January 24, 2019

NWYC winner spotlight: Passion, curiosity and careful planning made David Gross a NWYC national winner.

Through careful planning, David Gross chose a wheat variety that made him a NWYC national winner. Read about how he did it.

To be successful in the wheat industry, it takes passion, curiosity and a fair amount of research. For Washington farmer David Gross, this is what helped make him a NWYC winner, placing fifth nationally in the winter wheat irrigated category. David planted and won with the hard red winter variety, WB4311.

But he didn’t just choose this variety on a whim. A lot of research went into this decision. Prior to planting season, David spoke with his seed supplier to get the best recommendations for his fields. “We looked at some data on it and figured out that it’s one that should yield high. From the get-go, we treated it as a high yielder,” said David.

Two things that set his wheat crops apart were strong protein and good quality. “Protein was very good on WB4311 and we always worry about protein. We do the bake test at our facility with the wheat, and we test to see how it holds up and make sure it doesn’t fall flat; the taste is very good. We also check for the texture of the bread,” said David.

But like all experienced wheat growers, David understands that it’s not always about yield and quality. One must also factor in agronomics, like standability and disease resistance. David wanted a variety that could stand strong and withstand rust. “Our area is very prone to rust so we always look for that,” David said. “That was definitely a factor when selecting this particular variety.”

His careful planning and seed selection paid off in yield. At harvest, his WB4311 field had yielded an average of 154.51 bushels per acre — and landed him his national win.

As a reward for his curiosity and perseverance, David will be celebrating with the other national winners at Commodity Classic in Orlando, Florida. He looks forward to sharing his experience and learning from the other top farmers from around the country. “I have never been, so I am looking forward to it. I’ve heard it’s the best ag show around. Plus, the location is nice to visit.”