By Linda Geist, University of Missouri
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Average wheat yields at Missouri test sites were higher than expected, according to the new 2013 Missouri Wheat Variety Crop Performance report from the University of Missouri Extension and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources.
The report shows high yields in statewide tests, the highest since 2008, in parts of the state.
The top yielding test variety, Merschman Barbie VIII, averaged 93.2 bushels per acre at a test site near Trenton. It had an 86.2-bushel per acre two-year mean with Limagrain LCS 38686, AgriMax Exp 1335 and MFA 2166 all topping 90 bushels per acre. Mean average of all varieties in northwest Missouri was 81 bushels per acre.
Tested yields averaged 61.7 bushels at Novelty in northeast Missouri, and 59.9 bushels in mid-Missouri at Columbia.
The southwest region hit 78.9 bushels per acre at Adrian with the highest yielding variety. The mean was 55.2 bushels. Top yield in the southeast region of the state was 87.1 bushels per acre at a Chaffee test in Scott County.
USDA reported that more wheat was planted and harvested nationally in 2013 than in any year since 2008. An estimated 1.1 million acres of Missouri’s cropland was planted in wheat.
Variety tests help farmers pick what seed to plant this fall. Results of winter wheat harvest are available online at http://varietytesting.missouri.edu/. The 2013 Missouri Wheat Variety Crop Performance book will be available soon in county extension offices.
Seed companies support the program by paying fees. The tests include new varieties and popular older varieties. "We test the best," said William Wiebold, Columbia-based MU Extension agronomy specialist.
Top performers vary each year, reflecting changing environment, weather and planting dates. MU Extension research associate Howard Mason in Columbia describes it as "a moving target."
A variety that works well in one part of the state may not do as well in another because of Missouri’s diverse topography, Mason said.
Review of several years of data will show consistent performers, he said. Yield is important, but other factors should be considered. Farmers choosing wheat seed might want to consider stand, hardiness, drought-tolerance, insect and disease resistance and other factors.