December 14, 2016

Okmulgee County Grower Takes First Place in Oklahoma National Wheat Yield Contest

Grower credits achievement to WestBred® wheat variety

ST. LOUIS, Jan. 10, 2017 – WestBred® wheat is proud to announce Okmulgee county wheat grower Chris Ledbetter won first place in Oklahoma in the National Wheat Yield Contest’s Winter Wheat-Dryland category. The competition, organized by the National Wheat Foundation, champions production practices of growers. Ledbetter placed after a yield increase of 65.6 percent over the most recent USDA-NASS published county average data.

Ledbetter achieved a yield average of 107.6 bushels per acre with WestBred variety WB4458.

“WB4458 has been one of our highest yielding varieties in the past three or four years. It has lots of yield potential to it and good standability, so you can push it with a fertility program and it will still stand pretty well for you,” said Ledbetter.

More than 170 individual growers across wheat-growing counties in the United States entered to compete in four categories: Spring Wheat-Irrigated, Spring Wheat-Dryland, Winter Wheat-Irrigated and Winter Wheat-Dryland. Combined, the 14 WestBred national and state winners averaged 136.9 bushels per acre, versus the average county yield of 63.3 bushels per acre.

“I felt that entering the National Wheat Yield Contest would be a good way to show the people in the area the yield potential that some of our varieties have,” Ledbetter said.

The National Wheat Yield Contest recognized national winners in each category as well as the top three state winners. Winners were determined by evaluating the yield percentage increase based on USDA-NASS county averages. The inaugural contest encouraged growers to innovate, exchange knowledge and employ the newest available technology.

For Ledbetter, keeping the plant as healthy as possible for as long as possible was the key to his yield results.

“We’ve been on the same program for 15-20 years. We begin with a fungicide and insecticide seed treatment on the seed before we plant. Then we use a good fertility program,” Ledbetter says. “The majority of our nitrogen goes on in a split shot. We’ll do the first shot about spring green up and then we’ll come back with the second shot of nitrogen around Feekes Growth State 5.”

As a sponsor of the National Wheat Yield Contest, WestBred wheat provides growers with opportunities to succeed in the wheat industry and avenues to exchange successful techniques.

“Innovative techniques, high-performing seed varieties and cutting-edge growing practices make planting wheat a more attractive option for growers,” says John Fietsam, Wheat Technical Product Lead for Monsanto.

With commodity prices of wheat fluctuating, growers today need to look for ways to maximize their yield and profit potential, and WestBred wheat is committed to providing solutions for growers.  

“Through this contest, we’ve learned different techniques to help growers maximize the performance of wheat seed,” said Fietsam. “With new technology, increased innovation and streamlined production practices, the winning growers have shown the boundaries of wheat yields can be pushed.”

To register for the 2017 National Wheat Yield Contest, growers can visit yieldcontest.wheatfoundation.org. The registration deadline for winter wheat is May 1, 2017, and the deadline for spring wheat is August 1, 2017.

Wheat growers interested in competing in the contest can also contact their WestBred seed supplier or local WestBred representative. The WestBred brand will likely cover WestBred variety contest entry and membership fees. Additional details can be found at www.WestBred.com. 

About WestBred Wheat

WestBred wheat provides seed suppliers and their growers access to the highest yield potential wheat seed, as well as testing, education, resources and experienced representatives to help maximize their yield potential.

ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW PESTICIDE LABEL DIRECTIONS. Individual results may vary, and performance may vary from location to location and from year to year. WestBred and Design® and WestBred® are trademarks of Monsanto Technology LLC. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners. ©2017 Monsanto Company.