2020 Learnings – Management v. Weather

Grant Mehring, WestBred® Technical Product Manager, Northern Region

In farming, each year we should take time to review how our management decisions worked against what the environment and weather gave us. When considered in combination, we can respond better and adjust where necessary for the next growing season.

Northern Plains wheat in 2020 ranged from bountiful to stressed, with almost everything in between. There was some fantastic wheat in many areas. There was later-planted wheat that out-yielded the early wheat by a significant margin. There was early-planted wheat that given an inch or less rain for most of the growing season, yielded poorly, and some that yielded surprisingly well, plus many other scenarios. Given what we saw, here are some key learnings:

Don’t pull inputs too soon

In drought environments, using tools like solid crop rotation, early planting, and fungicides, nice yields can still be found.

Don’t try to outguess the weather with one variety

Diversify your maturity and stress tolerance to hedge against the weather. Later-maturing WB9719 capitalized on the 2020 growing conditions to top my trials.

Wheat was variably impacted by the high heat during parts of the summer

Still strive for early planting dates. Nevertheless, spreading out planting dates can protect against certain weather events at the vulnerable growth stages.

Using what we’ve learned from 2020 will help make 2021 more productive. Although high protein and straw strength have not been as important to us in the past few years, do not forget they are both critical traits to consider when choosing a variety to plant.

For additional information, contact Grant Mehring, Wheat Technical Product Manager, Northern Region, at 701-373-1591, or grant.mehring@bayer.com.

Performance may vary, from location to location and from year to year, as local growing, soil, and weather conditions may vary. Growers should evaluate data from multiple locations and years whenever possible and should consider the impacts of these conditions on the grower’s fields.

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