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Making average wheat yield more

What separates farmers with average winter wheat yields from high yielders?

Canadian agronomist Peter Johnson is comparing average and high-yielding wheat farmers participating in the Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network.  He tells Brownfield planting dates, seeding rates, and heat during pollination made the difference last year.

“The heads were the same size, but the average grower quite a few less kernels per head and you kind of go wow!” he says. “So why was that? And was it heat driven?”

He says using multiple varieties can help growers mitigate weather challenges.

“You should grow more than one variety because if that heat stress or that moisture stress happens at the critical stage, for this variety, if you have a different variety that heads out three days later, it can miss that stress,” he explains.

He says better fertilizer timing can also support high yields.  Johnson recommends growers with later planted wheat add nitrogen early to promote tillering sooner.

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

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