Great Lakes YEN analyzing wheat strategies for success

Soil texture was a major factor in high wheat yields for farmers in the Great Lakes last year. 

Michigan State University Extension’s Dennis Pennington tells Brownfield dryness was widespread in 2023 for farmers in the Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network.

“The lighter textured soils in those areas really had low yield, but we also had growers that had record high yields on their wheat this year,” he says. “It really depended on where you were and also more so your soil texture was a big player.”

The program connects farmers across the Great Lakes to compare wheat strategies that are most effective for high yields.  Pennington says after three years, some themes are emerging.

“The density of heads is the single most important driver of your yield potential,” he shares. “Second, and it kind of goes with the number of the head density, is your total biomass a high-yield crop will produce high biomass.”

He says there’s also a farmer factor, where decision-makers are better in tune with the timeliness of crop needs.

A grower from Canada was the 2023 wheat yield winner, with 173 bushels per acre.

Farmers from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Ontario participated during the past season.

Brownfield interviewed Pennington during the Michigan Wheat Program’s Annual Winter Meeting Wednesday.

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