wheat acre! (And thus, the Wheat Bean term.) Over the span of a few weeks this summer I attended a few farmer meetings this year where respected advisors from separate companies, on different days in different counties, started their soybean positioning talks with “Planning to grow wheat? If so, look at this soybean selection…” They strongly encouraged the farmers to take a two stage approach for maturity selection, and this was very refreshing. The shorter soy choice might limit soy production buy a few bushels, but will very quickly add 15-20% to you wheat yield, and still leave you dollars ahead.

As Agronomists, Seed Providers, and Farmers alike, the plan for greatest success of your 2020 wheat crop starts this month with your soybean seed order. Bring up the question with your seed supplier, they will enjoy it! It might be time to have a quick scan of the soybean plot results from 30-50km north of you, instead of 20-30km south of you. We need to plant the wheat early. A great wheat crop will make you money, improve the soil and set up your farming system for use of amendments, cover crops, strip tillage, or other possible enhancements.

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