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Wheat field days highlight variety improvements

A wheat specialist says Michigan’s harvest is expected to start before July if development keeps up, but stripe rust remains a challenge.

Michigan State University Extension’s Dennis Pennington tells Brownfield, “This year our first flowering date that we collected was 11 days earlier than it was last year, so I think our crop across the state is probably between 10 to 14 days ahead of normal.”

He says growers can see what varieties have the best resistance to stripe rust at their Huron and Gratiot County research plots as part of this week’s Michigan Wheat Program regional field days.

“We’ll answer questions, we’ll have a chance to walk through the field and look at some of the different varieties and how they’re different with the goal of helping people try to figure out what might be some new varieties coming out that might be a good fit for their farm,” he explains.

Michigan has the largest outbreak of the disease in the Great Lakes so far this season with it confirmed in 13 counties as of last week.

Pennington says growers will also have access to variety trials during the Michigan Wheat Program’s annual summer field day next month in Frankenmuth.

AUDIO: Dennis Pennington

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